Japanese Vertical Farming Practitioners Benefit from Special LED Lighting

Indoor crop trials with Innovatus and Delicious Cook provide fresh and safe produce close to customers in the Japanese urbanized areas of Kanto and Fuji

Philips Lighting, a global leader in lighting, today announced results from trials of crops of lettuces and herbs grown at two Japanese vertical farm customers equipped with horticultural LED lighting. Consumers in Tokyo have welcomed pesticide-free, wash-free lettuce grown with horticultural LED lighting by Innovatus Inc., one of the world’s largest vertical farms. Also, convenience stores in the Kanto area which holds around one third of Japan’s population, now can buy processed foods with fresher, tastier vegetables and herbs grown with horticultural LED light from Delicious Cook. This follows respective 14 month and 10 month trials at Innovatus Inc., and Delicious Cook.

Japanese vertical farming companies, such as Delicious Cook are benefiting from LED grow lights. (All photos courtesy of Philips)

Fresh, safe produce grown locally

A vertical farm is a fully controlled facility where vegetables and herbs are grown in stacked layers without the use of daylight. Growing conditions are controlled carefully using tailored growth recipes. They provide everything to grow high-quality plants: the right light recipe, the ideal temperature, amount of water, CO2 and the best growing medium. This farming method leads to cleaner, pesticide-free crops with a consistently great taste and maximum nutrition. Growers achieve higher yields and less waste thanks to the strictly-controlled, growing environment.

Fast growing Japanese market

“Increasingly, Japanese consumers are interested in a diverse variety of foods that have superior taste, are safe and nutritious as well as being offered at a reasonable price, said Udo van Slooten, business leader for Philips Lighting’s Horticulture business. “Vertical farms are an ideal way to meet this growing demand for safe, fresh food especially in a country with highly-urbanized areas where space is at a premium.” Philips’ first commercial vertical farming project was opened at Osaka University in Japan in 2014. Now, Japan is one of the fastest growing markets for our horticultural LED systems. Our collaboration with Japanese growers and partners has helped us further refine our LED installations and light recipes to better meet the requirement of the Japanese market.”

Innovatus gets clean lettuces grown with horticultural LED lighting to supermarket customers within two hours of shipment

After a trial starting in March 2015 at its Fuji Farm with a total floor area of 1,851 m2, Innovatus, from a standing start, now produces 12,000 heads of lettuce a day. This is one of the largest completely closed-environment, vertical farms in the world using horticultural LED lighting.

“The trial using Philips GreenPower LED production module, has allowed us to grow five varieties of lettuces, mainly frilled lettuce, green leaf and romaine that are of a consistent quality and locally-produced, using only a fraction of the water compared to lettuces grown in open fields, said Hitoshi Wada, director at Innovatus. Also, the quality and control it has given us with our lettuce crops has enabled us to get lettuces to Tokyo supermarkets in just two hours after shipment. Furthermore, as the lettuces are grown and packaged in an extremely hygienic environment, there is no need to wash them before eating.”

Delicious Cook has been able to reduce annual costs of growing farming produce with LED grow lights from Philips. A man smiling while carrying herbs grown from LED lights.

Delicious Cook gains consistent quality of herbs all year round while reducing costs

In October 2015, Delicious Cook created a new city farm in Narashino City in the Chiba Prefecture of the urbanized Kanto region of Japan. During a 10 month trial led by Philips Lighting business partner, CCS, Delicious Cook has used Philips GreenPower LED production module in three layers in a total cultivation area of roughly 80 m2 on a footprint of 80 m2 to grow relatively uncommon herbs. These include edible chrysanthemums and coriander for the company’s processed foods. The Philips GreenPower LED production module gives Delicious Cook the flexibility to try out horticultural LED light recipes, opening up new possibilities for them to differentiate crop taste and increase yield.

Delicious Cook’s facilities manager, Katsuhiro Takahashi commented, “It is Delicious Cook’s strategy to transition from externally-produced food to food grown safely indoors. No one imagined that Philips Lighting and CCS would be able to help us with horticultural LED light to deliver results so quickly. He added, “Now, Delicious Cook can rely upon its own high-quality produce, home-grown indoors all year round and avoid sourcing it from external suppliers.”

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