Source: Waitrose

JLP is in talks with bioengineering start-up LettUs Grow 

Waitrose could soon be growing salad in stores for customers to pick, instead of buying it packaged in plastic.

The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) is in talks with bioengineering start-up LettUs Grow about introducing in-store allotments using soil-free aeroponic vegetable growing cylinders.

Plants are grown with their roots inside the cylinders. and sprayed with a nutrient-rich mist to promote year-round growth.

LettUs Grow claims the cylinders use up to 95% less water than traditional agriculture.

The technology could be implemented in 2019 or 2020 through JLP’s JLab start-up programme.

“Shops simply have no option but to inspire and delight customers - offering both fantastic products and personalised seamless experiences,” said John Lewis customer experience director Peter Cross. “We believe the dynamic new businesses selected for further discussions with JLab will help us continue to stretch, shape and deliver together for our customers in the future.”

Jack Farmer, co-founder of LettUs Grow told BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme: “With the rise of Amazon and other online retailers, the retail experience has to become much more experiential.” He said the cylinders would allow customers to “really re-engage with the food system and the provenance of food”.