In quarantine, all of us are trying to grocery shop more strategically. We may be seeking out food that stays fresh longer, so we can take fewer trips to the grocery store, which has become a stressful place. That's easy for Pop-Tarts and plant-based milk, but tricky for things that go bad quickly — like fruits and vegetables.
California-based startup Apeel is working to solve that problem. The company makes an edible coating from plant oils which, when applied to produce, can dramatically extend its lifetime. The secret, according to Apeel CEO and founder James Rogers, is using plants' own natural mechanisms to do two things: keep water in, and oxygen out. That keeps produce ripe — and not rotten — for longer.
Apeel just raised $250 million from investors including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry. I spoke with Rogers a few days before they announced the funding to learn more about how he, a materials scientist, got the idea to switch from creating solar panels to developing produce technology. We also got into bigger discussions around food waste, how tech is mitigating it, and the ways in which COVID is affecting our relationship with food (and waste).
The interview is an exclusive offering for Spoon Plus members. You can learn more about Spoon Plus here.
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