According to a 2017 analysis by the Boston Consulting Group, exhibited during the Cibus Connect trade fair in Parma, the market for sustainable gastronomy is growing. In Italy alone, it is growing by 8-9% a year, totalling a value of over 1 billion Euros. In the United States, on the other hand, it is exceeding 15 billion, disproving the assumption that Americans only eat junk food.
It's not true that people in the USA only crave hamburgers: at least 70% of American consumers have tried one or more products of responsible consumption, and there is growing interest, even in Italy.
Such attention to product quality places a strong focus also to food origin: therefore, the demand for local produce is increasing. Such a trend is revolutionising the whole food industry and its stakeholders, from packaging by food companies to involve both ordinary people and hotels.
The first year I watered the roof with a garden hose by myself. I spent every day at least an hour and a half there. Brian Wieler, chef at the Westin Grand Central in New York
The plants grown there include rocket, mesclun lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, yellow pumpkins, peppers and zucchini, as well as basil, mint, thyme, oregano and coriander, which are used in the preparation of the dishes of THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen, the restaurant in Westin, enjoying considerable success among its guests.
However, it took Wieler years to learn how to take advantage of the shade of the surrounding buildings to protect the delicate lettuce from the summer heat, or to learn how to handle the size of the leaves of pumpkins and zucchini. His efforts have paid off, given that the amount of cultivation has now tripled and the interest of customers is in no way diminishing.
We had to replace the sheet and lay the concrete inside the greenhouse to insulate the ground. There was actually no technician to manage the work; I was there with a digger to drill holes for the farmyards of our hens or to level the ground to put in the greenhouse hives. It was a gradual process of evolution.
Now we have a better irrigation system that we still manage manually, but which, thanks to the numerous pipes and hoses along the pipes, is really much easier to control.