Fujitsu is growing and selling low-potassium lettuce in a 2000 square metre former clean room at its fab in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture.
Fujitsu plans to branch out into spinach as part of its Kirei Yasai (Clean Vegetable) programme which it plans will have $3 million in revenues by 2016.
Fujitsu asked its chip engineers to turn their hands to lettuce growing which they have done to great success.
The lettuce has less than 100 mg of potassium per 100 g compared with 490 mg for regular leaf lettuce. It costs more than twice as much as regular lettuce but tastes better and lasts longer.
Sharp, JFE Holdings and Olympus are also growing vegetables in former factories. Sharp is growing strawberries in Dubai.
Apparently factory-produced food worth $223 million was sold in Japan last year.
In his book Chip Msnsgemrnt, former Toshiba Semiconductor CEO Tsuyoshi Kawanidhi, compared the semiconductor industry to growing lettuce.
“Why is the semiconductor industry like growing lettuce?” asks Kawanishi, “because good quality seeds and fertile soil produce a good harvest. You need to time the fertiliser just right. Insects will eat your harvest if you are not careful. Neglect your field and you will get weeds. The weather will determine the harvest. The price drops when you over produce.”
At least, by growing the stuff in a fab you should avoid the weather, the weeds and the insects.Tags: Aizu-Wakamatsu, fujitsu, Fukushima Prefecture, leaf lettuce, square metre