Ocado has made a major investment in the emerging high-tech “vertical farming” space, as it enters into a joint venture.
The online grocery giant has partnered with 80 Acres Farms and Priva Holding to form “Infinite Acres”, a joint venture aiming to position itself as a leader in the vertical farming space.
80 Acres, an American vertical farming business, will own a third of the joint venture alongside Priva, a Dutch horticulture technology company, and Ocado.
It is understood that Priva and 80 Acres have been developing vertical farms together for around four years, and the pair will generate revenues of around £8 million this year.#
Meanwhile Ocado has recently acquired a 58 per cent stake in Europes largest operating vertical farm Jones Food Company, based in Scunthorpe.
Vertical farming uses precisely controlled environments in indoor farming facilities to grow crops on a series of levels, using less land, pesticides and water than traditional methods.
According to Ocado, its Jones Food Company facility can grow around 420 tonnes of crops every year.
“We believe that our investments today in vertical farming will allow us to address fundamental consumer concerns on freshness and sustainability and build on new technologies that will revolutionise the way customers access fresh produce,” Ocado’s chief executive Tim Steiner said.
“Our hope ultimately is to co-locate vertical farms within or next to our CFCs and Ocado Zoom’s micro-fulfilment centres so that we can offer the very freshest and most sustainable produce that could be delivered to a customer’s kitchen within an hour of it being picked”.