At present, the technology behind indoor and vertical farming is an expensive proposition – making it difficult to predict how scalable it is in the near term. However, as the cost of that technology comes down, the business model will become more profitable over time. “I liken it to the GPS systems that are in all commercial farming equipment today,” says John. "At the onset, it was costly to outfit tractors and combines with GPS, but it built the foundation for new, more cost-effective technology. I think we'll see the same will happen here.”
Still, interest in these types of alternative growing techniques is increasing among consumers as well. “That’s partly driven the environment, but again – also by having access to fresher food that may be considered better tasting,” says John. As a result, people may be willing to pay more at the grocery store and in restaurants for indoor-grown food. Other consumer trends are also driving food and agriculture innovations, says John, particularly those geared toward providing potentially healthier options to animal protein.
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