Kyoto, Japan. — Spread Co., Ltd. (HQ: Kyoto, Japan; CEO: Shinji Inada, hereinafter “Spread”) succeeded in developing the technology for mass production of pesticide-free, high quality strawberries in vertical farms using artificial lighting.
This was made possible by applying Spread’s cultivation know-how to strawberry production.
The technologies include proprietary environmental control, stable indoor pollination and pesticide-free, clean cultivation.
Spread is considering the deployment of strawberry vertical farms in Japan and overseas, targeting North America, Europe and Asia.
Spread will also work on product design and a vertically farmed strawberry brand.
DEMAND AND CHALLENGES
Strawberries are globally in high demand, with both yields and production value on the rise. *1 In particular, Japanese strawberries are sought after, which is shown by the steady increase in exports. *2 However, strawberry production is known for heavy pesticide use, and significant food miles.
According to USDA’s data, on average, strawberries in USA carry the residue of 7.8 different pesticides, compared to 2.2 for other crops *3, while over 90% of all strawberries are produced in California. *4
Until now vertical farmers have struggled to ensure stable production, with challenges in indoor pollination and high cost.
Spread is able to achieve year-round stable harvest of pesticide-free strawberries indoors through proprietary environmental control technologies, and stable indoor pollination.
Applying them to large-scale production and adding automation will allow for a move towards accessible prices.
Spread’s strawberries are a part of larger “Global Food Infrastructure”
concept that imagines a world where everyone has a free access to fresh and nutritious produce.
CEO Shinji Inada comments “Mass production technology of delicious, pesticide-free strawberries is an important step towards a sustainable society where future generations can live with peace of mind.”
Recognizing the need to feed the Earth, Spread is widening its product range by working on grains, mushrooms, fruits and more.
*1 FAO Database “World’s Strawberry Yield and Gross Production Value” 2019
*2 JETRO “Nihonsan Shokuzai Pikkuappu Ichigo” [Highlighted Japanese
*3 EWG “Dirty Dozen Strawberries” 2020
*4 Samtani et al. “The Status and Future of the Strawberry Industry in the United States” American Society for Horticultural Science, 31 Jan 2019