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Growing Beyond the Hype: Controlled Environment Agriculture

Growing Beyond the Hype: Controlled Environment Agriculture

SUMMARY

A marriage of localization, technology, and potential for a post-logistics food system.


Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), including indoor production, is a small, but high-potential part of the future food system. CEA comes in many forms, each offering a unique element to improve supply chain resiliency, improve quality and safety, and fill a present gap in supply within the growing produce category. The value propositions of CEA have been recognized by food and ag stakeholders, with local and urban controlled production receiving increased private investment, emphasis in the 2018 Farm Bill, and interest from corporations across the supply chain.


In our new report, we share our prediction that the United States CEA market will grow 5x over the next 10 years, leading to ripple effects across the food system and more sustainable methods of production.  We believe the maturation of CEA will lead to differentiated, quality products, cost-competitive pricing and a more resilient, traceable and trustworthy supply chain.


Each of the report sections include analysis conducted by S2G, in the hopes of providing additional perspective to the growing CEA market.


  • The Opportunity:  The US faces a lack of high-quality, affordable produce driven by limitations in outdoor production and customer geography.  CEA shows promise to improve access to fresh produce while meeting retailer and consumer expectations.

  • Current State:  Greenhouse production is significant and growing, while the indoor market is early in its evolution.  To take significant share, indoor production must overcome existing limitations in cost, productivity and product offerings.  Investment in CEA has increased as start-ups mature surpassing $2.0B in 2020.

  • Future State: Maturation across CEA formats will ultimately cause a shift in approach to food design, logistics, and the fresh category, ultimately resulting in ripple effects through the food supply chain.  We explore the multiple paths to building a successful, long-term CEA platform.

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