Pioneering UK vertical farm, GrowUp Farms, has launched Unbeleafable®, the first range of ready-to-eat salads grown in a vertical farm to be sold in a major UK supermarket. Three products from the range will be available in selected Tesco stores from 26 July*.
The Unbeleafable range of salads is grown at GrowUp Farms’ vertical farm, Pepperness, in Kent. The farm creates the perfect growing conditions for salad leaves. Unbeleafable salads are grown without pesticides and unlike conventionally produced salads, don’t need to be washed in chlorine to make them ready to eat. Unbeleafable leaves are tastier and stay fresher for longer than other ready-to-eat bagged salads sold in UK supermarkets.
Research conducted by Unbeleafable found that 98% of consumers say they throw away bagged salad**. Unbeleafable salads stay fresher for longer, so they are less likely to be thrown away. It’s better for the environment and better value for shoppers.
Unbeleafable is a step towards increasing the resilience of the UK’s food system. The UK imports 67% of salads eaten each year and over 90% in the winter***. UK supermarket shelves were left bare earlier this year as supply chains struggled with demand and supermarkets introduced temporary rationing. Unbeleafable salads are grown, harvested and packed year-round in the UK at GrowUp’s Kent vertical farm, Pepperness.
Pepperness has been producing ready-to-eat salads for UK retail and wholesale customers since February. The farm uses 100% renewable energy from the bioenergy plant next door and once complete, will use 94% less water than ready-to-eat salads grown in a field or greenhouse.
Kate Hofman, founder of GrowUp Farms, who was the only vertical farming industry representative to attend Rishi Sunak’s Farm to Fork Summit earlier this year, says: “At GrowUp Farms, we’ve been growing unbelievably good leaves for over a decade. At Pepperness, our latest farm, we’re producing ready-to-eat salads for major UK supermarkets, demonstrating the commercial viability of vertical farming and its role in sustainable UK food production.
“When people taste our salad, they tell us they didn’t know lettuce could taste this good or last all week! That’s not a surprise when our research shows that 98% of shoppers said they throw away bagged salad. What a waste! We’re incredibly proud that Unbeleafable can help consumers reduce food waste.
“Unsurprisingly, the majority of shoppers (61%) say the thing that bothers them most about bagged salad is that the leaves don’t last long enough. This is why we’re so excited to launch our Unbeleafable salads – they’re crisp and delicious, and they stay fresher in y’fridge! Unbeleafable offers consumers a range of tasty salads – from mild to strong – that have the freshest, crispest, longer-lasting leaves in the UK.
“Unbeleafable and its longer-lasting leaves are here to shake up the bagged salad category. We’re thrilled to be working with Tesco to get salads from our vertical farm onto the plates of more British consumers. It is great that Tesco is backing our sustainable approach to farming to make the UK more self-sufficient and to build a more resilient food and farming system” adds Hofman.
Alex Edwards, category buying manager for horticulture and prepared produce for Tesco, said: “We are committed to giving our customers the greatest choice of fresh produce, at affordable prices. We know that bagged salads are incredibly popular, not only in the summer months but all year round. So we are very excited to be offering Tesco shoppers Unbeleafable, an innovative new range of branded bagged salads that stays fresh for longer and is grown sustainably, which is something we know our customers are increasingly passionate about.”
**Survey conducted by Attest into shopping habits and consumer attitudes on 12 July 2023 with 1,000 respondents.
*** DEFRA Horticultural Statistics (2022)