Belgian supermarket Bio-Planet, owned by Colruyt Group, is launching herbs grown on its own vertical farm.
The first produce to hit the shelves will be fresh basil sold under the company's own label brand, Boni Selection. It will be available at the chains 31 Bio-Planet stores and via the Collect & Go service for €1.89 each.
The production method is pesticide free, requires 90% less water and 20 times less cultivated land than traditional methods, the company said.
“We are already using 90% less water and 50% less nutrients than traditional growing methods. An added benefit is that we only use purified rainwater, which we collect on the roof of our distribution centre," said Fabrice Gobbato, Managing Director of Bio-Planet.
The low-cost LED lighting, developed in-house, together with the 'innovative ventilation system' make the farm 'very energy-efficient'. The vertical farm installation runs on 100% green electricity generated by wind turbines and solar panels.
The high-tech installation has space for 250,000 plants. This is more than enough to meet Bio-Planet’s demand, according to the company. Coriander will be added later this year.
"Although these fresh herbs are not labelled as organic, they definitely still deserve a place in our range," explained Gobbato. "They are grown from bioseed and we intentionally decided to use a particularly sustainable and compostable substrate made from organic waste streams, even though this is not yet organic."