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'New' Crops Growing In 2023: Here Are 3 Types Of Plants Companies Are Actively Working On

Indoor Farming, Cosmetics and Protein Crop Innovations: Here Are Some Of The 'New' Crops Being Grown In Indoor Farming.

As we close in 2023, we decided to look at ‘New’ crops increasingly grown in indoor farming. Plant tissue culture, a groundbreaking method, enables plant cells, tissues, or organs to grow in sterile, nutrient-rich environments, which is crucial for cloning plants, conserving rare species, and adapting agriculture to climate change. While facing challenges like contamination and genetic variability, this technology is pivotal in advancing plant research and production.

Simultaneously, protein crops and cutting-edge projects like the University of York's amaranth cultivation and the Veganz Group AG's venture in Dubai utilize vertical farming to revolutionize protein production. These developments in plant tissue culture, indoor fruit tree cultivation, and protein crop farming are reshaping agricultural practices and contributing significantly to environmental conservation and sustainability.

Plant Tissue Culture: Revolutionizing Agriculture and Conservation

Plant tissue culture is a modern botany method that allows the growth of plant cells, tissues, or organs in a controlled, sterile environment. It plays a crucial role in cloning, generating disease-free plants, preserving endangered species, and adapting agricultural practices to climate change. The process involves selecting a small piece of plant tissue, sterilizing it, and nurturing it in a growth medium. Despite its advantages, plant tissue culture faces potential contamination and genetic variability. The global market for plant tissue culture was valued at $382.305 million in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.5% between 2021 and 2030, reaching $895.006 million, according to Allied Market Research.

SBW do Brasil: A Pioneer in Tissue Culture

With a pioneering spirit, SBW do Brasil has redefined plant growth through tissue culture. Specializing in various crops and plants, their 30-year journey in multi-layer propagation has culminated in a unique bioreactor cultivation method. Their technique, refined over five years, sidesteps traditional pitfalls by leveraging in-house technology for immaculate contamination control. Their bioreactors, where high sugar concentrations and minimal light ingeniously replace sunlight's role, nurture various fruit and energy crops. This approach brings healthier, more robust specimens, particularly in tissue cultures for fruit crops like bananas, blueberries, pineapple, and papaya, and energy crops like eucalyptus, sugarcane, agave, bamboo, and oil palm.

NuPlant's SmartClone System: Automation in Tissue Culture

NuPlant's SmartClone, a leap forward in tissue culture technology, automates propagation with precision robotics. This innovative system streamlines production and addresses the age-old challenges of uniformity and robustness in clone quality. Tailoring conditions for each growth phase, SmartClone eclipses conventional methods, especially in producing grapevines, potatoes, berries, and hemp. Demonstrating significant cost savings and improved plant health compared to traditional tissue culture methods, SmartClone promises stronger, more uniform plantlets, reduced labor, and lower costs per plant.

Fairplant and ViVi's Innovative Collaboration

Fairplant and ViVi have revolutionized the blueberry tissue culture market in a collaborative stroke of genius. Their inventive approach, transforming 40ft shipping containers into a fully functioning micropropagation laboratory, is a testament to the versatility and adaptability of tissue culture technology. This turnkey solution, swiftly operational and remarkably cost-efficient, does not just signify a step forward in micropropagation methods; it represents a potential paradigm shift. Making high-quality plant tissue culture accessible and scalable, this lab can produce over one million micropropagated blueberry plants annually, along with raspberries, fruit trees, and other small fruit plants.

Plant-Based Protein in Indoor Farming: An Emerging Market with Promising Growth

Indoor farming, an innovative approach to agriculture, is increasingly becoming a focal point for producing plant-based proteins. This farming method, which includes controlled-environment agriculture (CEA), hydroponics, and vertical farming, offers a sustainable and efficient way to cultivate protein-rich plants such as legumes, quinoa, and soy. These techniques address the growing demand for plant-based proteins driven by health, environmental, and ethical considerations.

Current Market Size and Growth Trajectory

The global protein market was valued at over 27.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 and is expected to reach around 47.4 billion U.S. dollars by 2030, according to Statista.

The plant-based food market includes food items made of soy, wheat, and vegetables, which can be expressed differently. Milk alternatives are the most significant driver of plant-based food sales in the United States. In 2019, milk alternatives generated more sales than all other plant-based food categories, such as meat, cheese, and yogurt. The plant-based food market in the United States was reportedly worth 5 billion U.S. dollars that year and saw significantly higher growth than all other food retailers. In Europe and Russia, the plant-based food market was projected to double its value between 2013 and 2022 to almost 15 billion Euros.

The plant-based food market has seen a significant increase in global demand in recent years due to changing dietary preferences among Western consumers. American and European consumers seek plant-based food for a healthier diet, less dependence on animal products, and a more sustainable lifestyle. In 2019, more than half of respondents in the United States had tried a plant-based "meat." However, not all consumers will replace meat entirely with plant-based alternatives.

Pioneering Projects and Technological Breakthroughs

Plant-based protein production is witnessing remarkable advancements through pioneering projects and collaborations. At the forefront, scientists from the University of York and various partners have embarked on a groundbreaking two-year project, funded by Innovate UK, to harness vertical farming for cultivating amaranth. This underexploited plant protein source, rich in health benefits and antioxidants, offers a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional protein crops like soy and peas.

