Will Howard GrowUp Farms

Will Howard joined GrowUp Farms last month from Ella’s Kitchen

Vertical farm pioneer GrowUp Farms has hired former Ella’s Kitchen boss Will Howard as UK MD and chief commercial officer.

Howard, who joined in February, will oversee a scaling up as the business grows to sell more than one million bags of salad a week.

He takes on the new role after leaving Ella’s Kitchen, where he spent 10 years as commercial director, chief operating officer and finally as MD, in January. Howard also worked at Innocent prior to joining the baby food brand, as well as PepsiCo and L’Oreal.

GrowUp CEO Marcus Whately said he was “thrilled” to have Howard on board.

“He has nearly 20 years’ experience with major food and drink brands, including two B Corps,” he added. “He absolutely shares our passion for marrying sustainability in food production with creating compelling brands. He is committed to business as a force for good and will be a great addition to our team.

“We have always been a pioneering organisation, but we can’t rest on our laurels and Will gives us the injection of experience and energy which will ensure we continue to grow great tasting products that will help us grow the category.”

Founded by Kate Hofman and Tom Webster in 2013, the B Corp certified business claims to be the first vertical farm to supply major UK supermarkets with bagged salad brands following the launch of Fresh Leaf Co into Iceland and Spar and the Unbeleafable range into Tesco.

When the farm in Kent is fully operational, the site will be able to produce more than one million bags per week, equating to between 2.5% and 3% of the UK’s salad supply.

“I am extremely excited to be joining the team at GrowUp Farms, a vertical farm which is doing things differently, even compared to other vertical farms, and leading the way in how companies provide the best, most sustainable food for all, without compromising on taste,” Howard said.

“With a clear purpose to grow ‘better food for all’, a brilliant team and values to help guide how we get there, it won’t be long before we are growing nearly 1.4 million bags of salad per week.

“My two daughters, aged nine and 12, are thrilled about my new role at GrowUp Farms. They love snacking on the salad leaves straight from the bag and are probably on their way to becoming our top consumers.”