A Startup Doubles the Shelf-Life of Fruits and Vegetables to Combat Global Food Waste

  • a thin edible barrier that holds in moisture and keeps out air to slow the rate of spoilage
  • Fruits and vegetables can last more than twice as long
  • Funded by investors such as former CEO of Whole Foods Walter Robb, Andreessen Horowitz, and The Rockefeller Foundation

There is enough food produced globally each day to feed the entire human population yet somehow, almost one billion people are chronically undernourished. Estimates from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest 30-40% of the food supply is wasted annually equating to $161 billion worth of food and weighing in at 133 billion pounds. That amount of weight is equal to nearly 10 million elephants (although there are significantly less than a million elephants on earth) and all of this valuable produce is sent to the trash… Food waste is the largest component entering city landfills and the third largest source of methane in the country. The current food system is inefficient, unsustainable and ripe for disruption. Each person wastes an average 200 pounds of food annually, but the USA aims to reduce food waste by 50% to some 60 billion lbs per year.

How to reduce billions of pounds of wasted food? Through innovation!

In 2012, with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, James Roger founded Apeel Sciences to combat the global food waste occurring post-harvest. Their solution was simple… slow down the natural decomposition and rotting process of produce so that people across the world could have more, longer lasting foods.

What Apeel Sciences has created is making the global goal of a sustainable food system achievable. The technology developed reinforces defenses that fruits and vegetables naturally deploy, offering a thin edible barrier that drastically slows the rate of spoilage.

extended freshness and shelf life by 2 to 3 times longer

Referred to by Forbes as “Fruit’s Fountain of Youth,” the plant based coating is derived from different seeds, fruits, and vegetables and is of course fully compliant with all U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. No pesticides or chemicals should be sprayed on produce.

Demonstrate the revolutionary technology that is helping to reduce global food waste
image : ApeelSciences
By keeping the moisture inside & the air outside, the produce stays fresh for much longer

Carrying no color, odor or taste, the product acts by stopping water loss and oxidation. It acts as a secondary peel, shielding the produce resulting in extended freshness and shelf life by 2 to 3 times longer. Krogers, the largest grocer in the United States, currently carries Apeel avocados. They are fortified to outlast traditional ones, staying fresh longer in stores and during transportation.

The California based startup has raised money from several big name investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, The Rockefeller Foundation, and former co-CEO of Whole Foods Walter Robb. Apeel Sciences was also listed on Time Magazines list of “the 50 Most Genius Companies of 2018.”

Systems are in place so that this product can be applied at various levels by farmers/growers, suppliers, or retailers. Typically the coating is applied by dipping or rinsing in what is a rather simple procedure once installed in wholesale factories or processing centers.

Global food waste contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than every nation on earth combined, excluding China and the United States. A total of 8% of global emissions is wasted… Thankfully new clean tech startups are sprouting at an increasing rate with the aim of creating a more efficient and sustainable food system through innovation. See how we big of a difference we can all make with our Call to Action.

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