Did you know that the food which you might have carelessly thrown away because it was going bad or of no use to you might be harmful to the environment? The millions of tons of food that is wasted or thrown away across the world have an undeniable carbon footprint and one which could cost us our future on earth.
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation, an estimated one-third of the total food produced on the earth is either thrown away or wasted. Such wastage not only involves the usage of more resources but also leads to food shortage.
With world hunger rising, the issue of food sustainability and reducing its wastage has been taking center stage. At the same time, there are a few companies that are helping people to reduce such wastage by offering scientific solutions to make produce last longer.
With its unique approach, Apeel Sciences has gained a lot of traction when it comes to reducing food wastage through scientific solutions. The company offers plant-derived coatings that can be used by food growers and retailers to keep their produce fresh for a longer period of time.
If you use Apeel coatings, chances are that your food is going to stay fresh two to three times longer. The product not only ensures that people get better quality food, but also ensures that everybody has a meal on their plate. For those involved in producing, retailing and supplying food, Apeel coatings are the only post-harvest solution they will get their hands on which can create a special microclimate for each food product. The approach increases the product’s shelf life and makes it easier to transport. Moreover, this would also decrease your dependence on controlled atmosphere settings and refrigeration.
The US-based company is the brainchild of entrepreneur James Rogers who founded the firm in 2012. The idea behind Apeel coatings is inspired by natural methods of preservation. Apeel Sciences was founded with the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and over the years has bagged backing from several venture capitalists, including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry.
The company now has satellite offices in several countries like Peru, Mexico, and the Netherlands and has established a global presence for itself. It is also working with big farming companies in Central America, Africa, and South America.
Let’s get to know about how Apeel products work. The product forms a kind of a coating around the food product, which is edible. The peel reduces the pace of the natural water loss and oxidation, which normally occurs on the surface of the food where the coating is covered with. Loss of moisture and oxidation on the surface of the food product is what leads to spoilage.
Apeel boosts the food’s power to fight against natural environmental stressors. As Apeel is made using plant-based derivatives – mostly lipids and glycerolipids and these extracts are already present in the peels (seeds and pulp of fruit and vegetables), thus Apeel coatings are perfectly safe for consumption. Its coatings are compliant with the guidelines laid down by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Apeel products are sold in powder form to customers, who can mix it with water and then apply it to the product by spraying it, brushing it, or dipping the food into the solution. Moreover, Apeel does not have any kind of taste and is odourless and colourless.
According to the company’s website, each time you use an Apeel avocado you save enough power to charge your smartphone nine times and 23 litres of water.
Apart from Apeel Sciences, there are several startups which are doing their bit to recycle food and reduce the environment effect of wasting it. Finland-based Enevo is one of them. The company was founded in 2010 by Fredrik Kekalainan and Johan Engstrom. It provides food recycling services. One can not only monitor and optimize the procedure of food recycling but can also save money on the process.
Another startup which has been making waves with its food recycling methods is MatSmart, which is headquartered in Sweden. The company functions as an online food retailer which seeks to minimize food wastage by providing alternate solutions to market surplus produce. The company sells products which are at a greater risk of being thrown away or were deemed unfit for sale due to changes in packaging or branding. Its operations extend to several European countries like Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Winnow is another company which has been revolutionizing food recycling in the hospitality industry through artificial intelligence-based tools. Its product, Winnow Vision, helps hotel kitchens reduce food wastage by tracking what goes into the bin and how efficiently chefs are using raw materials. The AI-enabled tool uses computers to monitor waste and cut costs. The tool comprises a digital scale which is connected to a tablet. The UK-based company was founded by Marc Zornes and Kevin Duffy.