September 10, 2019
Could new innovative light recipes in indoor farms hold the key to feeding the world’s growing population?
Innovatus, a sustainable agricultural business in Fuji City, Japan, reached out to us. It had an interesting challenge it wanted help in solving. Namely, to produce high-quality, tasty, and pesticide-free lettuce in the most efficient way possible. In recent years, Japanese consumers have become increasingly concerned with food safety. People worry about pesticide-treated vegetables grown outdoors and the effects of fine particle pollutants that can be a serious health risk. To cater for the demand for clean, safe produce, Innovatus established a vertical farm with strict hygiene controls to produce truly safe vegetables.
We swung into action, responding with a mix of LED lighting expertise and technology. Our goal was simple: to increase the efficiency of one of the world’s largest closed-environment vertical farms - helping it to deliver 12,000 heads of lettuce every single day.
This new form of farming, within buildings located close to urban areas, is gaining momentum. Some believe it will become common place as the world’s population grows. According to the UN, the global population will hit 9.7 billion by 2050.
“We were really impressed by how well-suited the Philips LED modules are for vertical farming. They allow us to create consistent quality produce locally, using only a fraction of the water and electricity compared to open field lettuce or lettuce grown with the help of fluorescent lighting,” said cultivation management group team leader Shinichi Kitamura.
Consumers find the lettuce fresh and flavorful, especially compared to lettuce grown outside. Additionally, since the lettuce from Innovatus is grown and packaged in an extremely hygienic environment, there is no need for its consumers to wash it before eating and it lasts for two weeks.
“At Signify, we’re proud to be contributing to such projects because it reflects how we can solve social and environmental challenges using technologies that are more sustainable,” said Anton Brummelhuis, Senior Director Sustainability at Signify. “This project meets one of our eight sustainable focal areas. In this case, Basic Needs – in other words, how we contribute to the availability of fresh air, water, and food.