In its latest effort to reduce food waste as part of its Zero Hunger, Zero Waste initiative, the Kroger Co. said it would stock avocados that stay ripe for twice as long as conventional options.
The avocados are treated with a plant-derived coating developed by Apeel Sciences, which according to its website, are designed to keep moisture in and oxygen out extending the freshness of products, according to its website. Goleta, Calif.-based Apeel was recently named a 2018 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and a CNBC Disruptor 50. Kroger said its partnership is another step toward its goal of eliminating food waste by 2025.
The avocados, which will be supplied by the Horton Fruit Co., will roll out initially to Kroger's Cincinnati market, with plans to expand to more cities in the future.
Frank Romero, Kroger's VP of produce, praised Apeel as an "innovative partner that will help Kroger reduce food waste and redefine the customer experience through first-to-market technology," adding that the retailer's partnership with Apeel developed as a result of the work Kroger is doing with startups and enterprising companies.
Additionally, the retailer recently revealed plans to open an innovation lab out of the University of Cincinnati to further drive technology creation.
Apeel's work and new partnership comes on the heels of $70 million in new financing spearheaded by Viking Global Investors and is a component of the company's plan to create programs that scale-up operations in categories such as avocados, citrus, berries, stone fruit and asparagus.
"Kroger is at the forefront of the fight against food waste, and we're honored to be a resource in their journey to zero waste," said James Rogers, CEO and founder of Apeel. "Kroger's commitment to families and the health of the environment is admirable, and together we believe we can dramatically advance our shared goal of less waste and better-quality food for all."