A Subway Sandwich shop in Tokyo introduced a creative marketing ploy this week to bring in sustainability-minded customers: hydroponic lettuce grown on-site. The shop, located across the street from Tokyo Station, has a “vegetable factory” enclosed in glass that features hydroponically grown lettuce destined to land in customer sandwiches.
The venture isn’t exactly making Subway extra cash–the hydroponic lettuce costs twice as much as the refrigerated variety, according to InventorSpot. And the vegetable factory only produces 5% of what the shop needs. Still, it’s an attention-grabbing way to prove to passers-by that fresh food can be grown in the middle of even the most crowded cities.
Subway Japan claims that the hydroponic lettuce stations will eventually be rolled out to other spots around the country. But the initiative doesn’t stand much of a chance in the U.S. “You need to have room in the store for something like this, which would be an issue,” says Kevin Kane, a public relations manager for Subway.
But just because Subway stores in the U.S. don’t have room for hydroponics doesn’t mean that other urban and suburban locations can’t be utilized. Ohio’s Cleveland Galleria mall, for example, is building a giant urban greenhouse where shops once stood. The same could easily be done in empty storefronts elsewhere.