A supermarket is growing its own vegetables – in the aisle!

Vegetables are being grown inside a supermarket in Berlin, Germany, where one space in the store is dedicated to a small vertical farm.

Germany’s Metro group is taking a new approach to try shape the future of retail by using InFarm, a company set up to provide vertical farming.

Vertical farming allows small spaces to be converted into small ‘farms’ where plants are grown in vertical boxes, which is exactly what Metro in Berlin is doing.

Fabio Ziemssen, Head of Food Innovation and Foodtech with Metro, has said that the retailer has implemented the first ‘in store’ farming installation in Europe.

Metro is now able to provide products which are healthier, fresher and better for our environment.

Chairman of the Executive Board at Metro, Olaf Koch, said that the farming installation is part of Metro’s strategic direction.

“We feel that if we aim to be champions for independent businesses, then we need to make it on a sustainable basis.

“There’s more and more recognition that the way produce is being offered and plants are grown is sometimes difficult, due to lots of water consumption, lots of chemicals on them and the products travelling.

“Therefore, the value you get on the shelf and the value you get on the plate already is not comparable with something that is grown in your garden.”

Koch said that the information and wisdom of people are growing and as a consequence out of that we are re-discovering local.

We are at the beginning of a revolution, according to Danielle Gould of Food Tech Connect, and there has never been more interest in knowing where your food comes from – how was it grown, who grew it and how was it produced.

“There’s a huge opportunity for retailers to shift the way that they are developing relationships with their customers.”

Furthermore, Koch said that an infarm application in a store adds value to the store.

“First of all, you show something that is inspiring because it is purposeful. It shows people that you can grow plants inside of a building.”

You can do that with much less water consumption, you can do that without pesticides, you can do that in a way that is completely new.

“For me, there is a very easy proof of that value, which is the taste. So, whoever tasted an infarm grown plant, will share hopefully this view – that it is very different.

“It is much more intense, it has not been travelling hours, it has not been packed in boxes, it was not exposed in darkness.

“It comes basically from the growing to your mouth and there is nothing in between.”