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Business trends

Factory-grown veggies comfort Japan's germophobic shoppers

Clean, automated facilities considered silver bullet for aging farm sector

Spread's newest vegetable factory produces 30,000 heads of lettuce a day. (Photo courtesy of Spread)

TOKYO -- Lettuce and other vegetables grown in plant factories have become a hot commodity in Japan, as consumers fearful of contracting the coronavirus seek out foods that were raised in sanitary environments and prepackaged before hitting stores.

Those vegetables are pricier than conventionally grown varieties, but their prices have come down. And the factories' ability to maintain consistent quality and stable production volume has added to their appeal as the pandemic disrupts food imports.

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