Life Sciences Report

The vertical farming market will exceed $1 billion by 2030.

Vertical Farming: 2020-2030

Technologies, markets and forecasts in indoor vertical growing


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Vertical farming is the practice of growing plants indoors under fully controlled environmental conditions in many stacked layers, using artificial lighting instead of relying on the sun. By tuning the growing environment to the exact needs of the plant and using soil-free growing techniques, vertical farming can achieve yields hundreds of times higher than conventional agriculture, 365 days a year and without requiring pesticides.
 
Supporters of vertical farming claim it could revolutionise global food production, practically eliminating food miles by enabling crop growth right next to urban population centres. At the moment, fruit and vegetables often travel thousands of miles to reach consumers, losing freshness and quality along the way and increasing the risk of contamination. This has been a particular issue in the US, where recent E. coli outbreaks from contaminated produce have led to hundreds of hospitalisations in recent years. By disrupting the highly centralised model for fresh produce, vertical farming could help overcome these issues, while capitalising on the broader consumer trend towards local production.
 
Investors are responding enthusiastically, with the sector raising over $1 billion in funding since 2015. High profile investments include New Jersey-based start-up AeroFarms raising $100 million in 2019 to expand its aeroponic growing facilities, and Californian start-up Plenty raising $200 million in 2017 in a funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund, along with backers including Jeff Bezos and Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt. Across the Pacific, the industry is already well-established – in Japan there are over 200 vertical farms currently operating, with industry leader Spread Co. Ltd. producing 30,000 heads of lettuce every day in its highly automated Techno Farm Keihanna plant.
 
However, despite this optimistic picture, the industry is facing challenges. The sector is littered with bankruptcies – PodPonics and FarmedHere, once operators of the largest vertical farms in the world, closed their doors in 2016 after struggling with spiralling power and labour costs and organisational complexities. Maintaining a controlled environment 24/7 is extremely power-intensive and the everyday running of a vertical farm can require a lot of manual labour, often in environments not designed for the task of growing crops, such as inside shipping containers. Vertical farm operators often end up facing a difficult decision between the high start-up costs of automated, high-tech facilities and the high operating costs of more manual facilities with less advanced climate controls.
 
Nevertheless, enthusiasm remains high and technology is helping to decrease the costs of vertical farming and make large scale urban food production a reality. This report provides an in-depth discussion of the key technology areas that are helping to make vertical farming a reality, identifying areas that could be key to the success of the industry, such as:
• Growing methods
• LEDs and lighting
• Environmental controls
• Sensors
• Automation
• Container farming
 
Based on interviews with 16 major players throughout the sector, this report draws insight into the state of the vertical farming industry, discussing the challenges that the industry faces and the factors involved in creating a successful vertical farming company. The report considers the economics of vertical farming in comparison to conventional agriculture and identifies opportunities for players in the industry and the wider value chain.
 
