Japanese Company to Construct Fully Automated Vegetable Factory by 2017

Japanese company Spread plans to construct a large fully automated vegetable factory capable of producing 30,000 heads of lettuce per day, according to a recent company statement.

The Kyoto based company will start constructions on the new site in Kizugawa, Kyoto in Spring 2016, and complete constructions by 2017.

Spread's vegetable factory in Kameoka.(All photos courtesy of Spread)

Coined by the company as the Vegetable Factory, the new factory that spans 48,000 square meters is part of its second phase of vertical farm developments, and is estimated to cut the cost of investments by 25% compared to the first factory based in Kameoka.

Spread estimates the factory investments will cost an estimated 1.6 billion to 2 billion Japanese Yen (US $13.31 million to US $16.64 million), but by upgrading to a fully automated factory it can cut the cost per lettuce from 80,000 Japanese Yen per head to 60,000 Japanese Yen per head.

Production costs will also be reduced by using more energy efficient LED lighting, and labor costs are estimated to be halved. An earlier Wall Street Journal blog entry noted human labor is still required at the seeding process because the seeds are too delicate for machines to handle, and people are required for checking seed germination.

Projected revenue generated from the new factory is estimated to reach about 1 billion Japanese Yen.

Spread is selling its vegetables grown from its vertical farms under the brand Vege-tus. 

The Japanese company currently ships four types of lettuces totaling 21,000 heads per day to 2,000 stores in Tokyo and the Kansai region under the brand Vege-tus.

In the next five years, Spread plans to raise production to 50,000 heads of lettuce per day.

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