Pioneering vertical farm in the running to win five major British awards

21 September, 23
Pioneering vertical farm GrowUp Farms has a lot to celebrate this month after being named as finalists in 10 categories in five major awards.

Pioneering vertical farm GrowUp Farms has a lot to celebrate this month after being named as finalists in 10 categories in five major awards.

GrowUp Farms, which is the first vertical farm to launch branded salads into major supermarket groups, has its two new salad brands – Unbeleafable and Fresh Leaf Co. – shortlisted in the Deli Category of The Grocer New Product Awards. Unbeleafable and Fresh Leaf Co. are the only salad brands to be named as finalists in this category.

Unbeleafable has been named as a finalist in the Salad category of the Quality Food Awards too.

GrowUp Farms has also been nominated in four categories in this year’s Fresh Produce Consortium Fresh Awards. Chantelle Cohen, a vital member of the People team at GrowUp, has been nominated for Rising Star of the Year, while GrowUp has been shortlisted for three other categories, including Best Place to Work, Sustainability Excellence Award and Team of the Year award.

Kate Hofman, Founder and Chief Brand Officer, has been named as a finalist in the 2023 Barclays Entrepreneur Awards in the Sustainability Category. The awards spotlight entrepreneurs who are shaking up their industries, who bring positive change to the economy and society, and unleash innovation.

Also in the Barclays awards, GrowUp Farms has been shortlisted for the People’s Award, a unique category in the Barclays Entrepreneur Awards, which gives the public the opportunity to choose the winner.

Hofman has been nominated for a second award, making the shortlist for the prestigious 2023 Great British Entrepreneur Awards in two categories: the Sustainability Entrepreneur of the Year and the Equity-backed Entrepreneur of the year.

Described as “The Grammys for Entrepreneurship”, The Great British Entrepreneur Awards recognise exceptional entrepreneurial spirit, dedication, and remarkable achievement within their industry. They celebrate the outstanding individuals and businesses that drive innovation, generate employment opportunities, and contribute to the growth of the UK economy.

Hofman is a trailblazer in the vertical farm world; in the past 10 years, she, has taken the concept of vertical farming from a small aquaponic unit in London, to a significantly larger vertical farm, Pepperness, in Kent, which is unique among UK vertical farms because it uses on-site renewable energy and can therefore grow food with a lighter environmental footprint.

Earlier this year, this farm, which is backed by £100 million investment, became the first vertical farm to sell a branded bagged salad in a major UK supermarket with the launch of Fresh Leaf Co. into Iceland stores across the UK. Fast forward four months and GrowUp Farms, led by Hofman, launched the first range of salads grown in a vertical farm into Tesco stores.

Hofman said: “The last 10 years have been amazing. To think how much GrowUp Farms has grown from its humble beginnings in East London to securing a £100 million investment, building a new farm and launching the first vertically farmed salad brands into major supermarket groups – it’s been the most incredible journey.

“And to make the shortlist in five major awards is a real honour. The GBEAs and Barclays awards are the much-coveted awards and The Grocer New Product Awards are the most highly sought-after accolades in the food and drink industry. The icing on the cake is our latest nomination in the Salad category in the Quality Food Awards. What a year 2023 has been and bring on November for when we find out how we have done in the six categories in the four different awards.”

The winners of The Grocer New Product Awards will be announced on 7 November, the GBEA awards on 20 Novembers, the Barclays Entrepreneur Awards on 29 November, the Quality Food Awards in November and the Fresh Produce Consortium Fresh Awards on 29 September.

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