Toshiba Corp. announced on Sept. 29 that it has begun production of vegetables at the Toshiba Clean Room Farm Yokosuka, a plant factory in Yokosuka, Kanagawa prefecture. Shipment of the first crop is scheduled for the end of October.
Located in a formerly idle facility, Toshiba’s closed-type plant factory uses state-of-the-art technology to raise crops and operates under almost aseptic conditions.
Toshiba aims for annual output of three million bags (one bag is equivalent to a head of lettuce) of leaf lettuce, baby leaf greens, spinach, mizuna and herbs per, and targets annual sales target of 300 million yen.
Plant factories grow vegetables in close to sterile conditions in almost germ-free cleanrooms. Minimizing the entry of germs and the damage that they can do considerably extends the freshness and shelf-life of vegetables, a major concern for retailers of cut vegetables and salads. Toshiba will promote sales to supermarkets, convenience stores, delicatessens and restaurants.
The factory is equipped with a wide range of technologies and know-how from across Toshiba Group, including fluorescent lighting with an output wavelength optimized for vegetable growth; air-conditioning systems that maintain constant temperature and moisture level; remote monitoring systems to track growth; and sterilization systems for packing materials. The production management system is based on that utilized for semiconductor device production.
In order to increase sales in this new business, Toshiba is also considering construction of a large-scale plant factory outside Japan.
Toshiba Group is also promoting “New Concept Innovation” in order to create new value by combining the Group’s wide-ranging technologies. The aim is to offer unique products and services and to develop new sales channels to further strengthen business operations.