CoolFarm in/store was chosen from over 1.500 innovative products worldwide to participate in K-STARTUP GRAND CHALLENGE 2017, in Seoul, and to do business development with South Korean government support. The entities that directly assist on the program are: i) NIPA (National IT Industry Promotion Agency); ii) the Ministry of SME´s and Startups; and iii) CNTTech Accelerator (a global foodTech platform Service provider with over 100 Korean B2B Food Franchise customers and over 96% market share on the foodtech platform industry. They have numerous overseas businesses in China, Singapore, Japan among others).

CoolFarm in/store is a closed and vertical system with a clean and climatized environment inside, perfect to grow premium seedlings, microgreens, leafy greens, herbs, and flowers. It uses 90% less water than common agriculture and it does not need pesticides or herbicides. It is modular, whereby each module starts with approximately 100 square meters of production area. Its modularity is applicable both vertically and horizontally, providing a quick return on investment. The system is intelligent, highly intuitive and its trays come to the operator by elevators when requested. It is ideal for growers, food distributors, grocery and supermarket chains, restaurants, hotels, cruises, research centers, medical centers, and communities. in/store provides transparency, traceability and minimizes the food waste.

in/store is a certified clean room with an antechamber including two alternate doors to prevent any type of contact between the plants and the outside, providing to producers a high quality and contamination-controlled environment to protect their premium crops. It also uses absolute air filters and a positive differential air pressure between the growing area and external environment to avoid fine particulates and pollution infiltration. Trays come to the operator when requested ensuring minimum contact between operators and the growing area. Plant boxes are available for a ready-to-sell action eliminating the seeding and harvesting labor, meaning no more time spent on seeding or harvesting! Boxes with seeds inside are available for a ready-to-sell action. Each box includes substrate and seeds. CoolFarm provides all possible varieties and mixes. Vases and substrate plugs (for example for lettuces) are also a choice. Using these boxes, operators don ́t need to waste time on seeding or harvesting and the living plants are always ready to be sold to final consumers, already clean and ready to eat. Consumers can now get transparency, traceability, freshness, nutrition values and flavor in their vegetables.

According to the Co-founder and President of CoolFarm South Korea — João Igor:

“This is a huge opportunity for CoolFarm because Asia consumes 75% of all vegetables globally and they need more efficient and sustainable ways to grow indoor, avoiding pesticides, herbicides, the pollution of the air, water and soils. It is also a fact that nowadays Koreans are facing “foodphobia” and organic or eco-farms do not reflect trust anymore, Koreans really want to know what they are eating and if it is really safe for them. Recent sad cases like fipronil egg contamination and the various ECO-Friendly Farms contaminations are increasing the concerns about food safety, traceability and transparency in Korea. That is why we noticed a 422% increase in fresh vegetables sales (Emart, Lotte Mart) compared to last year. Today, more than ever, Koreans demand fresh and healthy food, full traceability and environmental and sustainable friendly products.”

João Igor and Chong Kim, CoolFarm Director of Business Development and Marketing in South Korea, are traveling between Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong in order to import CoolFarm in/store from Portugal and export it from South Korea to all Asian countries. The interest is huge and started from big companies like Samsung and Jardines Group.

The team is already incorporating CoolFarm company in Seoul and building a team of 10 Korean employees for 2018, expanding their business fast in order to give an answer to the market demands and to provide the best solutions to grow indoors, taking in consideration people’s needs and the protection of the environment.

CoolFarm in/store gives to food suppliers the opportunity for them to engage with the millennials in the best way; control the vegetables all year round (regardless of the season) and also reduce the transportation costs and the waste; be more profitable and do good.

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Photo: João Igor (CoolFarm Co-Founder and President of CoolFarm South Korea), Jonathan Hwaseong Jeon (CNTTech Founder and CEO), Chong Kim (CoolFarm Director of Marketing and Business Development in Asia). Seoul, October 2017.