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UK: ‘Pick your own’ aisles coming to supermarkets?

The end of the bagged salad could be nigh, as British supermarkets look to install ‘pick your own’ vegetable aisles by the end of this year.

British bio-engineers have revealed plans to set up aeroponic vertical vegetable growing cylinders in supermarkets, so shoppers can pick their own fresh salad.

Aeroponic systems are soil-free, portable and can be placed in urban environments such as shops and supermarkets. Plants are grown vertically, with their roots suspended inside a cylinder, where they are nourished with a nutrient-rich mist.

John Lewis and Partners, owners of Waitrose, has told The Telegraph that it is currently in talks with bio-engineering company, LettUs Grow, over their plans to grow salad in supermarkets.

Jack Farmer, co-founder of LettUs Grow, says the company grows many types of vegetable in aeroponic systems in a disused railway tunnel in Bristol, including red cabbage, kale, salads and micro-herbs.

“I think it really stems from the way people see the retail experience going in the future, with the rise of Amazon and other online retailers, the retail experience has to become much more experiential,” he told the BBC’s Farming Today.

He said that customers are keen to pick their own salad instead of grabbing a plastic bag of it, adding: “You really re-engage with the food system and the provenance of our food.”

When asked when this will come about, he said: “Watch this space for 2019 but if not 2019 then 2020 looks exciting as well”.

Peter Cross, Customer Experience Director at John Lewis & Partners, said: “Our search was for those entrepreneurs who might dare to think differently about the future of retail. Recent years have seen seismic changes in our sector, with a new benchmark in customer expectation every time they shop.

“Shops simply have no option but to inspire and delight customers – offering both fantastic products and personalised seamless experiences.

“We believe the dynamic new businesses selected for further discussions with JLAB will help us continue to stretch, shape and deliver together for our customers in the future.”

Source: The Telegraph, LettUs Grow

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