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Bill Gates-Backed Startup to Help Avocados Stay Ripe Longer

May we never waste an avocado again.

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A startup backed by Bill Gates hopes to make avocados stay ripe longer.

Apeel Sciences uses food waste and other plant material to create a product that makes fresh fruits and vegetables stay ripe longer, potentially decreasing the amount of food waste.

This new technology will debut an avocado that stays ripe for twice as long in about 100 grocery stores in the Midwest, including more than 30 Costco locations.

“There’s a visceral reaction to throwing away an avocado. The ability to bring extra soft time to the fruit is very powerful,” said James Rogers, chief executive officer of Apeel.

Rogers started Apeel in 2012, with financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Apeel deliberately began with avocados as their first fruit because it is in such high demand, but has a very small window in which it’s in perfect condition to eat.

“The company sees its product, which uses discarded plant material to mimic the natural peel or skin that protects produce, as a solution for grocers trying to cut down on food waste,” Bloomberg reported. “The product, which is certified for use on organic produce, is a lightweight powder that suppliers mix with water to wash fruits and vegetables.”

In the Costco test run, Apeel worked with Del Ray Avocado, a California-based company. The owner of the California company, Bob Lucy, said the product works by helping the avocado retain water, slowing down the natural respiration process.

 

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Gigi Foster is a student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She's a midfielder on the women's soccer team and is studying ocean sciences.

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