Image via Apeel.

Apeel Sciences, whose plant-based coatings extend the shelf life of produce, announced today it has partnered with Kroger to make its longer-lasting avocados available at over 1,100 of the grocery retailer’s stores in the U.S.

This widespread launch follows a pilot the two companies launched in 2018 in select stores around the Midwest.

Apeel was born out of a concern over the amount of food in the country that gets wasted every year due to food spoilage. Roughly 40 percent of food waste happens in the home, as anyone whose ever bought an avocado and had it go bad almost immediately knows.

To fight this, Apeel makes a plant-based powder food producers can mix with water to and coat over produce items before they get shipped out for distribution and retail. That coating creates a barrier that retains the water in side the produce and regulates how fast oxygen gets into the plant. Cloaked in this powder, produce stays fresher longer and requires less refrigeration. According to the company’s website, this has led to a more than 50 percent decrease in food waste. Bonus: the produce doesn’t have to be coated in the usual wax covering, either.

Apeel avocados are already available in the European market through a partnership with Belgium-based importer Nature’s Pride. And this past August, Apeel raised a $70 million Series C round.

The company is also using its partnership with Kroger to release two new produce items: limes and asparagus. According to the press release, those will be available at stores in Kroger’s hometown of Cincinnati this fall.

Apeel’s expansion comes at a time when more companies fighting food waste in the home are starting to emerge. What was only a few months ago a very small category in the food waste landscape now has players like Hazel Technologies, whose biodegradable packaging inserts extend the life of produce, Stix Fresh, who says it can double your avocado’s shelf life with a sticker, and Cambridge Crops, who also makes a protective layer for produce. We’ll undoubtedly be seeing many more companies come to market as consumers start to wake up to the reality that the food waste battle has to be fought first and foremost at home.

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