Say goodbye to overripe avocados thanks to new natural tech from food startup

Apeel Sciences developed a type of protective coating for produce.

Say goodbye to overripe avocados thanks to new natural tech from food startup
Apeel Sciences
June 21, 2018, 1:34 PM

Is there anything worse than waiting for an avocado to be perfectly ripe, then cutting into it to find mushy brown streaks throughout? So much for what could have been great guacamole or the perfect toast topping.

Well, one food-tech startup has created a product that avocado lovers everywhere might get behind -- and it hit the market Tuesday.

A natural, plant-based protective coating that can be applied to the skin of avocados and promises to double the fruit's shelf life has debuted at Costco. The company announced in a press release it would roll out at the global wholesale retailer marking Apeel Sciences' first U.S. supplier and retailer partnerships.

"We’re excited to be working with exceptional partners as they share our vision of a food system that provides better quality food for all and less waste. With our partners, we believe we can increase the availability and accessibility of high quality, nutritious produce while simultaneously preserving our natural resources and environment," said James Rogers, CEO and Founder of Apeel Sciences.

The invisible coating is derived from plants and "keeps moisture inside produce and oxygen out, which dramatically slows the rate that produce spoils," according to the manufacturer, Apeel Sciences. Food suppliers spray the produce with the formula before shipping out to grocers.

The product is called Apeel and it's made of lipids and glycerolipids that are naturally occurring in the peels, seeds and pulp of fruits and vegetables, the company said.

An image from Apeel Sciences shows treated and untreated avocados.
Apeel Sciences

Apeel is safe to eat and fully compliant with all U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, according to the startup.

"Because Apeel is made of widely used plant-derived materials —- specifically, lipids and glycerolipids —- that are commonly and naturally found in foods, it is designated FDA GRAS or 'Generally Recognized As Safe.'"

Not only is the product appealing to consumers, pun intended, it's an investment opportunity that big names like Bill Gates have already gotten behind.

The privately-held Santa Barbara-based startup was founded in 2012 with a grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help reduce postharvest food loss in developing countries. Since it's conception Apeel Sciences has additional backing from six other notable investors including The Rockefeller Foundation.