Food by VICE

This High-Tech Coating Will Stop Your Avocados from Ripening Too Quickly

The avocado-ripening struggle is real, but Apeel Sciences wants to stop the rock-hard-straight-to-brown-mush cycle.

by Ian Burke
Jun 20 2018, 6:18pm

Photo courtesy of Apeel

We’ve all walked the frustrating avocado ripeness tightrope. You buy a few greenish avocados from the grocery store on Monday, knowing they’ll be ripe around Thursday morning. You wake up at 10 AM on Thursday and voila! Perfectly ripe. Then you turn away for a minute—just one—to grab some bread to toast, and suddenly your avocados are a brown, mushy shell of their former greatness. Time of death: 10:01 AM.

Fortunately for us, the good people at Apeel Sciences have a solution. The California-based company recently developed technology that keeps avocados fresh for an impressive two to three times longer by coating the produce in another layer of ‘peel.’ According to their website, this high-tech coating promotes more sustainable growing practices, allows for better quality food, and curbs food waste.

The edible, plant-based spray creates a layer of plant matter on the avocado’s shell that slows the rates of dehydration and oxidation—the primary causes of spoilage. The new layer of ‘peel’ traps water inside the fruit and keeps air out, which stops your avocados from turning into depressing orbs of sludge. The company says their product will benefit consumers, retailers, and farmers alike, as farmers can now pick produce when it’s ripe rather than prematurely harvesting—which means fresher fruits and vegetables for folks at home.

Apeel also hopes to help farmers in Africa potentially double their income, an Apeel spokesperson told MUNCHIES. In fact, the initial inspiration for the brand was to have an impact in developing countries where electricity and refrigeration for transporting food is still a huge and daily struggle. Apeel’s spray is backed by Bill Gates and is now available at every single Costco in the United States.

But as thankful as we are for our fresher-tasting guacamole, Apeel is much more than a simple avocado-saver. The product can be used on a number of fruits and vegetables, and has large-scale implications for global food waste reduction, too. Instead of having to toss overripe fruits and veggies, grocers would be able to keep produce on their shelves longer, giving them more time to sell. Which is good, since according to ReFED, annual global food waste is around 63 million tons—about one third of the global food production.

Luckily, this stuff seems to work quite well. But don’t just take my word for it—check out their time-lapse demo:

Additionally, the coating is colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-allergenic, and can be used on USDA Certified Organic produce. Right now, Apeel is only selling its product to producers and retailers, but who knows? You might be coating your produce at home in the near future.