I’ll go on record: Avocados are delicious. There. It’s been said. It doesn’t matter how in vogue the fruit may be (looking at you, avo-lattes and $15 avocado-on-toast on every hipster brunch menu!) or how rare they might be getting, the fact is, Jack, that avocados are healthy, heart-friendly, and for now at least, plentiful.
The only bad thing about avocados is that they don’t last very long. From the initial poke to test ripeness (my wife calls it the “squidge” test) in the grocery store to the inevitable moment you realize that you’ve let your avocado get too ripe, those things have a prime moment that can be hard to miss. Drum roll please… until now.
Luckily for us, a company named Apeel Sciences from Goleta, CA, is developing what we at the Big Think offices have lovingly coined the Avocado 2.0. It’s an avocado that lasts up to four times longer in a lab setting than a regular avocado thanks to an organic, near-invisible film that locks in the avocado’s freshness. It’s already available at Costco stores in the midwest, and the company hopes to expand further. With a hefty grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it looks like they’ll succeed.
They’re also developing different types of their special organic film for different products. Mangos, the world’s most popular fruit, is getting special treatment, as is cassava, an African crop that has long been a staple for many in developing countries. If Apeel can lengthen the shelf-life of those fruits and veg alone, it’s not without hyperbole to say that they could be doing wonders for the hungry of this world.
All this is being done to cut down on food waste, a rampant problem. America throws away 63 million tons of food per year, with almost half of that being food from restaurants and grocery stores. Fruit and vegetables account for about $18.2 billion in losses every year, usually because they “look bad” because consumers are used to seeing “perfect” fruit and veg in advertisements.
Take a look for yourself. Could you even think about leaving an avocado out for a month before?