 
The report goes on to describe the value chain for vertical farming, as well as business models and how the markets for vertical farming change across geographies, contrasting the rapidly emerging markets in North America with the established markets in East Asia. The report then forecasts the future of the vertical farming industry, predicting that it will rise from its current value of $709 million to $1.5 billion by 2030.
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Table of Contents
1.EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1.1.Report overview
1.2.The problem with agriculture
1.3.Is vertical farming the answer?
1.4.Components of a vertical farm
1.5.Vertical farming vs other production methods
1.6.The argument against vertical farming
1.7.The argument for vertical farming
1.8.Investments in vertical farming
1.9.What crops do vertical farms grow?
1.10.Vertically farmed produce has a cost premium
1.11.Production and running costs (OPEX) of a vertical farm
1.12.Consumer perceptions with geography
1.13.The vertical farming value chain
1.14.The three main business models in vertical farming
1.15.Vertically farmed produce: global forecast
1.16.Vertically farmed produce forecast: North America
1.17.Vertically farmed produce forecast: Europe
1.18.Vertically farmed produce forecast: Japan
1.19.Vertically farmed produce forecast: China
2.INTRODUCTION
2.1.What is vertical farming?
2.1.1.The problem with agriculture
2.1.2.Is vertical farming the answer?
2.1.3.How does vertical farming work?
2.1.4.The case for vertical farming
2.1.5.Drivers of vertical farming
2.1.6.Challenges in vertical farming
2.1.7.What crops can vertical farming grow?
2.1.8.Vertical farming vs other production methods
2.1.9.The definition of a vertical farm for this report
2.2.Components of a vertical farm
2.2.1.1.) Structures
2.2.2.2.) Growing systems
2.2.3.3.) Lighting
2.2.4.4.) Nutrient supply: Hydroponics
2.2.5.4.) Nutrient supply: Aeroponics
2.2.6.4.) Nutrient supply: Aquaponics
2.2.7.5.) Air conditioning
2.2.8.6.) CO2 supply unit
2.2.9.7.) Environmental control units
3.TECHNOLOGIES IN VERTICAL FARMING
3.1.Growing techniques
3.1.1.Hydroponics vs aeroponics
3.1.2.Aeroponics technologies
3.1.3.AeroFarms
3.1.4.How does AeroFarms' system work?
3.1.5.LettUs Grow
3.1.6.The trouble with aquaponics
3.1.7.Reasons why aquaponics is often unprofitable
3.1.8.Seed & Roe
3.1.9.Vertical growth walls and towers
3.1.10.Are vertical growth towers more efficient?
3.1.11.Plenty
3.2.LEDs and lighting
3.2.1.LEDs and photosynthesis
3.2.2.Photosynthesis and yield
3.2.3.Maximising photosynthesis
3.2.4.Light "recipes" for indoor crop growth
3.2.5.Light recipe has a major impact on the crop
3.2.6.Choosing the right LEDs for a vertical farm
3.2.7.Choosing LED grow lights for vertical farming
3.2.8.Signify
3.2.9.Signify GreenPower production module specifications
3.2.10.LumiGrow
3.2.11.Heliospectra
3.2.12.Heliospectra's product families
3.2.13.Improving LED technology and vertical farming
3.2.14.Sherpa Space
3.3.Controlling the environment
3.3.1.Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
3.3.2.Factors in HVAC systems
3.3.3.The importance of sensors and data
3.3.4.Where can sensors be used in a vertical farm?
3.3.5.CO2 sensors are essential for vertical farms
3.3.6.The importance of light sensors
3.3.7.Light sensors - complete spectrum vs. multispectral
3.3.8.Smart sensor companies in horticulture
3.3.9.Aranet
3.3.10.IDTechEx reports on sensors
3.4.Automation in vertical farming
3.4.1.Automation is not yet widespread in vertical farming
3.4.2.Technology adoption in vertical farming
3.4.3.Automation: environmental control
3.4.4.Autogrow
3.4.5.Priva
3.4.6.Automation: nutrient control
3.4.7.Imagination Garden
3.4.8.Automation: light recipes
3.4.9.Bowery Farming
3.4.10.Taking automation beyond level 2
3.4.11.Logiqs
3.4.12.Is automation worth it?
3.4.13.Intelligent Growth Solutions
3.4.14.SananBio US
3.4.15.What could automation provide?
3.4.16.Automation and robotics in conventional agriculture
3.4.17.Vertical farming facilities: better to go big or small?
3.4.18.Jones Food Company
3.5.Pests and diseases
3.5.1.Pest management
3.5.2.Common diseases in vertical farming
3.6.Container farming
3.6.1.Freight Farms
3.6.2.Advantages of container farming
3.6.3.Disadvantages of container farming
3.6.4.Vertical Crop Consultants
3.6.5.Is container farming a good idea?
3.6.6.A comparison of container farms
3.6.7.Cubic Farm Systems Corp.
3.6.8.Urban Crop Solutions
4.CHALLENGES IN VERTICAL FARMING
4.1.The risks of vertical farming
