You heard it here first: Vertical-farmed food

September 7, 2020
3 min read

Mintel has been at the forefront of predicting the trends that matter most, calling them early and accurately for nearly 20 years. In our series, You Heard It Here First, we take a look at some of the predictions that we’ve made and where they are today.

In 2019, Mintel predicted that by 2030 we will see urban and vertical-farmed food and local micro-farms produce the majority of the food people consume. Indeed, the pandemic has made product sourcing more of an interest to consumers, so they will be seeking local goods for both hygiene and sustainability reasons, illustrating how the Mintel Trend Driver Surroundings continues to influence their mindsets. Selfridge’s recently announced sustainability initiative Project Earth illustrates this prediction.

What is Project Earth?

Selfridges has teamed up with indoor farming experts Infarm to launch a modular vertical farming unit inside its London flagship store’s Foodhall. The move is part of the department store group’s new sustainability initiative. Selfridges will sell the fresh produce it has grown inside its own store to customers as well.

Project Earth’s slogan

Source: Selfridges

Project Earth has been designed to help customers shop in a more environmentally friendly manner through products and informative events. It addresses the materials used throughout the business, with the retailer pledging that by 2025 all will be the most environmentally impactful and come from certified, sustainable sources. Resellridges is the retailer’s rental, resale, repair and refill initiative, which aims to boost the circular economy. Food hall customers can purchase a variety of kale and salad leaves from Infarm’s modular farming units with produce also being used in Selfridges restaurant. Each unit uses 95% less water, 90% less transport and 75% less fertiliser than traditional agriculture, as well as no pesticides. The 2m² units can produce more than 8,000 plants each year.

Why it matters

Consumers are seeking brands that allow them to lead more environmentally friendly lifestyles either through sustainable products, recycling options or zero-waste operations. As a result, brands are offering consumers the opportunity to refill their products in stores to eliminate single-use plastic waste. Methods to find and purchase pre-loved fashion in order to combat fast fashion and excess consumption are being launched. Consumers are making more conscious purchases and reducing food waste while brands are using urban and vertical farming options as local produce has a lower carbon footprint.

What we’ve seen

Conscious Street Market: Buck Street Market in Camden has over 80 food, drink and retail traders that are all ethically minded.

Buck Street Market in Camden

Source: Buck Street Market

Local Food Partnership: Organic restaurant Alimentum is partnering with the local Højgården farm with the aim to become self-sufficient.

Restaurant Alimentum’s partnership with Højgården farm

Source: Restaurant Alimentum

Branded Swap: The Renaissance Hotel is hosting its first clothes swap event in a bid to battle fast fashion.

The clothes swapping economy is becoming more popular

Source: TimeOut London

What’s next?

With big brands demonstrating their application, we will see more follow suit to offer consumers the eco-friendly products and services they seek. More brands will strive to offer a more circular offer with products made from recycled, repurposed and surplus materials and food. The rental economy will expand to cover fashion, household appliances and seasonal items to ensure a more sustainable society is achieved.

Helen Fricker
Helen Fricker

As the Trends Manager for EMEA, Helen is responsible for ensuring content in the region is insightful, working with the team on developing new trends and providing client support.

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