GrowUp Farms was founded in 2013 by Kate Hofman and Tom Webster. They wanted to combine new and existing technology to grow food that tasted better, lasted longer, and reduced the environmental impact of getting healthy food onto people’s plates.  Their purpose has always been better food for all.

GrowUp Farms latest and biggest farm, Pepperness, in Kent produces fresh salads for the UK market. It combines innovative farming technology with renewable energy, using electricity and residual heat from the bioenergy plant next door.

Using vertical growing technologies and controlled environment agriculture, GrowUp Farms produces a year-round harvest of fresh, leafy vegetables. They’re the first vertical farm to introduce a branded salad into a supermarket chain in the UK with the launch of Fresh Leaf Co. in Iceland stores across the country in February 2023 and SPAR in February 2024, and the Unbeleafable range in Tesco in July 2023.   

Alex Edwards, Category Buying Manager – Produce at Tesco says ‘’We’re excited to offer Tesco shoppers Unbeleafable, an innovative new range of bagged salads grown using renewable energy and grown all year-round in the UK. It stays fresh for longer – making it an excellent choice for both the planet and consumers who we expect will waste less at home. As Tesco progresses towards our goal of net zero from farm to fork by 2050, we’re always looking for more choices that support us and our shoppers in eating more sustainably.” 


The challenge

In order to continue growing the best salad, year-round, GrowUp Farms must ensure that every aspect of their operations is optimised, including using technology to reduce energy consumption. They needed to ensure that the lighting used in the farm is , sustainable and economically viable, especially given the energy crisis.

Lighting is a critical component of an optimised commercial growing environment. Against the backdrop of rising energy prices, choosing the right lighting partner was even more important.

GrowUp Farms needs reliable technology to meet the standards of a high-care production environment. This is where the best quality lighting has a huge role to play. 


The solution

Having worked with Philips Horticulture at their previous farm and their Leaf Lab in Cambridge, the team at GrowUp Farms already knew that they were making the right choice in technology and lighting solutions in working with Philips again. They trusted that the lighting was going to be reliable and would help deliver the quality of product while being more energy efficient. 

Tailored light recipes are used to grow their leafy vegetables. The light recipe contributes to the higher quality leaves. Kate Hofman comments, GrowUp’s Founder says ‘’The lighting helps produce a  strong and consistent high-quality product. There has never been more need for sustainable, resilient and local food systems and for this, each element of technology in the farm has a huge role to play.’’ 

Philips Horticulture LED lighting was the perfect solution as it offers greater control over plant growth, faster germination, faster root growth, and bigger yields. Philips Horticulture LED lighting systems use 85% less energy than traditional methods, making them highly energy efficient. GrowUp Farms also chose to work with Philips Horticulture as they were looking for the right partners who could bring knowledge and expertise and help GrowUp with the right technology to manage a controlled and concise yield, in turn helping with commercial viability.

Kate Hofman adds, “Using LED lighting offers several benefits for growing sustainable food. Working with Philips as a lighting partner again and using the right kind of lighting in our farms makes it possible for us to grow fresh salad sustainably throughout the year. We knew from our experience of working with Philips that we already had the right partner for the next farm.”