Waitrose has said it can now source British-grown salad leaves all year round from Evesham supplier Wingland Foods thanks to a new state-of-the-art glasshouse.
Wingland Foods' 1.5-hectare glasshouse is described as a UK first and has been in development since 2014. Using LED lighting, heating and watering, the system takes 35-40 days to produce leaves, compared to up to 16 weeks in the field, meaning yields are almost three times higher over a year period.
The first salad to be produced from the system is LEAF-certified British Chard & Salad Leaves bag, and Waitrose said it will now be the first retailer of the year to list a UK-grown salad bag, available three months earlier than the usual May-October season.
The launch follows severe salad and shortages due to Spanish weather chaos and means the potential of this UK growing system is even more important, Waitrose said.
Waitrose head of fresh produce Nicola Waller said: “This launch is a result of our long term planning and it’s great to see the first of our British salad bags hitting the shelves so early in the season.
“Developing this innovative new way of growing salad leaves means that we can source from the UK all year round, going even further in our commitment to British farming.”