AeroFarms makes microgreens a kitchen staple with recipes that tap into ‘trends, not fads’

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Ryan Daily
Source: Ryan Daily

Related tags AeroFarms vertical farming recipes

Vertical farming company AeroFarms is showing consumers how to use microgreens for all occasions through recipes that demonstrate the versatility of its vegetables beyond salads, Emily Gee, the company’s director of marketing and communications, shared at the recent Digital Food & Beverage event in Palm Springs, Calif.

“We love beautiful, fun [and] delicious recipes, and we all love looking through cookbooks or making food, enjoying food together. But how do we go from seeing those recipes either in a cookbook or on social media ... and then go from recognizing a product that is interesting to then seeing it at a store and wanting to purchase it? And then, ultimately, how does it end up in our basket?” Gee asked.  

‘We wanted to tie the recipes into trends, not fads’

Founded in 2004, AeroFarms is a Certified B Corporation that offers a range of microgreens, including kale, broccoli, arugula and more. Last year, the company emerged from Chapter 11​ with a plan to reach profitability at its flagship Danville, Va., farm.

Before AeroFarms developed its digital recipe strategy, the company surveyed its consumers for a sense of how it used its products, Gee said. AeroFarms found that shoppers were using its products to top various dishes, including takeout and pizza, and not just in salads.

With this data, AeroFarms identified six occasion categories for recipe inspiration, including burgers and hot dogs, soups and stews, eggs and omelets, pizza and takeout, tacos and sandwiches and main and side dishes, she added.

“With these six use cases, we took a step back [and said,] ‘This is really different.’ Originally, [we thought] that this was going to be a product that was used mostly for the bulk of the salad, but it is actually being used in a very different way. Once we did that prep work, we then wanted to see how people are actually using it, and what people are saying about it,” she said.

AeroFarms prioritized creating recipes that relate to enduring trends, instead of chasing viral social media fads but also prepared content that could be used in case an ingredient goes viral, she noted.

"We wanted to tie the recipes into trends, not fads. ... We are a relatively small marketing team, and I think sometimes those videos that are trending can be really enticing to try to recreate, but ultimately, [we are focusing on] what are the more long-term use cases for our products," said Gee.

AeroFarms uses FlavorSpectrum to create recipes, compelling social media copy

AeroFarms’s FlavorSpectrum product framework breaks down its microgreens based on flavor attributes, including sweet, earthy, green, peppery, mustard, hot, zesty, floral and umami, which educates consumers on specific occasions and uses, Gee explained.

For instance, Aerofarms' micro kale is at the sweet end of the FlavorSpectrum, while its micro rainbow mix is at the other end under umami.

“We grow a micro kale, which would be perfect in a smoothie. You are probably not going to put the micro wasabi in the smoothies — that would be a very different use case. What I do ... to start out our recipe strategy is actually divide all of our product lines based off of where do we want people to have those use cases and then what are the retailers where those are sold,” Gee said.

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