The new avocados rolling out to Midwest Costco stores this week don’t look like the future of fresh produce. But they’re testing technology that could more than double the shelf life of vegetables and fruits.
That technology, developed by the start-up Apeel Sciences, consists of an invisible, plant-based film that reinforces the avocados’ own skin. The company hopes to expand to stores nationwide — as well as to a range of other produce.
Experts say the product, which has quadrupled shelf life in a lab setting, has the potential to make foods less perishable — with huge boons for consumers, the environment and the food industry.
Fresh fruit and vegetables account for more than 40 percent of wasted food in the United States, according to the food waste coalition ReFED. Apeel and other companies are working on technologies that could help slash those figures, and enable produce to travel farther and with less refrigeration, improving quality, selection and carbon footprint.
“Already, we’re able to bring avocados to places that didn’t have access to top-quality before, or that often ran out,” said James Rogers, Apeel’s chief executive. “It’s so rewarding to me personally to bring this fruit to places that wouldn’t normally have that access.”
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