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Photo report:

"We're catering 100+ restaurants in the Brussels area"

"We began with modest ambitions, but our vision has always been clear: to produce fresh, sustainable food within the city for the city," says Dario Vunckx, co-founder of MicroFlavours, a vertical farming company based in Brussels, Belgium.

Dario Vunckx pictured in the vertical farm

Local farming has seen a significant boost in Brussels over the past years. Producing a variety of mushrooms, edible flowers, and microgreens, MicroFlavours has been covering a wide array of Brussels's high-end restaurants. In the past year, the company moved from its small-sized facility to a large cultivation area that is based in the caves of Cureghem, which is based underneath a well-known monument, the Anderlecht slaughterhouse and market complex.

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Inside the production facility at Micro Flavours

Over the years, the company expanded its operations, acquiring Champignon Bruxelles, today MicroFlavours is a group of companies that not only caters to local restaurants but also supplies large retailers. Mushrooms have become a cornerstone of Micro Flavours' production with a weekly output of 1.3 tons, their mushrooms, including varieties like shiitake, trumpet mushroom, king oyster, and black pearl, are highly sought after.

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Dario showcasing the mushroom packaging sold to wholesalers

Side-to-side collaboration with chefs
"We don't rely on large climate control systems as our basement provides a naturally stable temperature, which is ideal for mushroom cultivation." MicroFlavour's clientele includes some of Brussels' top restaurants, many of which are Michelin-starred or in the high-end segment just below. With a customer base of around 130 restaurants, the company is known for its specific and seasonal offerings, such as arugula flowers and other unique microgreens.

"One in three restaurants we visit becomes a client," notes Dario. "We currently serve about 100 customers in Brussels alone and aim to keep expanding while maintaining our focus on B2B relationships."

Pea shoots

Keeping OpEx low, efficiency high
In 2022, the business could certify all its products as organic, given the employment of eco-friendly materials such as jute mats for microgreen cultivation and composting these accordingly. "Our production methods are designed to be low-cost and environmentally friendly. We hand-harvest our mushrooms, and each block can be harvested three times, which maximizes efficiency," Dario explains.

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Wholesale packaging

Growing steadily
Like many businesses, MicroFlavours faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw fewer competitors in the market. MicroFlavours is now expanding its production to include more varieties of mushrooms and is testing new growing systems for its microgreens.

"December is always a booming month for us due to the wild season," says Dario. "We are constantly innovating and looking to expand our offerings to meet the growing demand for sustainable, locally-grown produce."

For more information:
Henegouwenkaai 41-43
1080 Molenbeek, Belgium
+32 470 530 801
[email protected]