Unbeleafable, the first branded salad range to be launched by a UK vertical farm in a major supermarket group, has won a top accolade at the food and drink industry’s most prestigious awards.  

Rocket and baby leaves from Unbeleafable, scooped the Champion of the Deli award at The Grocer’s New Product and Packaging Awards 2023 this week.   

Rocket and baby leaves are one of three new bagged salads in the Unbeleafable range, which is the first-ever salad collection produced by a vertical farm to be sold in a major supermarket. As well as rocket and baby leaves, there are crisp green leaves and mixed baby leaves and the full range of three salads is available in selected Tesco stores across the UK. 

Unbeleafable is grown, harvested and packed by pioneering vertical farm GrowUp Farms in Kent, on a former brownfield site that GrowUp Farms acquired and turned into a vertical farm, Pepperness, which will be the equivalent of 1,000 acres of Grade 1 farmland. The vertical farm creates the perfect growing conditions for plants, which means Unbeleafable salad leaves are grown at Pepperness all year round.   

The panel of judges at The Grocer award said they were won over by the concept of Unbeleafable – a longer life ready-to-eat bagged salad, produced by a vertical farm and grown all year round in the UK. They applauded GrowUp Farms for their ambition to reduce the UK’s reliance on salad imports. They also said that they enjoyed the story, design and personality of this “fab innovation” and that the inclusion of rocket gave the salad a great peppery kick and “flavour hit”.  

GrowUp Farms launched Unbeleafable earlier this year on the back of new research, which found that 98% of consumers say they throw away bagged salad*.  The leaves are grown without using pesticides and are not chlorine washed, unlike other bagged salads; processes that degrade the quality of salad leaves. And for this reason, the leaves are tastier, crisper and stay fresher for longer than other ready-to-eat salads sold in UK supermarkets, which means Unbeleafable salad is less likely to be thrown away, helping people to cut down on food waste linked to bagged salads.  

The other reason Unbeleafable salad is longer-lasting is that it is grown and packed in Kent, thereby shortening the supply chain. It’s better for the environment and better value for shoppers.  

Unbeleafable is also grown using 94% less water than bagged salads produced from a field or greenhouse.  

GrowUp Farms’ second salad brand, Fresh Leaf Co. red + green baby leaf salad, which is available to buy in Iceland and is also grown at Pepperness, won the Silver Award in the Deli Category.  

*The research undertaken by GrowUp Farms also found that:  

  • 66% of people have bought bagged salad in the past year.  
  • 38% of people buy bagged salad because it is convenient.  
  • 45% of people say they are frustrated that they have to throw bagged salad away.  
  • 98% of people admit to throwing bagged salad away.  
  • 39% of people do this regularly, or all the time.  

Survey conducted by Attest into shopping habits and consumer attitudes on 12 July 2023 with 1,000 respondents. 

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