Pioneering vertical farm, GrowUp Farms, has won two accolades at the food and drink industry’s most prestigious awards.
GrowUp Farms’ Unbeleafable rocket and baby leaves scooped the Champion of the Deli award at The Grocer’s New Product and Packaging Awards 2023 this week.
The rocket and baby leaves are one of three new bagged salads in the Unbeleafable range, which is the first-ever salad range produced by a vertical farm to be sold in a major supermarket. As well as rocket and baby leaves, there are crisp green leaves and mixed baby leaves and the full range of three salads is available in selected Tesco stores across the UK.
The panel of judges said they were won over by the concept of Unbeleafable – a longer life ready-to-eat bagged salad, produced by a vertical farm and grown all year round in the UK. They applauded GrowUp Farms for their ambition to reduce the UK’s reliance on salad imports. They also said that they enjoyed the story, design and personality of this “fab innovation” and that the inclusion of rocket gave the salad a great peppery kick and “flavour hit”.
GrowUp Farms’ second salad brand, Fresh Leaf Co. red + green baby leaf salad, which is available to buy in selected Iceland stores, won the Silver Award in the Deli Category.
Both salads are grown without using pesticides and are not chlorine washed unlike other bagged salads; processes that degrade the quality of salad leaves. And for this reason, the leaves are tastier, crisper and stay fresher for longer than other ready-to-eat salads sold in UK supermarkets, which means Unbeleafable salad is less likely to be thrown away, helping people to cut down on food waste linked to bagged salads.
The salads are also longer lasting as they are grown and packed in Kent, thereby shortening the supply chain, and are grown using 94% less water than bagged salads produced from a field or greenhouse.
Reflecting on GrowUp Farms’ success at the awards, Kate Hofman, founder of GrowUp Farms, said: “It has been a fantastic year for the team at GrowUp Farms with the launch of Unbeleafable, the first salad range to be grown commercially in a vertical farm and stocked by a major supermarket, such as Tesco. Also, getting Fresh Leaf Co. on to the shelves in Iceland has been a great coup too.
“The Grocer New Product and Package Awards are the most respected awards in the food and drink industry, and all of the brands want to get their hands on a New Product gong – and we have two! It’s also a real boost to see that the judges were unanimously impressed by our ambition to play a role in reducing the UK’s reliance on salad imports. What a way to end the year.”
The Grocer editor-in-chief and event host Adam Leyland said: “Innovation is alive and well. There is some fantastic innovation in grocery FMCG and it makes me feel excited about the future.
“These awards are an incredibly important reminder to retailers – and shoppers – of the fantastic innovation in which brands big and small are engaged: enriching the lives of customers, who look to brands, as much as they do to the supermarkets, to innovate and excite them, while providing much-needed revenue, and differentiation, and quality, to the grocers.”
Unbeleafable rocket and baby leaves is part of the Unbeleafable salad (90g) range, which includes crisp green leaves and mixed baby leaves. All three products retail at £1.50 and are available at Tesco stores.
Fresh Leaf Co. red + green baby leaf salad (70g) retails at £1 and is available at selected Iceland and Food Warehouse stores.
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