Ohio, October 16th
BrightFarms set to break ground on 4th greenhouse
With consumer demand for local produce and value-added products at an all-time high, New York-based BrightFarms, Inc. is set to break ground on its fourth greenhouse this month. "We have emerged as the nation’s leading producer of locally grown salad greens as it continues to disrupt the incumbent salad industry on the West Coast," says Paul Lightfoot, CEO. “We have seen demand for our local greens climb sharply as retailers have come to rely on the stability and consistency of our product." Though many companies look to occupy the locally grown salad space, SPINS data shows BrightFarms is the leader, exceeding others in this space by millions of dollars in annual sales.
Preference for local
The success BrightFarms is experiencing is part of a larger national trend towards local produce. The Food Marketing Institute’s 2017 Power of Produce report listed both organic and local as two of the largest drivers for growth in fresh, but noted that consumers have a significant preference for local. Researchers found when quality and appearance are controlled with no price differential, 60% of consumers chose the local option versus just 32% for organic.
However, Lightfoot notes that most retailers are unable to gain access to reliable year-round supply of local produce. “There is a large opportunity for the supermarket produce department to grow if they can source locally,” he says. “BrightFarms sees a clear opportunity in the market to expand our model for local produce across the country.”
BrightFarms’ Wilmington, Ohio, greenhouse is slated to break ground this month and will encompass 120,000 square-feet. The operation will provide locally grown salad greens and herbs to supermarkets in the Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus metropolitan areas. “We will also be creating 30 permanent green collar jobs that provide a living wage and full healthcare benefits to members of the community.” says Lightfoot. “A model for the future of local, low-impact farming, the greenhouse will be the most sustainable source of local year-round salad greens in the Ohio market.”
In keeping with its commitment to health and sustainability, BrightFarms is sponsoring the 5K Race for Talent at Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in New Orleans. “We hope everyone will come out for this great event whether to run or to support someone who is running,” says Lightfoot. “We look forward through this event and our other market inroads to continuing as an innovative leader in produce and retail.”
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Publication date: 10/13/2017
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