Fresh on the table with Agrilution: Miele entry into future field of vertical farming
- Asset deal with Munich-based newcomer Agrilution
- Baby salads, herbs and micro-greens from a fully automatic Plantcube are unbeatably fresh, aromatic and rich in nutrients
- Elegant solution for kitchens meets needs of small families
Vertical Farming is a term used by futurologists to denote multi-level greenhouses providing a local and space-saving supply of fresh produce, for example in urban conurbations. With the Plantcube from Agrilution, this revolutionary concept is now finding its way into private households. Fully automatic, small-scale vertical farms are no larger than a standard refrigerator, offer perfect growing conditions combined with minimal effort – and are a design highlight in any kitchen or living room. With Agrilution's concept, Miele is further expanding its expertise in the field of the diversity of pleasures and healthy living.
With spring in the kitchen the whole year round, growing baby salads and herbs are showcased aesthetically, producing untold aromatic and nutritious ingredients: This makes Plantcubes from Agrilution a ground breaker in the market. In principle, they offer a self-contained eco system with simple seedmat liners, regulated lighting and a controlled micro-climate as well as automatic watering. This results in Plantcubes virtually controlling themselves. Harvested produce is free from pesticides and other contamination. The system is controlled via the Agrilution Cloud. A user-friendly app provides an insight into the growth process and instructions on maintenance and harvesting.
'An increasing number of people live in an urban setting yet strive to live consciously and claim their individual freedoms', says Maximilian Lössl, who founded Agrilution together with his partner Philipp Wagner. 'And our Plantcube brings fresher lettuce, herbs and micro-greens directly to your table'. Micro-greens is a collective term for seedlings which can be harvested within only a few days, adding rich flavour and nutrients. Currently, Agrilution offers a range of 25 different types of baby salads, herbs and micro-greens, including lesser known varieties such as red pak choi or wasabina mustard. The first crop can be harvested between one and three weeks after starting a Plantcube. After that, harvesting is possible on a daily basis, says Lössl. Only regulated and genetically unmodified seedlings are used. Food-safe seedmats, produced in Munich by Agrilution, are made entirely from upcycled fabric waste. Whereas a single head of field-grown lettuce requires up to 120 l of water to grow, the same volume of water is sufficient to supply an entire Plantcube for a full year. Plantcubes have been on the market since March 2019.
Company founders and employees to stay on board
The Miele Group's involvement in the business commenced immediately after insolvency filing on December 1. Insolvency proceedings were instigated by Agrilution GmbH after a scheduled round of financing failed to produce the anticipated results. In the course of these proceedings, the Miele Group acquired the brand, the know-how and further assets (in a so-called asset deal) which were then transferred to the newly founded Agrilution Systems GmbH. The 100% subsidiary of Miele Venture Capital GmbH will take over almost all employees on the basis of its takeover concept. 'I am pleased that we were successful in finding a tenable solution for Agrilution's forward-looking technology almost at the outset of insolvency proceedings', claimed liquidator Dr. Christian Gerloff from Gerloff Liebler Solicitors in Munich.
Directors of the new company are the Agrilution founders Maximilian Lössl and Philipp Wagner. At Miele, Agrilution is supported by Gernot Trettenbrein, Division Director Domestic Appliances of Miele Group and also Managing Director of Miele Venture Capital GmbH. 'With a view to creative cooking, a whole new world of flavours, wholesome cooking and urban lifestyles, Plantcubes offer consumers new and exciting opportunities', says Gernot Trettenbrein. Consequently, this concept is a perfect match for Miele. 'We believe in the idea, the product and the business model – and in long-term collaboration with the two founders and their team', Trettenbrein continues. The same applies to Agrilution who also feels it has found the perfect partner. Co-founder Philipp Wagner: 'Miele is a strong and dependable partner from whom our business plan will profit enormously, both technically and with respect to marketing'.
Company profile: Miele is the world's leading manufacturer of premium domestic appliances including cooking, baking and steam-cooking appliances, refrigeration products, coffee makers, dishwashers and laundry and floor care products. This line-up is augmented by dishwashers, washing machines and tumble dryers for commercial use as well as washer-disinfectors and sterilisers for use in medical and laboratory applications (Miele Professional). The Miele company, founded in 1899, has eight production plants in Germany as well as one plant each in Austria, the Czech Republic, China and Romania. These are joined by the two plants belonging to Miele's Italian medical technology subsidiary Steelco. Turnover in the 2018/19 business year was around € 4.16 bn, with a share of business outside Germany of approx. 71%. Miele is represented with its own sales subsidiaries and via importers in almost 100 countries. Throughout the world, the family-run enterprise, now in its fourth generation, employs a workforce of around 20,200, whereof 11,050 are employed in Germany. The company has its headquarters in Gütersloh in Westphalia.
Miele Venture Capital GmbH supports fledgling companies with promising ideas and technologies seeking a committed and financially strong partner. Thematically, Miele Venture Capital Co. Ltd focusses on creative solutions which are compatible with Miele products, services, value chains, business models and manufacturing processes. Forms of co-operation range from joint development projects and management support through to direct equity stakes.