Walmart has announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with indoor vertical farming company Plenty Unlimited.
The US retailer has agreed to invest $400 million in Plenty Unlimited as part of a Series E funding round.
As part of the partnership, Plenty Unlimited will deliver fresh produce to Walmart's retail stores.
The closing of the investment, subject to regulatory approvals, will also see Walmart joining Plenty Unlimited’s board of directors.
'New Era Of Agriculture'
Charles Redfield, chief merchandising officer of Walmart US, said, “We believe Plenty [Unlimited] is a proven leader in a new era of agriculture, one that offers pesticide-free, peak-flavour produce to shoppers every day of the year.
“This partnership not only accelerates agricultural innovation but reinforces our commitment to sustainability, by delivering a new category of fresh that is good for people and the planet.”
Walmart and Plenty Unlimited will collaborate to create innovative product categories in vertical farming that offer fresh and quality items.
The long-term commercial agreement will see Walmart sourcing Plenty Unlimited’s leafy greens for all its California stores from Plenty’s Compton farm, commencing later this year.
Walmart claimed that it is the first large US retailer to significantly invest in vertical farming.
'Industry-Leading Crop Versatility'
"Plenty’s unique farming system unlocks industry-leading crop versatility and unit economics by enabling indoor growing year-round,” said Arama Kukutai, CEO of Plenty Unlimited.
"Our farms can be sited anywhere allowing us to put fresh fruits, greens and vegetables on the shelf at all times, at speed, for maximum freshness. As a long-time market leader in retail innovation, Walmart is an ideal partner to test and scale access to our quality produce for their customers. This is a game-changer for the agritech industry.”
Walmart’s investment is the latest step in the retailer’s efforts to increase access to high-quality, fresh produce for its customers.