Pioneering vertical farm GrowUp Farms has received an A rating in its first-ever BRCGS audit.

The Kent-based farm, Pepperness, is the first UK vertical farm to be awarded the certification which covers the growing, harvesting and packing processes at the farm, and achieved a grade A against the BRCGS Global Food Safety Standard, which has set the benchmark for nearly 25 years for food safety, quality and operations. Adopted by more than 22,000 sites in more than 130 countries, the standard is accepted by 70% of the top 10 global retailers, 60% of the top 10 quick-service restaurants, and 50% of the top 25 manufacturers.

GrowUp Farms is also the first UK vertical farm to launch a branded ready-to-eat salad into a UK supermarket group with the launch earlier this year of Fresh Leaf Co. red + green baby leaf salad into Iceland and Food Warehouse stores across the country.

The controlled environment at the farm, which has received this highly sought-after certification, creates the perfect climate and conditions to grow salad leaves without the need for any pesticides or washing. The salads are grown using 94% less water than salads grown in a field or greenhouse. The fact that the salad does not need to be washed, or grown with chemicals, means the leaves are tastier and stay fresher for longer than other bagged salads sold in UK supermarkets, which means less wasted salad: better for the environment and more value for money for consumers.

Talking about the BRCGS certification to GrowUp Farms, Emma West, Vice-President of Technical Services and Certification Director for FoodChain ID said: “FoodChain ID is thrilled to support the ground-breaking achievements to secure certification for the first indoor vertically integrated farm in the UK.

Kate Hofman, Founder and Chief Brand Officer said: “We are over the moon to have achieved yet another accolade by being the world’s first controlled environment vertical farm to be awarded a grade A against the BRCGS from plant to plate in our first-ever audit.

“The certification is recognised by retailers and food service organisations across the world so it’s very important to us to achieve such a great rating on our first audit as we build on our commercial operations. We are the first vertical farm to launch a branded salad into a major UK supermarket group with the launch of Fresh Leaf Co. into Iceland stores and this certification validates our commitment to food safety and quality through better food for all.”