Belgium's Colruyt Group has developed a new 'vertical farming' system, which the retailer says will enable high quality plants to be grown with a small ecological footprint.
The group said that it sees this form of 'multilayer cultivation' as part of its process to introduce more sustainable products and implement shorter supply chains.
The first produce from the vertical farm will go on sale at the group's Bio Planet stores from autumn of next year, under its Boni Selection own brand.
Colruyt said that its test facility requires up to 20 times less space than would be used in conventional cultivation.
"Our multilayer cultivation creates the perfect conditions for plants", said Stefan Goethaert, Director at Colruyt Group with responsibility for product sustainability. "Air, light, water and nutrients are dosed in the ideal quantities. As a result, we only use the amount of energy and raw materials that is strictly necessary, whilst still allowing the plant to achieve optimum growth."
Goethaert said that plants reared in the vertical farm mature twice as fast as those cultivated by traditional means, and the quality remains high throughout the year, regardless of the weather conditions.
The system also uses 90% less water and 50% less nutrients that conventional cultivation.
"Moreover, we only work with filtered rainwater," Goethaert added. "Our LED lighting is twice as efficient as the current standard on the market. And the system runs on green electricity from our own wind turbines and solar panels."
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.