(Krishna Thakker, Food Dive) By the time the avocado is picked, shipped and displayed at grocery stores, it may have only have a few days left until it spoils and must be thrown away. Now, one company may have an answer.
Apeel Sciences has developed technology that it claims could more than double the shelf life of the fruit, helping consumers, retailers and the environment by cutting down on food waste — saving large sums of money in the process.
The California-based company has developed a powder that is sprayed on produce close to harvest — like the skin of an avocado —and dried to create an extra layer of plant material to slow the rate of water loss and oxidation, the two reasons produce spoils quickly.
The initiative could help cut down on the $2.6 trillion of food waste generated annually, according to Apeel Sciences.
Avocados, the company’s first product to use the edible coating, will be sold at Costco outlets nationwide and Harps Food Stores in the Midwest.
The company plans on announcing its expansion to other retailers and regions soon.
“If everyone ate fresh fruits and vegetables, we’d be a healthier country,” Masek said. “There are just two issues: quality and accessibility.”
The U.S. retail food sector produces eight million tons of waste annually at distribution centers and stores culminating in $18 billion in lost revenue for retailers.
Apeel has been successful in increasing the shelf life for dozens of produce categories including bananas, berries, citruses, stone fruit, peppers and asparagus. So far, the avocado is the company’s only product on the market.
The coating, made from leftover plant skins and stems, could save suppliers, retailers, and consumers big bucks by promoting sustainable growing practices and reducing waste from farm to retailer to home. Read the full story at Food Dive.