Two hours from shipment to retail shelf. Japanese firm Innovatus has established a supply chain that would be the envy almost any fresh produce grower or distributor.
The quality and control systems in place at the company’s Fuji Farm are so advanced that its range of lettuces can be on display in Tokyo supermarkets literally hours after being picked.
It’s not just the speed of Innovatus’ operation that impresses. After a 14-month trial, Fuji Farm, one of the biggest vertical farms in the world, now produces 12,000 heads of lettuce per day across a total floor area of 1,851m2.
The indoor farm uses Philips Lighting’s horticultural LED lighting technology to produce five varieties of lettuces – mainly frilled lettuce, green leaf and romaine.
“The process uses only a fraction of the water compared to lettuces grown in open fields,” said Hitoshi Wada, director at Innovatus. “Furthermore, as the lettuces are grown and packaged in an extremely hygienic environment, there is no need to wash them before eating.”
Another Japanese indoor producer, Delicious Cook, is using Philips’ GreenPower LED production module to grow relatively uncommon varieties of herbs at its city farm in farm in Narashino. These include edible chrysanthemums and coriander for the company’s processed foods.
Delicious Cook’s facilities manager, Katsuhiro Takahashi, said the GreenPower LED production module gives the company the flexibility to try out horticultural LED light recipes, opening up new possibilities to differentiate crop taste and increase yield.
“It is Delicious Cook’s strategy to transition from externally-produced food to food grown safely indoors,” Takahashi said. “Now, Delicious Cook can rely upon its own high-quality produce, home-grown indoors all year round and avoid sourcing it from external suppliers.”