Jun 10, 2019

Ocado ploughs £17m into indoor farms

UK online supermarket Ocado is investing £17m in developing indoor farms, in a move that could eventually lead to customers picking their own produce. Indoor or "Vertical" farms grow produce in stacked layers in purpose-built warehouses and under artificial light. Ocado - which has been busy striking deals to build automated warehouses for other supermarket groups - said it ultimately aimed to have vertical farms next to its own delivery warehouses, with a view to delivering fresh produce within an hour of picking. Because these indoor farms can provide high volumes of produce they could also, in theory, be located next to or even inside other supermarkets. Stewart McGuire, the former Credit Suisse equity analyst who now runs Ocado's ventures business, said the existing 80 Acres Farms facility in Ohio grew mostly tomatoes and cucumbers, but that the system lent itself to any crop that was relatively high value and had a short growing period.

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