Large Eagle brings vertically grown greens to over 75 shops

Diving letter:

  • Giant Eagle has expanded more than 75 stores in metropolitan Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Columbus, Ohio with greens and ready-to-eat salads from robotics-focused vertical agriculture company Fifth Season, according to a press release on Monday.
  • The expansion takes advantage of Fifth Season’s commercial vertical farm in the Pittsburgh area, which produces more than £ 500,000 annually. The grocer previously sold four of Fifth Seasons in ten Market District and Giant Eagle stores in the Pittsburgh area.
  • Grocers carry more greens from vertical farms, indicating year-round availability, better taste, and some eco-friendly benefits. However, suppliers struggled to make a profit in the energy-intensive business.

Dive Insight:

Season five, a vertical farm startup incubated at Carnegie Mellon University, has expanded its business as the technology attracts more interest from investors and grocers. It emerged from stealth mode in September 2019 with funding of $ 35 million.

The company claims that its reliance on advanced robotics sets it apart from other competitors like Bright Farms and Gotham Greens. On the fifth season research and development farms on the South Side of Pittsburgh, around 40 robots perform tasks such as storage, retrieval and pest control. The technology lowers labor costs in an industry where profitability can be elusive, and reduces the potential for the introduction of pathogens from human carriers.

For Giant Eagle, which also sources products from farms like Vigeo Growers and Great Lakes Gardens, the partnership increases the year-round supply of on-site greens and offers another opportunity to promote sustainability. Season five green leaves require 95% less water and 97% less land than traditional free-range farming, according to the company. So is the supplier plans to phase out single-use plastics of its operations until 2025.

National and regional food chains including Albertsons, Ahold Delhaize, Kroger and Meijer have signed major distribution agreements with indoor farming companies. Bright Farms, which operates several large greenhouses in the eastern United States, supplies hundreds of stores including Giant, Food Lion and Walmart. Some grocery stores, including Whole Foods Market and Kroger-QFC, experimented with miniature farms in the store Provision by startups in agriculture or greenhouse operators.

Although indoor farming is becoming increasingly popular with retailers, it has been tough for suppliers struggling with high energy and infrastructure costs. The fifth season claims that the use of robotics helped increase profitability.

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