Extending the shelf life of produce

Apeel Sciences, a member of the Organic Trade Association since May 2017, aims to fight global food waste by using nature’s tools to prevent waste in the first place. The company has designed plant-derived technology for use by certified organic and conventional fresh food growers, suppliers and retailers to improve produce quality and extend shelf life, minimizing food waste from farms to retail shelves to kitchens.

Founded in 2012 with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the company’s original aim was to help reduce postharvest food loss in developing countries that lack ready access to refrigeration. Today, its formulations are being tested for reducing the rate of spoilage in certified organic and conventional produce categories for marketing in the United States and for export.

Apeel Sciences has developed an invisible plant-based edible coating for produce that modulates the rate at which water evaporates out and oxygen gets in. This comes as a powder to mix with water and spray onto produce or use as a dip at packing facilities. Currently, the company has commercial quantities for application for avocados and citrus fruits, with plans to test with other produce in future work.

Apeel Sciences already has launched marketing of avocados with extended shelf life in select Costco and Harp Store locations across the U.S. It also has announced a partnership with Eco Farms to release its second family of products that extend the shelf life of both conventional and organic citrus.

“This is especially important news as organic producers have historically lacked post-harvest solutions for maintaining quality and shelf life,” according to the company.

Meanwhile, Apeel Sciences has raised $70 million in a funding round led by Viking Global Investors with Andreessen Horowitz, Upfront Ventures, S2G Ventures and other investors to accelerate the company’s work with avocado, citrus, berry, stone fruit and asparagus categories. The company has announced that Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, is joining its Board of Directors. //