Stacked on a shelf at a Kroger grocery store, these avocados look like any other avocados. But each fruit is coated in an invisible, edible, plant-based coating that acts as a hidden weapon against food waste.
Apeel Sciences, a startup founded in 2012 with a grant from the Gates Foundation, is beginning to remake produce sections in a bid to tackle one of the world’s major sustainability challenges: Each year, roughly a third of the food that farms grow is wasted, wasting water, fertilizer, and energy along the way. If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gas pollution in the world.
For fruits and vegetables, Apeel founder James Rogers realized that a simple coating could extend the life of food. The coating itself is derived from food and slows down both how fast the item loses water and becomes oxidized. It’s able to make fruits and vegetables last as much as four times as long. The product is the winner of Fast Company’s 2019 World Changing Ideas Awards in the Food category.
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