Mint, basil, coriander and other fresh herbs now thrive in ALDI SÜD stores. Customers can buy the plants freshly harvested from so-called indoor farms. This is made possible by an exclusive cooperation with Infarm from Berlin, the world's fastest-growing farming network. The first herb allotments will be available from the end of May in five ALDI SÜD branches in the Düsseldorf and Frankfurt regions. By the end of 2020, seven more branches are to be equipped with the farms. From autumn, Infarm Growing Center will also supply more than 300 ALDI SÜD branches with fresh locally grown herbs.
ALDI SÜD is expanding its range of fresh fruit and vegetables to include herbs grown locally in its stores. To this end, the discounter is focusing on the "indoor farming" trend and is setting up herb allotments in its branches in the form of transparent glass cabinets, in which six different types of herbs can initially be found. The herbs are available for 0.99 euros each. "Our customers can watch the herbs grow. They are grown and harvested in our stores - they couldn't be more fresh," says David Labinsky, Group Buying Director at ALDI SÜD.
"Through our partnership, we are not only helping ALDI SÜD to reduce the supply chain, we are also building a farming network in Germany and around the world," said Erez Galonska, co-founder and CEO of Infarm. "In this way we are making possible what more and more people not only expect from their experience in food retailing, but also what they want for our planet: Sustainable, local premium quality and premium taste, accessible and affordable for everyone."
Smart herb allotments in the ALDI SÜD stores
The vertical and highly efficient cultivation of the allotment gardens means that the herbs can be planted and harvested all year round in the fruit and vegetable department of the ALDI SÜD branches. In the controlled cultivation environment, each plant receives exactly the light, water and nutrients it needs to grow. All Infarm farms are connected to a central, cloud-based platform that is constantly learning and adapting to the needs of the herbs during the three-week growth phase. To ensure that they grow and thrive in the best possible way, an Infarm gardener regularly comes to the branch and takes care of growing, care and harvesting.
Growing centres supply surrounding ALDI SÜD branches
The herbs are grown on just a few square metres directly in the ALDI SÜD branches - this means 90 percent less transport routes and 95 percent less water compared to conventional production. Infarm completely dispenses with the use of chemical pesticides. In addition to the small herb gardens in the branches, the young company grows Italian and Greek basil, mountain coriander, chives, flat-leaf parsley and mint for ALDI SÜD in so-called "Growing Centers" in the immediate vicinity. In total, more than 300 ALDI SÜD branches in the Mönchengladbach and Frankfurt regions, which do not have their own herb farm, will be supplied with fresh herbs daily by Infarm from autumn 2020.
ALDI SÜD cooperates successfully with start-ups
ALDI SÜD cooperates with various young companies that offer innovative services and solutions with added value for customers. For example, ALDI SÜD participates in various start-up support programmes. Together with ALDI Nord, the company entered into a partnership with the TechFounders Start-Up Accelerator Programme, among others, in early 2019. The programme supports start-ups that work on sustainable packaging solutions.