Waitrose has committed to growing British salad leaves all year round using a new LED glasshouse in Worcestershire.
The development will “ensure a consistent UK supply of salad leaf crops” according to the retailer, following the recent shortages of salad from Spain.
Salad leaves will take between 35 to 40 days to grow in these conditions, compared with 16 weeks in a field, meaning the yield will be almost three times higher over the course of 12 months.
The 1.5 hectare glasshouse, which has been in development since 2014, uses energy production systems that run LED lighting, heating and watering in order to reduce the environmental impact. The greenhouse environment will also help to reduce insects, pests and disease and therefore decrease the use of pesticides.
The first salad to be produced in the glasshouse is the Waitrose British Chard and Salad Leaves bag, which is available now, and significantly earlier than the usual May-October season (rsp: £1.99/100g).
“This launch is a result of our long term planning and it’s great to see the first of our British salad bags hitting the shelves so early in the season,” said Nicola Waller, Waitrose head of fresh produce. “Developing this innovative new way of growing salad leaves means that we can source from the UK all year around, going even further in our commitment to British farming.”