BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Walmart and Plenty Unlimited announced Tuesday, Jan. 25, Walmart signed an agreement to invest in Plenty, a vertical farming company, becoming the first large U.S. retailer to invest in vertical farming.
Walmart said the equity investment is part of a broader strategic partnership to utilize Plenty’s indoor vertical farming technology, which would deliver fresh produce to its stores.
A press release said the two companies will work collaboratively to create a new, market-leading product category in vertical farming by delivering those quality items to Walmart customers, year-round.
The long-term commercial agreement allows the Bentonville retailer to source Plenty’s leafy greens for all its California stores from Plenty’s Compton farm beginning later this year.
At Walmart, we are focused on identifying and investing in innovative food solutions to bring our customers the freshest, highest-quality foods at the best prices. We believe Plenty is a proven leader in a new era of agriculture, one that offers pesticide-free, peak-flavor produce to shoppers every day of the year. This partnership not only accelerates agricultural innovation, but reinforces our commitment to sustainability, by delivering a new category of fresh that is good for people and the planet.Charles Redfield, chief merchandising officer, Walmart U.S.
According to the release, Plenty’s indoor farming architecture differs from greenhouses and other indoor farms by combining engineering, software and sustainable crop science to grow multiple crops on one platform at significant speeds.
“Plenty’s unique farming system unlocks industry-leading crop versatility and unit economics by enabling indoor growing year round,” said Arama Kukutai, Plenty CEO. “Our farms can be sited anywhere allowing us to put fresh fruits, greens and vegetables on shelf at all times, at speed, for maximum freshness. As a long-time market leader in retail innovation, Walmart is an ideal partner to test and scale access to our quality produce for their customers. This is a game-changer for the agritech industry.”
The investment will be part of Walmart’s $400 million Series E funding round subject to a regulatory approval, the release noted.