Inside Sobeys' Infarm vertical farming partnership

Date : 16 June 2020

Stewart Samuel

Program Director - Canada

Sobeys has extended its partnership with indoor vertical farming company, Infarm, to its Thrifty Foods banner in the Metro Vancouver market. We recently visited one of three stores in the initial roll-out. 

Great alignment with Thrifty Foods’ proposition

Sobeys launched its partnership with Infarm earlier this year, initially introducing a range of herbs at two Safeway stores in Vancouver. This was the start of a roll-out which will take the initiative to additional banners in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Toronto, Victoria and Winnipeg. As a more upscale, fresh-focused format, there is great alignment between the concept and Thrifty Foods’ broader proposition. 

Source: IGD Research

 

The Infarm unit is prominently located at the front of the store, with clear communication to shoppers about the concept.

Source: IGD Research

 

Its engaging design entices customers to learn about the concept and peer inside to discover more.

 

Source: IGD Research

Optimising machine learning and AI to improve growing conditions

Infarm has emerged as one of the leading operators in the indoor vertical farming space, with partnerships in place with retailers across Europe and the US. These include Edeka in Germany, Marks & Spencer in the UK and Kroger in the US. Each in-store farm has a controlled energy-friendly environment designed to bring out the natural flavour and properties of each plant. Individual farms are connected and remotely controlled from a central farming platform that gathers up-to-the minute information about the growth of each plant and learns. Optimising machine learning and AI technology, each unit adjusts and improves the growing conditions.

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