Vertical farming outfit, Infarm, has rolled out more indoor farms across six M&S stores in London.
A selection of herbs will be grown in the hydroponic indoor units, that use machine learning, “Internet of Things” (IOT) technology, and eco-controlled systems that ensure the optimum amount of light, air and nutrients are used.
Each unit is remotely controlled using a cloud-based platform, which learns, adjusts and continually improves to ensure each plant grows better than the last one.
Stores in Bromley, Marble Arch, Kensington, Stratford City, Ealing Broadway and Kings Road have all been fitted with new indoor farms, with their first crops coming through during December.
Joe Erskine, store manager at M&S Food Clapham Junction said: “M&S Food is transforming but as we modernise, we’re protecting the magic and the things customers love about our food – like great innovation and delicious tasting quality products and our Infarm partnership helps us deliver exactly that.
“Our farming unit has been a real talking point since we re-opened in September and is helping change the perception of M&S Food in the local area. The farm brings a feeling of real freshness to our product offer and customers have been keen to discuss its sustainability benefits too. The feedback on the product quality and flavour has been outstanding, with coriander topping the list as our best-selling line in the range – ideal for adding an extra flavour punch to a curry.”
M&S have pointed to Infarm’s environmental gains, with each unit using 95 per cent less water and 75 per cent less fertiliser than soil-based agriculture.
The purple-lit units also produce the equivalent size crop to 400 square metres of farmland, and have zero pesticide use.
Erez Galonksa, CEO and co-founder of Infarm said: “The launch of our partnership with M&S earlier this summer has generated tremendous excitement among shoppers.
“As we expand to several more store locations, we look forward to making Infarm a core part of the fresh, sustainable produce menu available to London’s most demanding, health-conscious consumers.”