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Apeel Uses New Tech to Determine Produce Ripeness

Scientific company debuts RipeTrack suite of measurement tools and monitoring software to help suppliers and retailers ensure quality
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Apeel RipeTrack system
Apeel is helping suppliers and retailers ensure produce quality with a new suite of tools and software called RipeTrack.

Apeel now has more skin in the game of produce ripeness and quality. The company, which built its business on creating an extra plant-based “peel” of protection on fruits and vegetables, is adding a suite of technology services.

Apeel is launching RipeTrack, a system of tools and monitoring software that provides ripeness data in a way that preserves the integrity of produce while helping suppliers, distributors and retailers maintain optimal freshness, appearance and eating quality for consumers. The company partnered with retail quality control teams to create the platform for post-harvest use.

RipeTrack is powered by AI technology that determines the ideal ripe date for a piece of produce. The system also includes a measurement tool called a durometer that tests produce firmness in a non-destructive way and then automatically inputs the information into a cloud-based data management system that is easily accessible by team members.

“Before launching this system, testing ripeness at different stages of the supply chain was a time-consuming process that yielded inconsistent results, and a disconnect with what a retail buyer expected on shelves to drive sales,” explained Ryan Fink, SVP of the Americas at the Goleta, Calif. based Apeel. “We developed RipeTrack to optimize the decades-old process and give the produce industry more insight into the sales-driving quality attributes of their programming, resulting in more product delivered to required specifications and less product wasted.”

The program has applications across the supply chain. Suppliers and shippers can deploy the technology and tools to make informed distribution and logistics decisions. Retailers can gauge the quality of the produce to ensure that high-quality produce is available in their stores for shoppers.

“RipeTrack has received great feedback in initial trials with retailers and produce distributors,” added Fink. “Users recognize how it simplifies the ripeness testing and measurement process, and are immediately seeing the benefit of the increased visibility. Many retailers understand the sales value of offering ripe produce to meet customer demand and drive sales, now they have a system of tools that will allow them to execute these programs with confidence.”

The platform can be used for a variety of product types, such as avocadoes. Users can also take advantage of Apeel’s advanced imaging capabilities that are now integrated into the RipeTrack program to better assess factors of ripeness like dry matter and color.  

The new suite follows the May rollout of Apeel’s durometer testing for avocadoes. The durometer was pioneered for produce ripeness testing by Apeel.

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