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Walmart said this week that it is investing in Plenty, an indoor vertical farming company, as part of Plenty's $400M Series E funding round.

The announcement says that "Walmart’s equity investment is part of a broader strategic partnership to utilize Plenty’s indoor vertical farming technology platform to deliver fresh produce to Walmart retail stores … Together, Walmart and Plenty will work collaboratively to create a new, market-leading product category in vertical farming by delivering the freshness and quality that Walmart customers expect, year-round. The long-term commercial agreement allows Walmart to source Plenty’s leafy greens for all its California stores from Plenty’s Compton farm beginning later this year. Walmart is the first large U.S. retailer to significantly invest in vertical farming."

As part of the investment, at closing, Walmart will also join Plenty’s Board of Directors.

KC's View:

As I noted a few months ago when Bristol Farms said it would be carrying Plenty's produce, I've seen the company's South San Francisco facility, and it is impressive.

This is a smart move by Walmart, especially as it looks to expand its footprint and appeal when it comes to produce.

We heard a lot about this from Rich Gonzales, Walmart's vp of Global Produce Sourcing, at last summer's Organic Produce Summit (OPS), who said that Walmart is putting a lot of emphasis on this category because it is an opportunity to steal market share from higher end produce retailers who, in a time of inflation, may have priced themselves out of the reach of some consumers.  The Plenty investment clearly seems to be part of that.

(I talked about this in a FaceTime piece that you can see here.)