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10/24/2022

Apeel Goes More Than Skin Deep With New Tech Offerings

Company aims to help reduce food waste
Emily Crowe
Multimedia Editor
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Apeel avocado
Apeel's technology can help food retailers and shoppers figure out how long before an avocado is at peak ripeness.

Apeel Sciences, the company best known for creating a plant-based coating that allows for longer-lasting produce, is launching innovative technology solutions that will allow stakeholders across the entire fresh produce supply chain to instantly determine the ripeness of avocados. Apeel’s mission is to create a more sustainable global food system, and its new tech aims to help reduce food waste across the supply chain.

According to Apeel, its newest offering uses advanced imaging technology and machine learning to increase visibility into the internal quality and ripeness of avocados. This allows producers and grocery retailers to make more informed sorting, shipping and merchandising decisions.

“Apeel started with a mission to prevent food waste across the supply chain with our plant-based protective coating,” said CEO James Rogers. “Our mission hasn’t changed, but we are evolving our offerings to further drive change in the food system. The expansion of our technology offerings will increase access to insights to create a smarter supply chain that maximizes the lifespan, quality and sustainability of fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Apeel’s first-of-its-kind produce quality scanner for distributors and food retailers can evaluate ripeness and dry matter of individual avocados five times faster than existing methods can. The scanner doesn’t damage fruit, and insights are automatically captured in a cloud database. The scanner is currently being tested at retail locations in North America and Europe.

The Apeel RipeFinder, meanwhile, is meant for grocery shoppers to use and features a consumer-friendly user interface. It can reveal information such as “Your avocado is ready for a salad” or “Your avocado will be ready in about four days.”

The imaging system being used by these solutions works by shining a bright beam of light into the avocado that penetrates several millimeters below the fruit’s skin. A sensor measures how much light is reflected; then machine learning models convert that into a prediction of the avocado’s firmness and dry matter. The measurements can help users figure out how long before the fruit is ready for consumption.

“All of our products are grounded in our view of nature as a database, and this data model is no different,” said Lou Perez, co-founder and SVP of new product introduction at Goleta, Calif.-based Apeel. “The global avocado ripeness model was developed using machine learning by collecting data on tens of thousands of avocados throughout multiple seasons, blooms and countries of origin.”

Continued Perez: “This deep knowledge of produce behavior, as well as our integrated position in the supply chain, gives Apeel a unique advantage to create technologies that protect, detect and direct quality produce and ultimately improve food supply chain decisions.”

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