Friday, February 19, 2021
Constant quality throughout the year
Colruyt Group is the only retailer in Belgium with its own in-house developed vertical farm. In a closed system, with two tiered rows, basil plants were grown for Bio-Planet this past year. It allowed the group to test all the aspects of its own vertical farm for a year, from production over logistics to sales. And the results are certainly worth it. "In a challenging year, we managed to guarantee a stable production of high-quality basil plants", says Jan Van Holsbeke, Bio-Planet manager. "Because of corona, this wasn't the easiest testing year, because we had to scale up in our vertical farm due to the additional sales in our stores.At the same time, this shows the strength of indoor multiple-layer cultivation:we are able to create the perfect conditions for growth, irrespective of the weather, resulting in a quality of the herbs that is high all year round and the possibility to adjust our production to the demand." And there was certainly demand. This past year, more customers bought fresh basil at Bio-Planet compared to the year before.
Coriander with small ecological footprint
Bio-Planet sees potential in this new cultivation technique, because it allows to grow herbs with a very small ecological footprint. For example, for the same amount of plants up to 20 times less space is needed than in traditional cultivation, as well as 50% fewer nutrients and 90% less water. The herbs are also 100% pure because no pesticides are used. By integrating the farm into one of the group's distribution centres in Halle, 5 times fewer kilometres are driven than before. In addition, purified rainwater is used, that is collected on the roof of that distribution centre. The in-house developed, low-cost LED lighting together with the innovative ventilation system make the farm very energy-efficient. Moreover, the installation runs on 100% green electricity generated by wind turbines and solar panels.
"All these aspects make the farm and the herbs in it very sustainable, and this is crucial to Bio-Planet", says Jan Van Holsbeke. "We want to offer our customers sustainable, local and innovative products. We believe that in addition to basil and coriander other herbs and even leafy vegetables can be grown in a vertical farm.Although more research, investments and development of the technology is necessary for this."
Silja Decock, Colruyt Group press officer
Tel.: +32 (0)473 92 45 10 or +32 (0)2 363 55 45
For more information on the launch of basil and coriander:
For more information about what makes a vertical farm sustainable, go to: