Agrilution’s Plantcubes look like wine fridges that are meant to be built directly into home kitchens. The automated systems regulate the lighting, climate, and water levels plants receive, all key parts of delivering the right “recipe” of nutrients to crops grown in vertical farms. Plantcubes cost €2,979 (~$3,300 USD) and are capable of growing a number of different greens including kale, leaf lettuce, basil and more.
According to the press announcement, Miele came on board after Agrilution failed to raise more financing and filed for insolvency on Dec. 1. Agrilution will become a subsidiary of Miele, and almost all of Agrilution’s employees will be transferred over to Miele.
Having an in-kitchen grow system makes a lot of sense for people wanting to reduce their carbon footprint as well as have more transparency into and control over the food that they eat. These small farms could be especially appealing to those that don’t have the space, inclination or talent to grow their greens outside. In fact, building hydroponic grow systems directly into cabinets was a trend predicted during a panel on the future of the kitchen at our recent Smart Kitchen Summit.
The acquisition of Agrilution also seems like a smart play for Miele. Since Agrilution was in insolvency, the assets for the company probably weren’t that expensive. Miele has also shown that it isn’t afraid to shake up the traditional kitchen with new appliances like its solid state RF oven, its own meal delivery service, and investments in digital recipe startups like Plant Jammer and KptnCook.
A big player like Miele could also help push indoor farming systems more into the mainstream. Miele has the market muscle other in-home farming startups like Seedo, SproutsIO, or Ponix just can’t match. The only question remains is whether in a world of on-demand food delivery, people will have the patience to grow their own greens.