The project aims to lessen the UK's dependence on imported plant proteins, fostering economic growth, enhancing environmental sustainability, and improving consumer health. Cultivating amaranth in indoor vertical farming facilities is a strategic move to meet the UK's burgeoning demand for vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian diets. This farming method enables consistent, year-round production, significantly reducing carbon emissions by localizing growth at food manufacturing sites and minimizing transportation needs.

Simultaneously, a notable initiative by the Veganz Group AG and VeGreat LLC is set to revolutionize the production of protein crops in Dubai, UAE, as reported by Vegconomist. The joint venture, OrbiFarm, leverages cutting-edge vertical farming technologies, OrbiPlan and OrbiLoop, acquired from the Fraunhofer Institute IME. These technologies are game-changers in the industrial production of food and protein crops, allowing for highly efficient cultivation under controlled indoor conditions worldwide. OrbiFarm, as a technology platform, is designed to establish and manage large-scale indoor farming facilities dedicated to protein crop production.

VeGreat LLC, owning a majority stake in this venture, is tasked with attracting investments and industry expertise to develop vertical farms in the UAE and the USA. Veganz Group AG, contributing its proficiency in plant-based protein processing, will utilize these farms to create innovative meat and fish alternatives. This joint venture is a strategic move towards achieving food security, market independence, and stable pricing for essential protein sources, particularly in regions heavily reliant on food imports. These projects are emblematic of the exciting and transformative era in plant-based protein production, paving the way for sustainable, efficient, and health-conscious food systems.

Role of Technological Innovations

Technology plays a crucial role in advancing plant-based protein production in indoor farms. Cutting-edge innovations like LED grow lights, climate control systems, and automated nutrient delivery systems make it possible to grow protein-rich crops more efficiently and with less environmental impact than traditional farming methods. These technologies ensure optimal growing conditions, leading to higher yields and consistent quality.

Cosmetics: The Rise Of Plant-Based Ingredients

Market Impact The global vegan cosmetics market is experiencing a robust growth trajectory, as highlighted by a Statista report. In 2018, the market was valued at $13.56 billion, and it's projected to expand at an annual growth rate of 6.3% to reach an impressive $20.8 billion by 2025. This surge reflects a significant shift in consumer preferences towards ethical, animal-free products. The increasing awareness about animal welfare and the environmental impact of traditional cosmetics is driving this trend. As a result, more cosmetic brands are reformulating their products and adopting vegan principles to meet this growing demand, signaling a transformative period in the beauty industry's history.

Robertet Partners with Interstellar Lab to Innovate Plant-Based Natural Ingredients Production

Robertet, a leader in natural raw materials, has partnered with Interstellar Lab, a biotech startup, to innovate in the natural ingredients sector. This collaboration includes the acquisition of a BioPod, an AI-controlled bio farm developed by Interstellar Lab, designed to advance agronomic research. The BioPod, an 11m long, 5m wide, and 6m high deployable greenhouse, offers a highly controlled growing space of up to 100 m².

It operates in a semi-closed circuit, optimizing the water cycle and capturing ambient CO2, thereby reducing environmental impact. This technology aligns with Robertet's commitment to sustainability and aims to revolutionize the fragrance, flavors, and well-being industries. Interstellar Lab, established in 2018, has partnerships with NASA and ESA, focusing on plant cultivation and molecular composition optimization on Earth and space.

L'Oréal and Interstellar Lab: Pioneering Sustainable Cosmetics

L'Oréal-Interstellar Lab Partnership The collaboration between L'Oréal and Interstellar Lab is a groundbreaking initiative in biotech and beauty. By integrating Interstellar Lab's BioPod technology, this partnership emphasizes sustainable and responsible cosmetic production. The BioPod, a hallmark of AI-controlled biofarming, significantly reduces water usage and leverages atmospheric CO2, presenting a paradigm shift in agricultural practices.

L'Oréal's Commitment to Sustainability L'Oréal's "For the Future" initiative, striving for 95% renewable ingredient sourcing by 2030, aligns seamlessly with the BioPod's capabilities. This venture is poised to revolutionize beauty product creation, underscoring environmental responsibility and innovation.

Ulé: Merging Nature and Technology in Skincare

Innovative Pure 3otany™ Skincare Ulé, with its patent-pending Pure 3otany™ skincare line, sets a new standard in botanical cosmetics. Developed in collaboration with Shiseido European Innovation Center, this line features a unique botanical formula, harnessing the power of ayurvedic plants grown in vertical farms.

Sustainable Farming Techniques Ulé's dedication to sustainable technology is evident in its vertical farming methods. With a specialized facility near Paris, the brand exemplifies the integration of nature and advanced farming technologies. The focus on locally sourced organic ingredients further strengthens Ulé's position in the market.

BAZ&CO: Basil in Men's Skincare

Innovative Use of Basil BAZ&CO, a pioneer in vertical farming in the UK, introduces a unique concept by incorporating basil in men's skincare products. The choice of basil, known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, aligns with a global trend towards sustainable wellness.

Sustainable and Organic Standards Following European organic standards, BAZ&CO emphasizes local sourcing and minimizes environmental impact. Despite distribution challenges, the product line showcases a commitment to sustainable, organic ingredients, influencing future trends in cosmetics.

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