Leading vertical farm secures listing for award-winning salad with convenience store giant

21 February, 24
Pioneering UK vertical GrowUp Farms is celebrating a great start to 2024, after partnering with one of the UK's leading convenience store groups by securing a listing for its award-winning Fresh Leaf Co. bagged salad.

Pioneering UK vertical GrowUp Farms is celebrating a great start to 2024, after partnering with one of the UK’s leading convenience store groups by securing a listing for its award-winning Fresh Leaf Co. bagged salad.

Fresh Leaf Co. red + green baby leaf salad will be available to buy in more than 400 SPAR stores initially, across the UK from February, which significantly increases the distribution of the bagged salad brand. Fresh Leaf Co. hit the shelves of Iceland stores in February last year, making it the first ready-to-eat, vertically grown salad to launch in a major supermarket group.

Fresh Leaf Co. is harvested, grown and packed by GrowUp Farms in a highly controlled indoor environment at its farm in Kent, using state-of-the-art technology and 100% renewable energy to create the perfect Mediterranean spring day, every day and significantly reducing food miles.

The leaves are grown without using pesticides and are not chlorine washed unlike other bagged salads; processes that degrade the quality of salad leaves. For this reason, the leaves are tastier, crisper and stay fresher for longer, helping people to cut down on food waste linked to bagged salads, which is great news as research* has found that a concerning 98% of consumers say they throw away bagged salad.

Talking about the new partnership with SPAR, Kate Hofman, founder of GrowUp Farms, said: “The listing for Fresh Leaf Co. in SPAR stores across the country is a fantastic way for us to start the new year.

“SPAR is one of the largest convenience store groups and this new listing will give us access to a whole new demographic of shoppers, who rely on their local SPAR store to pick up those last-minute items for lunch and dinner. Convenience stores in general can struggle to offer a prepared salad mix, given the challenges of its traditional short shelf life, but it’s great to see that our unique proposition of growing leaves will help to play a role in solving this challenge for SPAR. Our longer shelf life allows stores to stock our salad and provide their shoppers with more healthy meal options, which won’t break the bank.

“Research we have conducted found that 63%** of shoppers say they would buy more bagged salad, and buy it more often, if they knew they would waste less. Through analysis of our recent sales, we have found that this is exactly what is happening. Shoppers are buying our salad more frequently as they know it will last longer.

“Also, last winter, the UK supermarkets battled with shortages of salad vegetables due to the impact of climate change and over-reliance on overseas imports. The UK relies on importing 67% of the salad we eat each year, and over 90% in the winter***. Vertical farming offers a way to support the UK food industry by providing reliable food production all year round. So, we are over the moon to secure this new exciting partnership with SPAR, which will ensure that UK shoppers will have access to salad all year round.”

Simon Mitchell, SPAR UK Trading Director, added: “We are always striving to provide our customers with great value, fresh, convenient food. We are delighted to partner with Fresh Leaf Co. to offer our shoppers an affordable, longer-lasting fresh and healthy salad that is grown all year round in the UK. This will mean our customers will always see salad in SPAR stores throughout the year, no matter what the weather or supply chain challenges may exist.”

Fresh Leaf Co. red + green baby leaf salad will be available to buy in over 400 SPAR stores from February 2024.

*Survey conducted by Attest into shopping habits and consumer attitudes on 12 July 2023 with 1,000 respondents.

**Survey conducted by Attest into shopping habits and consumer attitudes on 12 July 2023 with 1,000 respondents.

***British Retail Consortium.

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