First large scale commercial vertical farm in Europe to be set up in the Netherlands

 

Farm to serve one of Europe’s biggest supermarket chains with fresh-cut lettuce grown using LED horticultural lighting

8 February 2017

Eindhoven, the Netherlands – Philips Lighting (Euronext Amsterdam ticker: LIGHT), a global leader in lighting, today announced that Staay Food Group, a leading fresh fruit and vegetables company, is building the first of its kind vertical farm in Europe, in Dronten, the Netherlands, which will use Philips GreenPower LED horticultural lighting. The facility will serve one of Europe’s biggest supermarket chains and will be used for testing, and optimizing processes for future, large vertical farms.

 

Ahead of new legislation

The 900m2 indoor vertical farm will have over 3,000m2 of growing space and produce pesticide-free lettuce. With upcoming stricter regulations on the residual pesticide levels in a bag or bowl of lettuce, retailers will need to provide exceedingly high quality, pesticide-free lettuce.

 

Defining growth recipes

Staay, Philips Lighting and vegetable breeder Rijk Zwaan collaborated and undertook intensive research over the past three years to determine the best combination of lettuce varieties and growth recipes to improve crop quality and yields. Having the right growth recipe prior to the start of operations at the vertical farm will help Staay achieve a faster return on investment.

 

“Our plant specialists at our Philips GrowWise research center in Eindhoven are testing seeds from a selection of the most suitable lettuce varieties, to define the best growth recipes and to optimize crop growth even before the farm is running,” said Udo van Slooten, Managing Director of Philips Lighting Horticulture LED Solutions.

 

Sustainable growth

“Producing lettuce for the fresh-cut segment indoors not only means avoiding all pesticides, it also means a much lower bacterial count and therefore longer shelf life at the retailers. With the lettuce being packaged at the same spot as where it is grown, we save on transport before distribution to retailers,” says Rien Panneman, CEO of Staay Food Group. “Also, by avoiding weather fluctuations, we maintain an optimized and stable production environment to guarantee consistent and optimal product quality.”

 

Looking for the best varieties

Wim Grootscholten, Marketing and Business Development Manager of Rijk Zwaan, worldwide market leader in lettuce seeds said: “The tests we are conducting within this project are enabling us to identify which varieties are optimal for growing in a vertical farm, and also which varieties offer the best taste and texture. It will help us with our continuous challenge to offer solutions for the growing world population. We believe that vertical farms will become increasingly important, because in the future we see more economic and environmental pressure to produce fruit and vegetables, such as lettuce, closer to where end-customers are located.”

 

First of its kind

The vertical farms in Europe, using LED-based lighting have so far been research centers or specialist producers serving restaurants. The new Staay facility in Dronten will be the first in Europe to operate commercially, serving large-scale retail. The facility will start operations in the second half of 2017.

 

About Philips GrowWise

Philips GrowWise Center in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, is the largest research facility of its kind with a total growing surface of 234m2. Here, Philips Lighting’s researchers trial a variety of crops under different LED lighting and climate conditions to help determine their economic potential. Vertical farming investors and operators can visit the facility to see demonstrations of different vertical farm technologies, taste crops grown under LED lighting and discuss the economic viability of the technology used. 

For further information, please contact:

Philips Lighting Global Media Relations

Bengi Silan Genc

Tel: +31 6 25441798

E-mail: bengi.genc@philips.com

 

Philips Lighting; Horticulture LED Solutions

Daniela Damoiseaux, Global Marcom Manager Horticulture 
Tel: +31 6 31 65 29 69

E-mail: daniela.damoiseaux@philips.com

www.philips.com/horti

 

Fresh-Care Convenience (member: Staay Food Group)

Marco Kleijn, Managing director Fresh-Care Convenience

Tel: +31 321 382 308

E-mail: marco.kleijn@fresh-care.nl

www.staayfoodgroup.com

 

Rijk Zwaan 

Ton van Leeuwen, Communication Specialist
Tel: +31 174 532 487
E-mail: t.van.leeuwen@rijkzwaan.nl

www.rijkzwaan.com

About Philips Lighting

Philips Lighting (Euronext Amsterdam ticker: LIGHT), a global leader in lighting products, systems and services, delivers innovations that unlock business value, providing rich user experiences that help improve lives. Serving professional and consumer markets, we lead the industry in leveraging the Internet of Things to transform homes, buildings and urban spaces. With 2016 sales of EUR 7.1 billion, we have approximately 34,000 employees in over 70 countries. News from Philips Lighting is located at http://www.newsroom.lighting.philips.com

About Staay Food Group

Staay Food Group is the fresh fruit and vegetables company in which centralized policy, marketing and sourcing control is supplemented by local expertise in growing and sales. Since 1946, we have delivered a wide range of excellent quality fresh fruit and vegetables worldwide. In response to supply chain integration, Staay Food Group positions itself closer to the growing process by cooperation and participation. Our regional offices closely monitor the growing process and the direct deliveries to customers.

About Rijk Zwaan

Rijk Zwaan develops vegetable varieties and produces seeds, which it sells in more than 100 countries. The family-owned company is amongst the top five in the global vegetable seed market and is characterized by a people-focused approach. More than 2,600 employees in over 30 countries work enthusiastically to provide products and services that add value for the market. The company has its headquarters in De Lier, The Netherlands.