Meat substitutes may be the biggest focus for investment in new food concepts over the past few years, but it seems vertical farming could be next in line.
I saw various examples of vertical farming on display at the 2015 World Expo in Milan, but I was concerned about the cost of energy as well as infrastructure.
Now there are various companies
• using empty industrial buildings,
• concentrating on small volume, high value products like herbs,
• which can produce crops on almost a monthly cycle.
The great advantages of vertical farms are:
• total control of conditions, such as light, humidity and temperature
• improved food safety conditions and
• better flavour, according to chefs.
The largest vertical farm in Europe is reported to be Jones Food Company in Britain, which has already received £4.9 million of funding.
In the United States, some investments have been substantially higher:
• $200 million in 2017 for Plenty, including support from the founders of Amazon and Google
• $90 million in 2018 for Bowery Farming, backed by Google Ventures
• $40 million for AeroFarms with backers including Dubai.