In the spring of 2023, market gardener Mads Pedersen will start growing lettuce as it has never been produced before in Denmark. The Fyn-based tomato grower and owner of the Alfred Pedersen & Søn nursery has invested DKK 220 million in a state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly lettuce factory to be built at the existing Bellinge production site, the company reports in a press release.
At the state-of-the-art site, Pedersen initially planned to cultivate cannabis for the pharmaceutical industry in cooperation with Canadian cannabis producer Aurora, but he later abandoned those ambitious plans, after which he acquired the site from the Canadians in a deal worth DKK 48 million.
Instead of cannabis, there will be a new, highly automated facility for lettuce production. Pedersen: "We want to revolutionize and rethink Danish lettuce, for example, in terms of taste, quality, and carbon footprint." Among other things, the leafy vegetables will be used for convenience purposes, such as ready-to-cook, ready-to-eat salads.
Growing demand for convenience salads
The majority of salads available in stores today are still harvested and prepared by hand and then washed with chlorine before being packaged. In the new salad factory, however, the leafy vegetables are not touched by human hands from sowing to packaging. Pedersen: "We want to offer consumers new varieties of crisp and tasty leafy lettuces that are produced without pesticides, bacteria, or chlorine. We know that demand for high-quality convenience salads is growing in Denmark. At the same time, the salads fit very well with our existing portfolio, not least because food safety is generally already a priority for us."
For more information: tomater.dk