British online grocer and technology company Ocado has invested £17 million (€19.1 billion) in the newly emerging vertical farming industry.
Vertical farming involves the production of food in indoor facilities where crops are grown on a series of levels in a precisely-controlled environment.
Ocado said it has formed a joint venture with vertical farming participants 80 Acres Farms and Priva Holding.
It has also acquired a 58% stake in Jones Food Company, Europe’s largest operating vertical farm, based in Scunthorpe, northern England.
"We believe that our investments today in vertical farming will allow us to address fundamental consumer concerns on freshness and sustainability and build on new technologies that will revolutionise the way customers access fresh produce," said Tim Steiner, Ocado chief executive.
"Our hope ultimately is to co-locate vertical farms within or next to our Customer Fulfillment Centres and Ocado Zoom's micro-fulfillment centres so that we can offer the very freshest and most sustainable produce that could be delivered to a customers' kitchen within an hour of it being picked," he added.