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Agricool to grow fruits and vegetables in containers
July 16, 2017, 3:33 pm

French startup Agricool is using containers to grow strawberries around big cities. The great thing about growing fruits in containers is that you can control everything. The company tweaks the temperature, humidity, CO2 level, color spectrum and day/night cycle to get the most out of the strawberries.

Agricool has a refrigerated warehouse outside of Paris where it tests all the factors that need to come together to deliver succulent strawberries. For instance, to find the perfect LEDs to provide the right shade of light for their strawberries, Agricool had to design its own LED lights to mimic sunlight. They even tried out different day/night period combination to find the perfect cycle needed to grow strawberries in the shortest time.

Agricool, which is putting up five such containers around Paris this summer eventually plans to outsource the production of the containers and put them around big cities globally.

A 250g pack of Agricool strawberries will cost nearly $5; this compares to around $8 for similar quantity of organic strawberries in France. The main reason why Agricool strawberries are cheaper is because you do not have to pay middlepersons. There is no importing company, transportation company, central purchasing or supermarket between the grower and consumer.

“Our challenge is to find an industrial model that lets us grow quickly from 1 to 1,000 containers,” said Agricool CEO Guillaume Fourdinier. In order to do this, Agricool could eventually become a franchise. The company would focus on research and development, containers and branding, while partners would manage those containers and sell fruits and vegetables.

While the strawberry market is huge, the company is also thinking about producing common vegetables and fruits, such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis and bell peppers. The same model can be used across all those vegetables. “We want to build the biggest brand for fruits and vegetables,” Mr. Fourdinier said. “No pesticide, a lot of flavor, no GMO, harvested and sold on the same day.”

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