Controlled environment farming company Growing Underground has formed an alliance with wholesale produce supplier Reynolds to help further distribute its branded microgreens and salads to foodservice outlets in the UK.
Growing Underground already has a presence in supermarkets Tesco, Whole Foods and Marks & Spencer as well as online retailer Farmdrop, but its new goal is to expand nationally beyond the retailers and restaurants it already serves such as Pret a Manger and The Ivy.
To do that, it has created new branding and has plans to expand from its location under Clapham in South London to a facility in North London.
“We’re looking forward to translating our carefully crafted model and sustainability credentials into an industrial-scale distribution network, accelerating the world’s transition to carbon negative farming and continuing to transform the future of sustainable food production in the UK,” said Richard Ballard, Co-Founder & Farmer-in-Chief, Growing Underground.
Growing Underground said it has become the first B Corp salad brand in the UK that serves mainstream supermarkets, achieving verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, as well as earning net carbon status. Ballard said 1,700 investors – including Reynolds, G’s Fresh and Chef Michel Roux Jr. – have backed Growing Underground’s parent company, Zero Carbon Farms, along with its mission to feed the nation with healthy greens “from where the sun doesn’t shine”, or vertically.
“We’re really proud our financing campaign has provided such a strong endorsement of what we’re doing,” Ballard says.
What they’re doing is growing, and growing in a sustainable way via 100% renewable energy and 70% less water whilst staying pesticide free. In turn, the process delivers far more production per square metre and 90 times more nutrients than traditional farming.
Its expansion will allow for Reynolds to better target its customers and do so more efficiently.
“The Growing Underground model reduces food miles and cuts down the time between harvesting the produce and delivering it, allowing us to offer a better tasting, more nutritious and sustainably grown product to our customers,” said Tony Reynolds, Managing Director at Reynolds.
The strategic partnership is boosted by the new branding campaign that Zero Carbon Farms said was inspired by the vertical farm’s mission, highlighted by “a bespoke growing font and vibrant flavour-based colour palette.” Packaging is made from 100% recycled materials, though the company said it is looking into fully compostable packaging.