Greens for CKD

Welcome to the expanding market for factory-produced low-potassium lettuce aimed at people with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

The new lettuce produced by Fujitsu has been selling for about $4.90 (500 yen) for a 90 gram bag, just over 3 ounces in some locations in Japan. The lettuce has only about 20 percent of the potassium found in typical lettuce, manufacturers say, which makes it a good substitute for people craving salad and who have to closely watch potassium intake. Because the lettuce leaves are grown in the repurposed clean rooms of electronics manufacturers, no pesticides are necessary. So far, the products are available in Asia.

In 2013, Japanese electronics manufacturer Fujitsu converted an old semiconductor plant into the 2000 m2 Akisai Plant Factory in Japan. For the vegetable facility, Fujitsu has combined its own and Microsoft’s products.

“Fujitsu brought together its Eco-Management Dashboard, the IoT/M2M platform, Microsoft cloud services, and Windows tablets in a way that could enable managers, engineers, and scientists to improve product quality, streamline systems, and enhance functionality while reducing costs,” Microsoft reported recently.

SG Greenhouse has constructed a facility that can produce 3500 bunches of low-potassium lettuce per day. The facility is on the Saibu Gas facility grounds in Kitakyushu, Japan.

Horiba, another Japanese company that conventionally trades in automotive test systems, semiconductors, and other devices, is also contributing to the production of low-potassium and low-sodium lettuce. Yoshio Miyashita, CEO of Oizumi Yasaikobo Co., Ltd., has opened a lettuce factory in Oizumi-machi, Oura-gun, Gunma Prefecture, to produce and sell lettuce free of insect damage and agricultural chemicals in a completely enclosed factory environment. Oizumi uses the LAQUAtwin compact water quality analyzer from Horiba to manage water quality and nutrient solutions for the new, factory-produced lettuce.