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An innovative company that makes a natural peel that helps produce last longer has secured $70 million to help it expand. Apeel Sciences, which was founded with a grant from Bill and Melinda Gates, secured the investment after achieving major commercialization milestones in June, with the introduction of Apeel avocados at both Costco and Harps Food Stores in the U.S. Since the introduction of these avocados, Harps Food has seen a 10 percent rise in sales across avocado products, which is the first evidence of food waste reduction driving margins and profitability for fresh food suppliers and retailers.
Food waste and spoiled food is a major contributor to climate change, with estimates that around 14 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture could be avoided if food use and distribution were more effectively managed. The amount of food wasted in America alone each year represents around 30 million acres of land! Food waste releases methane, which is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. This is why this expansion by Apeel Science is so exciting — because it could pave the way for change across the food industry.
So how does this new longer-lasting peel work? Well, using the natural materials found in the skin and peel of plants, Apeel adds an additional peel to the produce, which provides natural reinforcement to the plant’s own peel. This slows the rate of oxidation and water loss, which are the primary causes of spoilage.
Produce using Apeel lasts around two to three times longer than regular produce, and this is particularly important in terms of consumers. We all know what it’s like tossing out that fruit that goes bad before we get around to eating it, which means so many of us avoid buying it in the first place. But if we know that produce is going to last us longer, this will encourage people to eat healthier because they know the fruit and vegetables they buy aren’t going to waste!
Apeel Science aims to help reduce post-harvest food loss in developing countries that lack access to refrigeration. Though it is clear already with their success at Costco and Harps that this is of huge interest in developed countries as well. We are excited to see the impact this has on produce consumption and sales, and the knock-on reduction we hope this peel could mean for food waste.
Interested in learning more about the environmental impact of our food choices? Check out the #EatForThePlanet book!
Image Source: Nur Afni Setiyaningrum/Unsplash