Holy (long-lasting) guacamole! Today Apeel Sciences announced that it’s partnering with Belgium-based produce importer Nature’s Pride to bring their long-lasting avocados to the European market.
If you don’t know, Apeel Sciences is a California-based startup that makes an edible post-harvest coating for fruits and vegetables (called Edipeel) which can significantly increase produce shelf life. Edipeel-coated avocados — Apeel’s first product — are currently available in select grocery stores in the Midwest, including a string of Costco’s.
Nature’s Pride’s new Edipeel-coasted avocados will have a co-branded label to increase consumer awareness around Apeel’s mission. The companies expect that the long-lasting avocados will be available mid-2019 in select retail stores in Europe, as long as they gain EU regulatory approval. There’s no word as to where in Europe Apeel/Nature’s Pride will first roll out the avocados.
The timing is ripe (sorry, I had to). Roughly 88 million tons of food is wasted in the EU every year. In 2012, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that roughly 50 percent of fruits and vegetables in the EU go to waste, and over half of that waste occurs after food is brought home from the store.
Apeel’s edible coating won’t help Europeans (or anyone) be better about eating all of their produce, but it will give them a longer window before said produce goes bad. According to their website, Apeel’s technology has led to a more than 50 percent decrease in food waste at the retail level. If those statistics hold true in Europe, it could take a huge dent out of those 88 million tons of food waste.
In August of last year Apeel raised $70 million, bringing the total funding for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-backed startup to just north of $110 million. Next up, Apeel plans to tackle citrus and asparagus.