For many years, consumers were marketed the premium quality of ‘organic’ food. Then, ‘local’ foods began to take on an equal or greater importance in the foodie culture. Today, everyone from gourmet chefs to supermarket chains to home cooks want fresh, diverse and high quality local produce.
Besides the obvious health reasons to embrace ‘organic’ and ‘local’, the terms denote a certain amount of transparency and understanding among consumers. They’re one-word labels that paint a picture of healthy food and a healthy environment.
Although produce from indoor vertical farming doesn’t have the same easy one-word label yet, founding partner of Urban Health Farms, Bernard Sleijster says food from indoor vertical farming can paint the same picture, if not a better one.
Although a discussion of labels might sound trite (after all, the produce really speaks for itself), being able to confidently and transparently match produce from indoor vertical farming to trends across the foodie culture is less of a culture change and more of an education.
Agricultural technology is already trendy among Europeans
Most of Europe has a long history of adopting new technologies and trends, especially when they are clearly beneficial. One particular study, identified some of the most prominent and striking trends in the food industry today.
Each of these trends represents an ideal people want out of their food experience, and each are perfectly positioned for produce from indoor vertical farming.
Be a Zero-Waste Hero
Somewhere between 30 and 50 percent of all food produced is wasted, whether through food recalls, over-purchasing, spoilage during transport, disease or infestation from pests. Because produce from indoor vertical farms is grown, harvested and packaged in uninterrupted cold-chains near urban populations, the industry doesn’t suffer from food recalls. Additionally, CO2 emissions from transportation is minimal, making it easier for consumers to eat everything they buy and embracing zero-waste.
Think Local, Act Local
The average produce item travels 2,400km to its consumer and can take 5-10 days, resulting in upwards of 50% loss in nutrients. Now that we are more of a global community than ever, many are returning their attention to the communities right outside their doors. For urbanites, this means being able to buy food grown within their own communities and encouraging local economic growth through buying from local businesses. Indoor vertical farming, while growing fast around the world, is at its core a local business and will primarily provide produce to local consumers.
In urban areas around the world, people are becoming more focused on health, nutrition and well-being. After years of consuming processed foods and imported produce from across the globe, there is a refocusing on what we put in our bodies and how that affects our health. Flexi-Foodies believe eating a nutrient dense, plant-based diet is crucial for your energy levels and overall health. Nothing could fit the products from indoor vertical farms more. Not only do we grow healthier, fresher produce, but through innovative technology we can selectively grow plants containing certain desirable qualities, either for taste or for health purposes.
Focus on Health
Over the past decades, there has been a rise in chronic illnesses directly related to environmental influences. Through research and increased transparency in our food system and environment, we have learned that many people are suffering from chronic illnesses because of the environment they live in or the food they put in their bodies. Re-focusing on holistic health is a whole-body idea that what we put in our bodies can actually heal them. The produce available from Urban Health Farms and the indoor vertical farming industry on the whole can help educate people on what a healthy diet can do and help the public make informed, educated decisions about their diet and well being.
Staying In Is the New Going Out
There is a documented culture shift, especially among burnt-out millennials, of staying in at night and on the weekends. This trend is growing, with people turning inwards to home, family and self-care to recharge and rest from their active and demanding work weeks. Because of this, at-home entertaining is also on the rise, with people focused on providing quality interactions with loved ones and serving healthy food. Because indoor vertical farms can provide a wide variety of healthy, quality produce to local, urban communities year-round, our products are precisely on-trend to encourage people to pick up our produce for their Staying In experiences.
Some of the crops Urban Health Farms offer are rarer or perhaps unfamiliar to some customers. In the past, these were some of the world’s most exclusive or limited crops, but thanks to indoor vertical farming, we can grow them anywhere in the world. This will be of great interest to the restaurant and hospitality industry and the modern consumer who has an appetite for global tastes and expects to find them for sale where they shop.
Look Beyond Labels to What Consumers Really Want
As Urban Health Farms integrates vertically farmed food into everyday life, these trends will help make our products and technology desirable. Keeping the modern European in mind, we can educate them on the premium product they will receive from our produce, despite the fact that is not labeled ‘organic’.
Because Europeans today are quick to pick up on beneficial culture shifts, they’ll quickly see produce from indoor vertical farms might not be the cheapest on the market, but they will be the healthiest, the freshest, free from pesticides and harmful chemicals, filled with beneficial nutrients and very local.