Can urban farming reinvent the supply chain?

INNOVATION BITES: This firm is growing food in supermarket aisles.

by Stephen Jones
Last Updated: 20 Jul 2018

The supply chain can be a complex beast. Even the most scrupulous of businesses can do more to make it's own chain more efficient.

Changes can often be complicated and costly, but one company is turning to urban farming as a way of simplify the process.

The innovation

The Berlin-based startup Infarm has developed a set of vertical farms that enable a range of lettuce, herbs and other plant staples to be grown - and harvested -  indoors.

The two-metre-squared modules are installed in supermarket aisles, restaurant kitchens and distribution centres, allowing the end user to pick produce on site. This dramatically reduces the environmental footprint, ensures more consistent produce and removes the logistical complexity of moving food - at least that's what Infarm claims in an interview with Foodnavigator.com.

But the firm doesn’t just harvest leafy greens, it collects data too. The modules are fed into a cloud based central ecosystem that enables the company to monitor and learn from each plant as it grows - this also means that the service can be personalised according to the individual means of the customer.

Infarm already works with German retailers Edeka and Metro, has just received major investment and is planning to expand into the UK, France and other areas of Europe over the next year.

The supply chain revolution?

Ok, so the notion of being able to grow your own lettuce may not be universally applicable to the world of business, but it's part of a growing trend that is seeing companies using tech to improve the process between farm and fork - or factory and customer.

Whether it's growing produce on site, investing in driverless ships or simply adopting an automated warehouse management system - in today's fast moving world every second that can be saved is precious.


Image credits:  Adisa/Shutterstock

Please note the image is not a representation of Infarm.

 

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