Kaufland and Ultragreens open the first vertically integrated greenhouse in Romania
Kaufland and Ultragreens inaugurated on October 11 the first vertical farming unit in Romania, whose production will be entirely directed towards being sold in the retailer's stores.
The investment into the project by Ultragreens, the leading producer of micro plants and herbs in Romania, amounts to EUR 350,000.
“This is a broad environmental and smart farming project, oriented towards new healthy consumption trends and in line with the UN's sustainable development,” say the developers.
The entire operating cycle of the unit has been taken into account to develop sustainable business practices long term, so the greenhouse was built in the immediate vicinity of the Logistics Center - Kaufland Ploiesti, in order to reduce the transport logistics chain and the environmental impact.
"Green Hub Kaufland by Ultragreens is more than a sustainable project. It is a new stage in our partnership with Ultragreens, through which we are extending the assortment of micro greenhouses and fresh herbs available in Kaufland hypermarkets. The macro greenhouse is equipped with state-of-the-art, energy-efficient technologies and proposes a model of responsible agriculture in line with international environmental standards," said Marco Hößl, CEO of Kaufland Romania & the Republic of Moldova
The production unit is installed in a modern industrial hall with a footprint of 180 square meters and a cultivation area of 1,250 square meters, obtained by overlapping seven cultivation areas.
The plants are grown efficiently all year round, in a hydroponic system, with a water consumption that is only 5% of what is used in traditional agriculture, and production cycles vary between 10 and 20 days. UV light is used to grow the plants, with LED bulbs that feature a minimal energy consumption, while the closed vertical cultivation system allows for more sustainable agriculture, which excludes pesticide and fertilizer pollution in the soil.
The hub's annual production of approximately 60 tons will be distributed entirely in the hypermarket network.
"Two years ago we installed the first Micro greenhouses in the Kaufland stores in Bucharest, with plants grown directly inside the hypermarkets - it was our first step towards creating hyper-localized urban agriculture. We have always believed in indoor vertical farming solutions as an answer to some of the biggest problems people face in the world today: the lack of pesticide-free food, food instability, pollution, and resource waste. In Kaufland, we have found the ideal partner, with whom we are innovating right here at home for sustainable and durable agriculture that comes with the benefits of healthy food, and for a socially responsible future," said Cristian Tudor, Founder of Ultragreens.
To develop this partnership and ensure a steady flow of plants throughout Kaufland’s entire network of 157 hypermarkets, a second Green Hub unit will be built in Turda.
Ultragreens, known until now on the local market as Microgreens Romania, is the leading manufacturer of micro plants, edible flowers, and other plant-based culinary specialties in the country. Since 2018, the company has been investing in AgTech through developing proprietary indoor vertical hydroponic growing systems, scaling the business in the area of Convenience and Functional Foods.
The company is GlobalGAP certified and complies with all required best practices by this standard, and has been awarded a diploma of excellence in water consumption.
(Photo source: Kaufland & Ultragreens)