California-based food tech startup Apeel is fighting the $2.6 trillion global food waste; raises $250 million in new funding
According to Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), a branch of the United Nations, the global full costs of food wastage amount to about $2.6 trillion per year, including $700 billion of environmental costs and $900 billion of social costs. What if instead of going bad, food went good? Food that lasts longer and creates less waste with plant-based protection. That’s exactly what one startup is on a mission to do.
Apeel Sciences is a Goleta, California-based food science tech startup that develops plant-derived shelf life extension technology for fresh produce that improves quality, reduces food waste using plant-based protection that results in longer-lasting produce. Apeel’s edible coating product Apeel can make fruits like avocados, citrus, and other types of fruit last twice as long as usual by using a tasteless edible coating made from plant materials.
We wrote about Apeel back in late 2020 after the AgriTech startup raised $30M in funding to fight the $2.6 trillion-dollar global food waste and help smallholder farmers in emerging markets join the global food system. Apeel works with nature to reduce food waste and create abundance for all. And just how do we do that? Apeel explains below:
“Apeel uses materials that exist in the peels, seeds, and pulp of all fruits and vegetables to create a protective extra peel that seals moisture in and keeps oxygen out. That means our produce stays fresh, nutritious, and delicious twice as long. It also means less produce goes to waste throughout the supply chain—from grower to retailer to consumers at home. Less waste for you means less waste for the planet and a more abundant future for us all.”
Today, Apeel announced it has raised $250 million in new funding, nearly doubling its valuation to more than $2 billion. The round was led by existing investors including Katy Perry, Andreessen Horowitz, Anne and Susan Wojcicki, ex-powerhouse agent Michael Ovitz, and Temasek, which led the round. In conjunction with the funding.
“The pandemic has completely shaken up food retail: people are increasingly buying their fresh produce online, while simultaneously expecting the best in terms of quality and sustainability,” Apeel co-founder and CEO James Rogers said in a press release announcing the financing round. “We’ll use our latest funding to help our supplier and retailer partners offer a differentiated experience to their shoppers.”
Founded in 2012 by James Rogers, Apeel Sciences is fighting the $2.6 trillion-dollar global food waste crisis by utilizing advances in materials science to prevent waste in the first place. The company’s plant-derived solution for fresh food providers doubles the lifespan of harvested fruits and vegetables even without refrigeration. It develops low-cost, natural technologies to help to eliminate food spoilage, reduce water and energy use, and preserve natural ecosystems.
“It’s a misconception that people go hungry because we don’t grow enough food. The issue is the intermittency of supply and an inability to convert perishable assets into economic value,” said James Rogers, Founder, and CEO of Apeel. “The harsh reality is that it is nearly impossible today for most smallholder farmers to get their produce to a marketplace that will pay for it before it spoils. Apeel was founded on the belief that we can improve food security around the world by using technology to create opportunities for those who have limited or no access to the global food system. The new funding from IFC, Temasek, and Astanor will enable us to not only give smallholder farmers more time to market their fresh produce but also greater access to higher-value markets previously out of reach because of inevitable perishability.”
Below is a video overview of how Apeel works.