This week Apeel Sciences, the startup known for its plant-based peels that keep produce fresh longer, raised a cool $70 million. The Series C round was led by Viking Global Investors, a $26 billion hedge fund behemoth, and brings the total funding for the Bill Gates-backed startup to $110 million.
Apeel’s solution to fighting produce degradation is called Edipeel. It’s a plant-based powder which fruit and vegetable producers can mix with water and use to coat their wares before shipping them off for distribution and retail. By mimicking the natural coatings in fruits like lemons and avocados (yeah, guys, they’re a fruit), Edipeel keeps produce fresh by warding off oxygen and maintaining moisture levels. It’s also a healthier and more environmentally friendly alternative to wax, which is used as a coating for fruits and vegetables today.
Apeel’s technology also cuts down dramatically on food waste throughout the supply chain, in grocery stores, and even in the home. As Jenn Marston wrote when she profiled Apeel a few months ago, “less waste and longer transport time windows are a win for everyone involved in getting food from the farm to the store.”
In addition to their not-so-shabby funding, Apeel also announced this week that they had added former Whole Foods executive Walter Robb to their board. Do we smell some Edipeel-coated avocados (and more) on Whole Foods shelves in the future? Thinking on a bigger scale, Apeel’s technology would also come in handy for Amazon-Whole Foods grocery delivery orders, as it could keep in-transit produce fresher as it travels from the farm to your doorstep.
So far, Edipeel-coated avocados — which last twice as long as typical avocados — are being piloted in roughly 100 grocery stores in the Midwest, including 30 Costco locations. Next up: Apeel plans to apply their tech to citrus and asparagus.