(Shipping Container) Farm to Table

by Lizzy Nguyen

How IKEA is Using Modified Shipping Containers to Grow Food for their Restaurants

Source: IKEA

Swedish furniture and homewares powerhouse, IKEA, is now growing lettuce in shipping containers.

Yes, you read that right.

At selected stores in its homeland, Sweden, IKEA has set up hydroponic shipping container farms that use only water, nutrients and LED lights (powered by renewable sources, of course) to grow a variety of herbs and lettuce. The retailer then plans to serve the produce in salads to customers in their restaurants. It’s all in a bid to reduce emissions and wastage, and highlights the global shift toward environmental sustainability considerations. Who can blame them? Shipping containers are extremely versatile and boast durability and longevity through the harshest of conditions, so whatever you choose to keep inside – in this case, mainly lettuce – will be safe and protected.

Company representatives say the hydroponic farm system uses 90% less water than traditional farming methods, and less than half of the area. On top of that, the farm requires no pesticides and no soil, and uses nutrients extracted from food waste to fuel crop growth. It’s all part of a system called ‘circular farming’ which, as the name suggests, describes a circular cycle – where food waste is used to grow fresh food which, if not eaten, becomes food waste that is used to grow more food, and so on.

You might still be wondering how an empty steel box can be used for farming. The secret is modification. The conventional shipping container has been modified to house a high-tech farming operation that fits over 3,600 lettuce heads across 4 different crop levels. Moreover, each store is able to tailor production to suit customer demand, further reducing wastage, and the ‘grown on site’ set-up means there are zero transport emissions. In the long term, IKEA’s goal is to “reduce more emissions than it creates” and this may be an important part of the puzzle.

Modifying a Shipping Container

So how can you make this work for you?

Purchasing a shipping container and modifying it to suit your needs is easy. Whether you want to develop a high tech small farm like IKEA or you want a more traditional conversion, like a granny flat or storage space, Container Traders can help. We have a range of new and used shipping containers available for both hire and sale. Whether you need 6ft, 8ft, 10ft, 20ft, 40ft or 45ft, we have stock across the country that is ready for delivery or modification now. Simply select your container and any modifications you wish to make – choose electrical fitout, plumbing allowances, insulation, lighting, shelving, sinks, taps, locks and so much more.

Get in touch with Container Traders today to find out how you can use a shipping container as a cost effective and environmentally friendly construction, storage, modification or transport solution. Our team is more than happy to help – contact us today!