Lettuce and herb supplier Madestein UK has joined other UK salad growers in installing LED toplights in a bid to improve quality, shelf life and yields.
The company has been investigating LED grow lights for a long period and carried out several LED trials at its site in Chichester from 2014 to 2017.
It became convinced of the benefits of LEDs after trialing Phillips GreenPower LED Toplights and visiting several growers in The Netherlands and Finland.
It is not the first UK salad producer to adopt an LED lighting system, following in the footsteps of the likes of APS Salads, Flavour Fresh and Natures Way Foods, all of which have made the switch in the past three years.
Jonathan Zwinkels, technical director at Madestein UK, said: “We are seeing a strong demand for UK grown lettuce and herbs, so we’ve been exploring ways to raise our productivity.
“We were impressed with what we saw in our trials and confirmed those views with visits to growers in The Netherlands and Finland who are using LEDs to grow lettuce.
“Our aim is to use LED grow lights to improve quality, reduce the impact of adverse weather conditions, and improve the shelf life of our products.”
Madestein UK was founded in 1982 and has introduced several innovations to the British market, including curly leaf lettuce in the late 1980s and living mixed lettuce in 2001.
The supplier currently focuses on producing glasshouse lettuce and fresh basil year round.
Commenting on the company’s visits to Dutch and Finnish producers, Udo van Slooten of Philips Lighting said: “It’s great to see how our network of growers are ambassadors across the entire globe.
“In this case, they were able to show how LEDs can help them speed up their crop cycles and grow more compact plants. That’s the real value of working with people who are passionate about their professions.”
The lighting will be installed by Philips Lighting’s Horti LED partner Cambridge HOK.