The UK herb market is estimated to be worth around £166 million a year with an estimated annual growth of 4%. The increase in awareness of healthy living and the growth of cooking programmes has seen a rise in the use of fresh produce in home cooking, most significantly the use of herbs.
This trend in healthy eating is believed to be the cause in supermarkets seeing an 18% rise in fresh herbs and seed kits sold in the UK in 2011. However a common problem with purchasing fresh herbs or seed kits is maintenance and keeping the produce fresh.
A UK-based survey estimated that as a nation we threw away £450 million in wasted food products with fresh herbs accounting for £38 million of this. With this amount of waste in the UK alone I believed there must be a simple solution to this problem that would enable homeowners to have a yearlong supply of fresh herbs without the waste.
Initial research showed two main areas which the solution must address: watering and reducing the amount of time the user spends maintaining the plant. Urban Eden© is a kitchen feature that simply reduces the homeowner’s need to maintain the plant and ensures they have a supply of fresh herbs all year round. It has the ability to grow from seed or maintain a pre-established plant. The soil sensors monitor the moisture levels and ensure they are maintained at a predetermined level to optimise plant growth. The ultraviolet light source acts as a feature whilst further helping to optimise plant growth throughout the year.