Ikea Sweden will grow its own lettuce next year at two of its locations. In cooperation with waste processing company Bonbio, Ikea will begin cultivating in containers in Malmö and Helsingborg in the course of 2019. Part of the plant food will come from organic waste. The goal is for the lettuce to be served in Ikea restaurants.
"More than 25 percent of carbon dioxide emissions come from food. This project is in line with Ikea's ambition to find innovative and sustainable solutions to environmental problems," says Jonas Carlehed, Sustainability Manager at Ikea. Ikea Sweden already supplies organic waste to various recycling companies, including a biogas plant in Helsingborg from OX2 Bio, a sister company of Bonbios.
"Because we can regulate light, temperature, supply of water and food, we are unaffected by weather influences and we can guarantee a large quantity of fresh locally grown vegetables all year round," says Fredrik Olrog, director of Bonbio. Ultimately, the Ingka group, the largest franchisee of the Ikea brand, hopes to become self-sufficient in terms of lettuce and other leafy vegetables. "This way we avoid transport costs and we don't need soil or crop protection. The required electricity comes from our own wind power plants," says Catarina Englund, innovation manager at the Ingka group.
Bonbio will use a cultivation container of 30 m2 for this project, but will create a total cultivation area of 80 m2. They achieve this by growing vertically on four floors. Each floor has 45 gutters and there is room for 20 cultivation bins in each gutter. It's grown hydroponically, using only 10 percent of the amount of water needed for traditional cultivation. The climate parameters, such as light and carbon dioxide, are controlled by sensors. After five to six weeks, they expect about 18 kg of lettuce to be harvested per container.