HortiBiz - December 2016 - page 8

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In the Dutch city of Dronten, Staay Food Group builds an all-in-one city farming hall, vegetable processor and cooling facility. At this high tech production location
of its subsidiary Fresh-Care Convenience, various innovative techniques are being used. The company works with specially designed led lighting systems and the
factory installed the world’s largest CO2-refrigeration system. ‘The fact that production and processing are taking place under one single roof and it all happens
in a hyper modern and environmentally friendly way, makes this project unique.’
The world’s largest
CO
2
-refrigeration project
Staay Food Group has been a specialist
in the worldwide production and
processing of vegetables and fruit
since 1946. The company employs
more than 3000 people all over the
world of which 600 in the Netherlands.
When it comes to sales and distribution
the focus lies on Europe, but sales
in other countries are on the rise.
Innovation is one of the most important
pillars of the company. At this moment
the company is building a state-of-
the-art, 28.000 m2 facility in the city
of Dronten for its subsidiary Fresh-
Care Convenience. This company cuts
and processes potatoes, vegetables
and fruit into fresh products that are
being sold every day to supermarket
chains throughout Europe. ‘The current
factory of Fresh-Care Convenience in
Dronten, is too small to deal with the
increasing demand, among others
from Germany,’ says Niels Vlasbom of
Staay Food Group when explaining
the expansion. ‘Our clients are also
imposing more and stricter demands
with regards to food safety, a logical
development. To meet all these
requirement we want to be able to
fully control the production. That is
not possible outside and in the soil.
Because then you always are dealing
with insects and the weather, especially
now the climate is getting more
extreme because of global warming.
A poor harvest because of abundant
rainfall or a little fly in your lettuce are
issues we cannot explain anymore to
today’s buyers and consumers. More
importantly: in such cases we cannot
guarantee the food safety and hygiene
of our products.’
Under one roof
These developments convinced Staay
Food Group they had to look for an
alternative solution: a production
process that can be completely
controlled and offers more guarantees.
‘And that is how we soon got to city
farming or vertical farming. Because
the production takes place in climate
cells and with led lighting systems, we
can imitate nature in optima forma,
using and adjusting refrigeration,
light, humidity and nutritional values.
In other words, we can ensure more
stable production circumstances and
thus guarantee a constant and optimal
product quality. In addition, because
we can increase our production
‘vertically’, each square meter is
providing a better return. I expect that
indoor farming is becoming standard
within the next ten to fifteen years.
Also because organic production is
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