Ocado the online food retailer has announced a pair of investment deals as they expand into vertical farming worth £17m.
Ocado has entered into a three-way joint venture with Infinite Acres that has 80 Acre Farms, and Priva Holdings as they look to create technology solutions for companies in the fast-growing vertical farming industry.
They have also bought a majority stake in Jones Food Company which is Europe’s largest operating vertical farm.
Vertical farming is where food production is grown indoors, and crops are planted on a series of levels enabling a dense and efficient farming.
Tim Steiner, Ocado’s chief executive officer said, “We believe that our investments today in vertical farming will allow us to address fundamental consumer concerns on freshness and sustainability and build on new technologies that will revolutionise the way customers access fresh produce.
“Our hope ultimately is to co-locate vertical farms within or next to our Customer Fulfilment Centres (CFCs) and Ocado Zoom’s microfulfilment centres so that we can offer the very freshest and most sustainable produce that could be delivered to a customer’s kitchen within an hour of it being picked.”
James Lloyd-Jones, CEO of Jones Food Company (JFC) said, “JFC is delighted that Ocado has chosen to partner and invest with us.
“We are certain that the combination of their world-leading logistics and automation systems coupled with our advanced growing technology will transform the way customers experience fresh produce, delivered fresh to their door a matter of hours from ordering.”