Is the end of packaged salads in sight? By the end of the year, British supermarkets want to have picking gardens and ‘vertical farms’ in their stores. Companies including Waitrose already have definite plans for this.
Lettuce in an old railway tunnel
Bioengineers have revealed plans to place hanging vegetable gardens in supermarkets. The portable system uses no soil. They can, therefore, be set up in urban environments such as stores and supermarkets. Crops are grown vertically, with their roots hanging in a cylinder. Here, they are fed with a nutrient-rich spray.
The retail group, John Lewis, confirmed to the British newspaper, The Telegraph, that they are currently in discussions with LettUs Grow. This is a bio-engineering firm. LettUs Grow cultivates a lot of vegetables in a disused railway tunnel in the English town of Bristol. Top-of-the-range supermarket, Waitrose, belongs to the John Lewis group.
“No choice but to surprise customers”
John Lewis wants to use these cylinders to cultivate lettuce on their shop floors. In this way, customers can pick and choose their own fresh salads. They are seeing whether this can be introduced in 2019 already. If not, it will be in 2020. "In this way, you make renewed contact with the food system and the origin of food," explains the beautifully fittingly-named, Jack Farmer. He is the co-founder of LettUs Grow.
"I think it really has to do with how people see the shopping experience of the future. This, with the rise of Amazon and other online retailers. The shopping experience must become far more experience-focused," he said in the show, Farming Today, on the BBC. “In recent years, seismic changes have taken place in our sector," says Peter Cross. He is John Lewis' Customer Experience Director.
"Here is a new standard for customer expectation every time they shop. Stores simply have no other choice but to inspire and surprise their customers. With not only fantastic products but also a personal, seamless experience."