Albertsons Cos. has begun rolling out indoor-farmed produce from Bowery Farming to 275 Acme and Safeway stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
New York-based Bowery, which describes itself as the largest U.S. vertical farming company, said Tuesday that 164 Acme stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland) and 111 Safeway stores in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., are now carrying five of the brand’s most popular SKUs. Those products include four greens — Bowery Baby Butter Lettuce, Bowery Crispy Leaf, Bowery Spring Blend and Baby Kale Blend — and one herb, Bowery Basil.
Along with Bowery Crispy Leaf, greens now sold at the Acme and Safeway stores include Bowery Baby Butter Lettuce, Spring Blend and Baby Kale Blend. (Image courtesy of Bowery Farming)
Located near the cities served, Bowery’s smart indoor farms grow greens and herbs in controlled environments year-round, independent of weather and seasonality, the company noted, adding that these conditions enable produce to be harvested at peak freshness and reach store shelves within a few days.
“Whether our customers shop with us in-store or through our websites and apps, they expect to find fresh and sustainable produce for delicious meals at home,” Ricardo Dimarzio, produce sales manager for the Mid-Atlantic division of Albertsons Cos., said in a statement. “We’re proud to offer Bowery Farming’s innovative and sustainable produce to help meet customer demand for high-quality local indoor grown greens and herbs.”
Using artificial intelligence-based technology, Bowery said it focuses on flavor, freshness and safety in “farming efficiently to feed locally.” The company’s proprietary BoweryOS operating system employs sensors, vision systems, machine learning and automation to continuously monitor and control all variables affecting crop growth. In addition, each new farm launched benefits from the learnings of the BoweryOS, further improving efficiency and quality. Bowery reported that its farms are over 100 times more productive than a comparable square foot of traditional farmland, and its crops grow more than two times faster than in the field, while using a fraction of the water and land.
Bowery added that its 24/7 protected farms helped fill gaps in retailer supply chains that were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We believe that everyone should have access to fresh, healthy produce,” commented Katie Seawell, chief commercial officer at Bowery Farming. “We’re proud to partner with Albertsons Cos. to bring millions of shoppers our local, wildly delicious, ‘protected produce’ and meet unprecedented demand for our growing category, which we believe is the next frontier of agriculture.”
Besides its first farm, its R&D center in Kearny, N.J., Bowery operates a commercial farm in Kearny and another in Nottingham, Md., serving nearly 800 grocery stores and major e-commerce sellers. The company said it’s now constructing its largest and most technologically advanced farm in Bethlehem, Pa., which is expected to provide additional automation “from seed to store” and extend its reach along the East Coast. Since January 2020, Bowery said, its farms have seen nearly 700% sales growth with brick-and-mortar grocery retailers, while sales with online retailers, including Amazon, have quadrupled.
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons, the nation’s second-largest supermarket retailer with nearly 2,300 stores across 20 banners, has recently been expanding its vertically farmed produce offerings.
Earlier this month, Albertsons expanded its partnership with indoor farming company Plenty to more Safeway and Vons stores in Northern California. The rollout is part of the multi-year pact announced in August that will bring Plenty produce to more than 430 Albertsons Cos. supermarkets in California.