Albertsons Cos. plans to roll out indoor-farmed produce to more than 430 stores in California under a partnership with vertical farming company Plenty Unlimited.
South San Francisco-based Plenty said Wednesday that a selection of its products are now available in selected Safeway and Andronico’s locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Plans call for Plenty offerings to expand to more locations — including Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions supermarkets in California — as supply ramps up, the company said.
The Albertsons Cos. stores initially will carry four Plenty products: Baby Arugula (baby arugula with spice, summer citrus and black pepper), Baby Kale (soft baby kale “highlighted by bright notes and a smooth finish”), Crispy Lettuce (a crispy leaf delivering a “fresh, clean crunch”) and Mizuna Mix — (a crunchy, colorful mix of tatsoi and mizuna with “mustardy heat”).
“We pride ourselves on offering fresh, quality products that surprise and delight our customers,” Geoff White, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Albertsons Cos., said in a statement. “Plenty’s data-driven and sustainable methods are truly innovative, and we look forward to bringing their unique and exciting products to more customers in California as they scale their operations.”
Plenty noted that its sustainable indoor vertical farm in South San Francisco grows produce all year long. The operation uses data analytics, machine learning and customized lighting to optimize taste, and wind and solar power provide 100% of the farm’s energy. Currently, the Plenty farm can grow 1 million plants at a time and process 200 plants per minute, the company said, adding that it also uses less than 1% of land and 5% of water versus traditional farming, as well as no pesticides. Items grown include leafy greens and strawberries.
When demand surged at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Albertsons Cos. merchandising team asked suppliers — including Plenty — to help ensure shoppers would have uninterrupted access to quality fresh produce, the vertical farming company said. That led Plenty to spur production at its indoor farm to bring more products to market.
“Albertsons Cos. is leading the industry by creating a new partnership model to deliver customers the intensely flavorful and fresh produce of the Plenty farm,” commented Matt Barnard, CEO of Plenty. “This is an important milestone for the Plenty team, and we look forward to bringing Albertsons Cos. customers the best-tasting and cleanest greens they’ve ever eaten.”