Avisomo, a Norwegian agtech supplier, and Coop Norway, a global retailer, formed a strategic partnership to build an automated vertical farm that will be directly integrated into the retailer's existing distribution center. Signed on November 27, 2023, the deal brings an additional €5.2 million to bring to life a collective vision, utilizing Avisomo's systems.
"Our approach is based on growing produce directly in standard-sized trolleys that are well-established in the food industry and moving the plants around the facility utilizing automation robots. This "plant-to-personnel" approach both reduces staffing needs and enables us to integrate well-tested automation machinery into the farm, reducing both upfront capital needs and operational costs," says Martin Molenaar, CEO of Avisomo.
The Avisomo team
Expected 110 tons to 150 tons of leafy greens per year
The first iteration will be a 1000m2 growth area, expected to produce about 110 tons of leafy greens per year. The joint venture has the potential to transform how Coop secures and distributes all of its leafy greens in the future. The intention and opportunity is to transform the food system to ensure food and nutrition security for Norway and beyond. Simultaneously, the facility and Avisomo's R&D facility will be used to test new varieties and introduce them to the market according to seasonal variations.
"We are building an automation line that can handle as much as 1500 tons of leafy greens per year and are planning to expand the facility accordingly. Once everything is settled, produce from the facility is expected to hit Norwegian Coop stores by the end of 2024," says Endre Harnes, COO of Avisomo.
The Avisomo Growth Station, with a produce trolley being autonomously moved by a Lowpad robot
Bringing more stability
Given the large number of imports Norway brings to its stores, this strategic partnership aims to slightly alleviate risks such as energy, food price fluctuations, access to consumers, stability, and longevity.
Through its unique Frey grow system, Avisomo does not only sell the equipment but also the software and the related services, ensuring an ongoing and close relationship with the retailer. Avisomo has a suite of digital plant recipes - tried and tested by numerous chefs from across Norway over several years.