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[Slashdot] - Singapore Airlines Is Using Aeroponics To Upgrade In-Flight Meals

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Antony McNeil, Singapore Airlines' global food and beverage director, is purchasing produce from AeroFarms' Newark facility, the world's largest indoor vertical farm. "The 16-year-old agtech startup has taken aeroponics to an industrial scale, growing some 800 varieties of leafy greens, tubers, root crops, vine crops, and berries all without soil, sunshine, or pesticides," reports Quartz. Thanks to this partnership, "Singapore Airlines is the first major carrier to serve produce harvested just hours before a flight." From the report: "We now have the best opportunity to serve the freshest produce, and it doesn't have to fly 2,000 miles," McNeil explains. But do classically trained chefs have qualms about lab-grown vegetables, like many do when it comes to genetically modified meat products? After all, what a strange power to calibrate the color, flavor, and texture of produce based on the whims of a cook. McNeil seems unconcerned, however. "I have no issues with it because it's unadulterated," he explains. "It's just fresh, beautiful produce." AeroFarms customizes orders by altering the environmental growing conditions; increasing the wind speed in the farm yields a firmer kale, for instance. "This is stretching our imagination," says McNeil, who dreams of experimenting with discarded stalks of AeroFarms-grown produce to flavor his soups. Beyond the quality factor, McNeil says having data that traces where and how vegetables are grown is a time-saver -- especially for airlines, where food safety is paramount. As he notes, food served on planes has to pass 10 to 12 critical control points in transit from harvest to the time it's served. Singapore Airlines is currently serving the AeroFarms-grown produce on flights originating from Newark and JFK airports. McNeil says the plan is to expand the company's network of sustainable growers to service more routes around the world.

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