January 19, 2022
Urbanization means that consumers live largely unaware of the process of growing farm-fresh vegetables, and yet experts predict increasing pressure on traditional agricultural models. These conditions inspired Infarm, a Berlin-based agricultural technology firm, to develop the InStore SVE IFA, a sophisticated, vending-style hydroponic growing system to cultivate herbs and salad greens within grocery stores.
This high-traffic, consumer-facing setting demands the highest focus on safety, demonstrated by the recent UL certification of Infarm’s vertical farming units to UL 8800, the Standard for Horticultural Lighting Equipment and Systems. This first-ever certification of a horticultural system helps Infarm gain credibility in an emerging marketplace and UL further our mission of working for a safer world.
Developing rigorous standards for a flourishing hydroponics market
In 2020, the hydroponics market was valued at $2.1 billion (USD) and it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20.7% by 2028. Manufacturers that take the time and resources to demonstrate the safety of their hydroponic products through certification to Underwriters Laboratories standards can help advance this industry and foster smoother market access.
Underwriters Laboratories published UL 8800, the Standard for Horticultural Lighting Equipment and Systems, in 2018 to guide the evaluation of horticultural lighting equipment and systems across critical factors, such as photobiological impacts on human health, wiring and connection methods, performance in growing environments and more.
“Horticultural lighting is one of the fastest growing segments for the lighting industry worldwide,” noted Dr. Hans Laschefski, UL’s business development manager for the lighting industry in Europe. He identified factors such as climate change and a rapidly growing population as crucial drivers of the need for standards in this area of the lighting market. “We are proud to support Infarm with the required Safety Certificate for this new horticultural lighting system … and look forward to continuing our work to find new solutions for new horticultural technology.”
Horticultural lighting manufacturers recognize the importance of certification
Guy Galonska, Infarm’s co-founder and chief technology officer, reflected on the novel Certification, highlighting the synergy between the two companies’ philosophies.
“Having our own high standards for quality assurance in hardware and software in place, the UL Certification proves our commitment to food and operational safety and quality, and we are proud to be the first hydroponic system worldwide certified by UL.”
Consumers, brands and retailers recognize the UL Mark and understand that certification demonstrates a commitment to safety and helps build both trust. Infarm currently has long-term agreements with major North American retailers. Soon, consumers can expect an expanded range of produce options beyond leafy greens, such as mushrooms, peppers, strawberries and tomatoes.
Learn more about horticultural lighting certification services
UL’s experts are pioneering analysis for emerging agricultural and horticultural technologies, such as LED lighting, luminaries, components and systems. Discover how obtaining certification for UL 8800 can help unlock new markets while helping advance the cause of global food-chain sustainability.
For more information, please visit UL Horticultural Lighting Testing and Certification.