The Kroger Co. is expanding its pilot with Apeel Sciences to make the company's longer-lasting avocados available in more than 1,100 Kroger stores in the United States.
Kroger said it would also introduce two new produce categories, Apeel asparagus and Apeel limes, through a pilot in its hometown Cincinnati market this fall.
"Kroger is excited to offer more customers Apeel avocados and introduce longer-lasting limes and asparagus, marking another milestone on our journey to achieving our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste vision," said Frank Romero, Kroger's VP of produce. "Apeel's innovative food-based solution has proven to extend the life of perishable produce, reducing food waste in transport, in our retail stores and in our customers' homes."
Apeel’s plant-derived technology gives produce an extra “peel” that slows the rate of water loss and oxidation, the primary causes of spoilage.
The Kroger expansion follows a pilot of Apeel avocados the retailer launched one year ago in 109 Midwest stores that significantly reduced category food waste. Apeel avocados, asparagus and limes maintain their just-harvested quality longer than produce without Apeel and are less reliant on refrigeration, reducing food waste and extending customers' access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
"Kroger is leading the way to alleviate the food waste crisis at every level, from its supply chain to its retail stores to the homes of over 11 million customers who shop at Kroger every day," said James Rogers, CEO of Goleta, Calif.-based Apeel Sciences. "We're excited to expand our partnership with Kroger to further prevent food waste while simultaneously giving families more access and time to enjoy healthy fresh produce."
Kroger and Apeel's retail partnership focuses on tackling the country's increasingly urgent food waste paradox. Today, 40 percent of the food produced is thrown away, yet one in eight Americans struggle with hunger. Redirecting even one-third of this food would help feed everyone in need. Additionally, food waste contributes roughly 8% of annual greenhouse gas emissions and is considered a top cause of climate change.
Apeel's partnership with Kroger is expected to prevent millions of pieces of produce from ending up in a landfill every year, resulting in:
- Millions of avocados "rescued" from going to waste
- Dozens of acres of farmland preserved
- Emission reductions of thousands of metric tons in greenhouse gases
- More than 1 billion gallons of water-use savings
- 100,000-plus gigajoules of nonrenewable energy reductions
Employing nearly half a million associates who serve more than 11 million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,761 retail food stores under a variety of banners, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.