Kroger, the largest US grocer, has linked up with Germany-based vertical-farming business Infarm to offer fresh produce in-store.
New York-listed Kroger said the service will be rolled out this month in two of its Quality Food Centers (QFC) stores at Bellevue and Kirkland in Washington.
“Using hydroponic technology, the produce will grow on site at the participating QFC stores, removing the need for extended transportation and storage and producing a more eco-conscious product,” the supermarket giant said in a statement today (19 November). “The farms are designed to scale and will provide shoppers [with] the freshest and most sustainable living produce options available.”
Kroger claims the partnership with Infarm is “the first of its kind in the United States”.
Berlin-based Infarm was founded in 2013 by Osnat Michaeli, and Erez and Guy Galonska. The company develops vertical-farming technology for retailers and foodservice outlets, allowing customers to manually pick their own produce. It has already partnered with supermarkets in Europe, namely Edeka and Metro in Germany, Swiss giant Migros and French grocers such as Intermarche and Auchan.
Its chief executive Erez Galonska commented: “We want to make fresh, pure, tasty and nutritious produce available and affordable for everyone. Kroger’s commitment to innovation, quality and flavour makes them the perfect partner with which to launch our business in the United States and for the first time in North America.”
Suzy Monford, Kroger’s group vice president for fresh produce, added: “Kroger believes that everyone deserves to have access to fresh, affordable and delicious food, no matter who you are, how you shop or what you like to eat. Our partnership with Infarm allows us to innovate by combining ground-breaking in-store farming technology with our passion for fresh, local produce and ecological sourcing.”