Greene King, the country’s leading pub company and brewer, will be serving more sustainable, home-grown food thanks to a new partnership with a neighbouring supplier who specialises in vertical farming.
Fischer Farms, which established its first farm in Burton-on-Trent, uses the innovative vertical farming method to grow high-quality leafy greens and herbs. Thanks to the ground-breaking technology, crops can be grown all-year round in undercover racked trays which are stacked in tall layers. The bio-secure farm has a small land footprint, compared to traditional farming, and is fuelled by sustainable energy. With controlled light, temperature and irrigation, it simulates the best growing conditions resulting in high-quality crops.
Greene King has committed to a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (direct and indirect) by 2030 through Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) and a net zero target of 2040. This month fresh, vertically farmed basil will be introduced to menus in 1,600 Greene King managed pubs and this new supply will mean there is no need to import the herb from abroad, saving on air freight and food miles.
Left to right: Tristan Fischer, founder and CEO of Fischer Farms; Richard Smothers, Greene King chief financial officer; Paul Whiteley, Greene King purchasing director; James Armitage, marketing director at Sysco Speciality Group; Assad Malic, Greene King chief communications & sustainability officer; Faye Harbidge – Greene King food purchasing manager
"This is an exciting step on our journey to become a sustainable business and we are very pleased to be working with Fischer Farms. By using vertically farmed crops, we can offer our customers a UK supply of high-quality and fresh produce throughout year. We are starting with vertically farmed basil now and hope to add chives and further herbs and leafy greens such as lamb’s lettuce and watercress later this year." - Assad Malic, Greene King’s chief communications and sustainability officer
Further benefits of vertical farming are it is not affected by changes in the weather, it is disease free so there is little waste and there is no use of pesticides.
Tristan Fischer, Founder and CEO of Fischer Farms, said: “We are incredibly excited about our partnership with Greene King and see this as a great opportunity to make a positive change to the supply chain. As we prepare to open the doors of the world’s largest vertical farm in Norfolk, we are ready to support the food services industry meet consumer demand for responsibly sourced produce.”
Andy Pembroke, Managing Director of Fresh Direct, Greene King’s fruit and vegetable supplier, added: “With a shared vision of adopting a sustainable food supply chain, we are delighted that we can play our part in supporting Greene King with its exciting new venture. Fresh Direct is firmly focused on helping to build a sustainable, British farming industry, so it’s great to work with Greene King and Fischer Farms on this climate-friendly way of supplying some fantastic British produce.”