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Inside vertical farm Kalera’s profitability journey

kalera rebrand

Indoor vertical farm Kalera continues to grow its volume and expand its product lines and sell through more retailers in more markets.

Its biggest goal is what leaders hope will separate Kalera from competitors. The company plans to have all its farms operate profitably by next year, said Aric Nissen, chief marketing officer.

aric nissen kalera
Aric Nissen

Kalera is headquartered in Orlando, FL, and has farms in Orlando, Atlanta, Houston, and Denver. In an August 29 interview, Nissen said Kalera plans to open a farm in St. Paul, MN, this fall, and expand to Seattle, Hawaii, Columbus, OH, and expand further in Orlando.

“We’re focusing on profitability, making them all profitable by next year,” he said.

Nissen said the strategy up to now has been investment, and growth of farms and product lines, but it is now also about doing it sustainably for the business.

Kalera feels it has the products that buyers and consumers demand.

“What buyers want is what we have,” he said. “Consumers want local, but they can’t get it year-round. The future is a place where you can get local at scale year-round.”

Nissen said a year ago, Kalera was supplying 300-400 retail stores with five SKUs. As of this summer, Kalera supplies 1,400-1,500 stores with more than twice as many SKUs, including salads, baby lettuce, butter lettuce and microgreens.

Mark Gagnon, senior vice president of retail sales, said it’s important to be a year-round product at retail so consumers can get in the habit of buying Kalera products.

mark gagnon kalera
Mark Gagnon

“Our place on the shelf is a complement to conventional product,” Gagnon said. “When we talk to retailers, they’re thirsty for innovative products. This gets them excited because it’s local, and local means fresh, and vertical CEA means clean.”

He said typical pricing at retail is $2.99 for head lettuce to $3.99-4.99 for loose leaf.

“We aim to be better than organic pricing with better than organic attributes,” Nissan said.

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services