By Trey Leslie I Everyday California Head Writer & Resident DJ
Holy guacamole, Batman!
The future of produce is looking fresher than ever, and it may have already been delivered to your local Costco.
Santa Barbara startup Apeel Sciences created an edible, plant-based coating that can extend the shelf life of fresh produce up to 4 times longer than average. The coating is essentially a protective shield sprayed onto produce while it’s fresh, and is pretty darn effective at keeping them that way.
It works the same way any other peel does - protecting the good stuff on the inside by slowing the rate your precious avocado absorbs oxygen and loses water and carbon dioxide (the same process that turns your guacamole into brown guaca-mush).
The avocado is Apeel’s MVP (Most Valuable Produce), stealing headlines across the web and recently landing in Costco stores throughout the Midwest. But avocado isn’t all that’s on the menu - apples, artichoke, asparagus, bananas, bell peppers, blueberries, cherries, citrus, and more have also seen a longer shelf life when lathered with the protective formula.
Apeel Sciences got a green thumbs up from the Food and Drug Administration in 2017, which means an avocado coated with their product, made from organic excess ranging from grass to unused fruit skins, is safe to eat. (Collective sigh of relief from the millennials)
There’s good reason to celebrate longer-lasting fruits and veggies beyond being able to eat that forgotten apple at the bottom of your fridge. It’s no secret that Americans waste a lot of food - according to The Washington Post, 42% of America’s roughly 62 million tons of food waste is fruits and vegetables.
That’s a lot of bad apples. Food waste is America’s largest landfill resident, so effectively reducing the amount of decaying foodstuffs could have a big impact on the overall waste we produce.
It’s easy to imagine this seemingly miraculous protective coat sending the cost of produce up into the supermarket stratosphere. Fortunately, food waste is actually quite expensive, which could mean that using Apeel’s food technology would save ultimately save producers, suppliers, and retailers money. Currently, avocados available at Costco’s using the protective skin are sold at the same price as their boring, non-treated neighbors.
We'll see if this promising startup survives the test of time and increased production. For now, their product seems to be quite *clears throat* Apeel-ing.
The avocado is dead, long live the avocado