Name a food that doesn’t taste better with an avocado. Go ahead, we’ll wait. But as much as we adore avocados, we hate shopping for them.
You know the drill, you’re standing at the grocery store staring at a bin full of avocados, preparing to spend the next several minutes reaching in, feeling the fruits, and trying to find that unicorn: An avocado that’s not too mushy to use nor so hard that it’s going to sit on your counter for days until you forget it’s there, ultimately discovering it a week later and throwing it out. What if you never had to go through that again? California-based food technology start-up Apeel Sciences wants to make our produce last longer with an edible coating that could help reduce food waste and allow farmers to sell more produce—and they’re starting with avocados.
What Is This Edible Coating?
Apeel is a colorless, odorless, and edible coating that is FDA-compliant. It’s made of plant-based materials such as lipids and glyverolipids, which are naturally found in the seeds and peels of fruits and vegetables. It’s also organic.
Apeel Sciences was founded in 2012 after James Rogers became determined to find a way to reduce food waste by extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. The company, which received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been working on the coating with farmers overseas for the past few years.
How Does It Work?
The edible coating can be applied to crops after harvesting via rinsing or dipping. It extends the shelf life of produce by helping to seal in water on the surface of the fruit or vegetable and keeping out oxygen.
Rogers told The Guardian that the coating can double the shelf life of the average avocado, and in applications in Nigeria and Kenya, treating produce such as mangoes with Apeel helped farmers sell more produce by preventing crop loss and keeping produce fresh longer during transport from farms to cities.
Where Can I Get It?
Currently the edible coating is being applied to avocados from the California company Del Rey Avocado. Their avocados are available in Costco and Harp Foods stores in the Midwest and expected to roll out to stores nationwide this summer. Apeel Sciences has experimented with the coating on other fruits and vegetables including asparagus, mangoes, and apples. They hope to start selling more produce coated with Appel soon.
Now that we've reminded you how much you adore avocados, watch the correct way to pit one: