Farming for the Future: A Case Study of Vertical Farming in Denmark

Anna Husted Lægaard & Katrine Reinholdt Rasmussen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Vertical farming is an agricultural technique that involves growth of vertically stacked crops in fully controlled indoor environments, entailing optimal balances of light, nutrients and temperatures. The technique has emerged as a response to the global food and environmental crises, representing a potential solution to deliver sustainably produced food to the world’s increasing population. Vertical farming has recently entered the agricultural nation of Denmark as an innovative industry, and a few established players are starting to rise. Within this context, the purpose of this thesis is to examine how vertical farming may obtain the potential to gain ground and possibly contribute to sustainable development. This is researched as a case study of the two companies Nordic Harvest and Infarm that operate with different business models in Denmark. The research approach includes a theoretical framework structured around innovation strategy theory, supported by industry expert interviews and extensive secondary data. These methodological steps pave the way for an in-depth analysis of the case companies, including how they create value, are able to capture value and are allocating resources. The analysis leads to the understanding that Nordic Harvest and Infarm are capable of gaining ground in Denmark. This finding is based on the conclusion that both companies generate economic, social and sustainable value across different stakeholder groups. Moreover, both utilize strategies to capture a share of the value and allocate sufficient resources in terms of facilitating this value creation and capturing. Ultimately, the findings of the analysis serve as input for a critical discussion. Here, it is concluded that vertical farming is able to contribute to specific areas of sustainable development and may even emphasize the role of technology in sustainable food production. In this context, it is reasoned that vertical farming is likely to adopt a supplementing position to traditional farming but holds the potential to substitute a share of today’s import, greenhouse production and export its technologies. A realization of this role combined with overcoming identified roadblocks, is argued to enhance the potential to contribute to sustainable development in Denmark.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages128
SupervisorsMaximilian Schellmann