Packer Report - Virtual Greenhouse Tours at Retail
BrightFarms uses virtual reality headsets as part of a new in-store program going on now. ( BrightFarms )

Irvington, N.Y.-based BrightFarms has gotten creative in granting consumer requests to tour its greenhouses.

The company does not offer public tours, and it limits the number of people in its facilities for food safety reasons, but it recently embarked on a virtual reality-driven retail program that allows shoppers to explore operations in the next most personable manner.

Through the end of the year, BrightFarms will set up retail displays on weekends, allowing shoppers to take a virtual tour of operations and taste the product.

“Shoppers are immediately drawn to the display, with a backdrop that shows off the inside of our greenhouse,” said vice president of marketing Abby Prior. “The design is meant to feel inviting, as if you are about to step into our world before you put the (virtual reality) headset on. We also provide shoppers with the full tour experience, including free samples of our greens. Shoppers can watch the greens being harvested by one of our growers and then taste the freshness and flavor of our local greens through sampling.”

BrightFarms will take its virtual reality display setups around the country, including to Ahold Delhaize Giant stores in the Baltimore-Washington and Philadelphia metro areas, Pick ‘n Save and Metro Market stores in Milwaukee, and Mariano’s stores in Chicago.

Man with VR headset at BrightFarms display
Courtesy BrightFarms

Prior said feedback from shoppers who take the virtual tour includes comments on the sustainability of BrightFarms’ growing practices and the freshness of its product.

“It connects the farm-to-store dots through full transparency,” Prior said. “Despite more consumers wanting to know where their food comes from, it’s often extremely difficult to get the story behind a fruit or vegetable. Consumers walk away from this experience knowing everything about our local farms and the people behind our brand.”