Apeel, a California-based company, produces an edible peel technology that covers produce and offers an alternative to single-use plastic packaging.
The peel works by slowing water loss and oxidation — the leading cause of produce spoilage. This increases the shelf life of cucumbers and reduces the chances they will end up in the landfill. Apeel reports that produce coated with Apeel technology lasts just as long as those with plastic packaging and maintains quality for twice as long as those with no packaging.
The company produces this protective layer from the peel or skin of fruits and vegetables to produce a protective layer. By replacing the plastic wrapping for cucumbers, Apeel reports that they are able to reduce the carbon and fossil fuel emissions associated with plastic manufacturing and food waste.
Currently, waste from food packaging accounts for almost 45 percent of the materials in landfills according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Houweling’s and Apeel estimate that the technology will eliminate the equivalent of 820,000 single-use plastic water bottles.
This is the first time that Apeel’s technology is being used in a retail grocery store. Walmart is among the first stores to pilot the new plastic-free cucumbers.
Apeel and Houweling’s Group hopes that plastic-free cucumbers become the norm and believe that customers are also looking for an alternative.
“When surveying the cucumber consumer, we heard loud and clear the desire to avoid single-use plastics, with 62 percent holding the preference,” David Bell, Houweling’s Group CMO says in a statement. “This echoed the direct requests we hear from consumers and retail partners around removing the plastic. Quite simply, it wasn’t possible until we found Apeel.”
Photo courtesy of mohamed hassouna, Unsplash