4.2.Vertical farming: ambitious expectations
4.3.PodPonics
4.4.FarmedHere
4.5.The argument against vertical farming
4.6.The argument for vertical farming
4.7.Vertical farming's struggle with profitability
4.8.Vertical farming's high start-up costs
4.9.Can vertical farming save cropland?
4.10.The cost of labour
4.11.The cost of power
4.12.Vertical farming: expectations vs reality
4.13.Is all well at Plenty?
4.14.The importance of location
4.15.Growing Underground
4.16.To succeed, vertical farms must be productive
4.17.Marketing and pricing products
4.18.Vertical farming: the food industry, not the tech industry
4.19.The importance of company direction
4.20.Crop One Holdings
4.21.The need for collaboration
4.22.80 Acres
4.23.Infinite Acres
5.THE ECONOMICS OF VERTICAL FARMING
5.1.Vertical farming vs. conventional agriculture
5.1.1.What crops do vertical farms grow?
5.1.2.Vertically farmed produce has a cost premium
5.1.3.The price of non-organic vegetables in the USA
5.1.4.The retail price of iceberg lettuce in the USA
5.1.5.How productive is an average farm?
5.1.6.The costs of growing romaine lettuce on a farm
5.1.7.The impact of fuel prices on fruit and vegetable prices
5.1.8.Could rising oil prices make vertical farming economical?
5.1.9.Vertical farming and the fruit and vegetable supply chain
5.1.10.A breakdown of food dollars: fresh vegetables at retail
5.1.11.Pricing vertically farmed crops: the Starbucks approach?
5.1.12.Vertical farmed produce vs. organic produce
5.1.13.Beyond iceberg lettuce
5.1.14.Cannabis
5.2.The benefits of local production
5.2.1.The growing market for local food
5.2.2.How much will consumers pay for local food?
5.2.3.Will consumers pay more for vertically farmed produce?
5.2.4.Organic certification: worth the investment?
5.2.5.Presenting vertically farmed produce
5.2.6.Miravel
5.2.7.The value of growing at home
5.2.8.The economics and sustainability of food miles
5.2.9.Food miles are a poor measure of sustainability
5.2.10.Is local production economically beneficial?
5.3.Running costs of a vertical farm
5.3.1.Production and running costs (OPEX) of a vertical farm
5.3.2.The power requirements for vertical farming
5.3.3.The lighting costs of different crops
5.3.4.Could photovoltaics improve the energy costs?
5.3.5.LED costs vary by colour
5.3.6.Is vertical farming sustainable?
6.MARKETS
6.1.Business models in vertical farming
6.1.1.The vertical farming value chain
6.1.2.The three main business models in vertical farming
6.1.3.Turnkey farm solutions: Infarm
6.1.4.Turnkey farm solutions: Agrilution
6.1.5.AeroFarms: the Amazon model?
6.1.6.Investments in vertical farming
6.2.Vertical farming across geographies
6.2.1.Consumer perceptions with geography
6.2.2.Vertical farming in the USA
6.2.3.Square Roots
6.2.4.Food recalls in the USA
6.2.5.Vertical farming in Europe
6.2.6.The state of farming in Europe
6.2.7.The Netherlands leads the world in greenhouse growing
6.2.8.Dutch agritech - implications for vertical farming
6.2.9.Agricool
6.2.10.Vertical farming in the Middle East
6.2.11.Badia Farms
6.2.12.Vertical farming in Japan
6.2.13.Vertical farming in Japan - top 20 producers
6.2.14.Spread Co., Ltd.
6.2.15.Spread Co., Ltd. Production facilities
6.2.16.Vertical farming in China
6.2.17.Is China ready for vertical farming?
6.2.18.Fujian Sanan Sino-Science Photobiotech Co., Ltd
6.2.19.Singapore: ripe for vertical farming?
6.2.20.Urban farming in Singapore
6.2.21.Sustenir
7.FORECASTS
7.1.Market outlook
7.1.1.Vertical farming: outlook
7.2.Vertically farmed produce
7.2.1.Organic fruit and vegetable sales in the USA and EU+UK
7.2.2.Vertically farmed produce: global forecast
7.2.3.Vertically farmed produce forecast: North America
7.2.4.Vertically farmed produce forecast: Europe
7.2.5.Vertically farmed produce forecast: Japan
7.2.6.Vertically farmed produce forecast: China
7.3.Vertical farming hardware
7.4.Container farming forecast (global)
7.5.Turnkey vertical farming hardware forecast (not container farms, global)
8.COMPANY PROFILES
8.1.LettUs Grow
8.2.Spread Co. Ltd.
8.3.Miravel
8.4.Square Roots
8.5.80 Acres
8.6.Signify
8.7.Imagination Garden Inc.
8.8.Autogrow
8.9.n.Thing
8.10.Sherpa Space
8.11.Bowery Farming
8.12.Intelligent Growth Solutions
8.13.Agrilution
8.14.Infarm
8.15.Growing Underground
8.16.Plenty
8.17.CubicFarm Systems Corp
8.18.SananBio US
8.19.Freight Farms
8.20.Infinite Acres
8.21.Priva
8.22.AeroFarms
8.23.Crop One Holdings
8.24.Vertical Crop Consultants
8.25.Badia Farms
8.26.Urban Crop Solutions
8.27.Jones Food Company
 

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