Prolonging youth…for avocados!

Prolonging youth…for avocados!

How many times have you bought fresh avocados and discovered a few days later that they were rotten inside? This familiar experience may soon be a thing of the past.

Apeel Sciences, a food technology start-up, is tackling the problem of food waste. Edipeel is a plant-based coating that prolongs the shelf life of some produce by several weeks.

The benefits of Edipeel have earned the company a spot on 2018 CNBC Disruptor list comprising companies whose innovations are changing the world.


Video Spotlight: see the video on Edipeel featured in the article


This post is based on the CNBC.com article, This Bill Gates-backed start-up is fighting world hunger by making your avocados last longer, by T. Huddleston, Jr., December 31, 2018. Image source: slobo/iStock/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the quality characteristics of Edipeel? Is it compatible with the trend toward organic farming?

Guidance: Characteristics include longer shelf life of perishable produce (performance); invisible, odorless, tasteless (aesthetics); edible (special features); endorsement from well-known philanthropic and private organizations (perceived quality); and combating world hunger (image).

The article does not provide enough information to determine whether the product meets conformance, reliability, durability, serviceability, and consistency requirements.

Made of fatty acids and organic compounds taken from fruits and vegetables, Edipeel seems to be compatible with the trend toward organic growing.

2. From a product design perspective, what seems to be the primary challenge for Apeel Sciences?

Guidance: The product is designed to delay spoilage by slowing down the evaporation process and preventing oxidation. Currently, Edipeel is only applied on avocados. Different formulas are required for different fruits and vegetables. Finding the adequate formula and therefore controlling unique evaporation and oxidation processes for each produce is the primary challenge.

3. How can Edipeel affect each player in the supply chain?

Guidance: Farmers/producers can pick their fruit when it is almost ripe as opposed to unripe, thereby enhancing its quality. In remote areas, they can keep their produce fresh before it is transported to middlemen and markets. Distribution can be slowed down, potentially decreasing transportation costs and losses due to spoilage during transportation. Retailers also reduce losses due to frequent spoilage. Consumers enjoy better fruit and vegetables that can be kept in the refrigerator longer. Of course, the accumulation of “extra” time at each stage of the supply chain could negate the benefits to final consumers.

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