James Rogers, CEO, Apeel Sciences. (Source: Scott Myln/CNBC)

Apeel Banks on Reducing Spoilage by Acquiring ImpactVision to ‘See’ Deterioration

One major problem that modern tech, including AI, is addressing may come as a complete shock for some—nearly 25% of fruits and vegetables are lost globally. North America is among the global regions with the highest level of food waste. The amount of food the world wastes on a yearly basis is astonishing, especially considering how many people globally are starving needlessly.

Food waste costs the United States an estimated $218 billion annually while costing the globe nearly $940 billion, according to the EPA and UN Food and Agriculture Organization. How can we have people in mile-long lines during the pandemic year of 2020 just to get boxes of food? In America? And fortunately, there was food available from many charities. Many nations don’t have that kind of infrastructure to accomplish something as vital as a food bank line.

Good news on the wasted food front comes from an article on cnbc.com written by Riley De Leon. Apeel, a company that is already putting its product in the homes of America, has new ideas on how to avoid food waste.

In 2012, Apeel engineered a plant-based edible coating that can make produce last two to three times as long. It has been tested on dozens of different types of fruit and vegetables but is commercially available for avocados, organic apples and citrus fruits (mandarins, lemons, limes, finger limes).

The coating is extracted from lipids that come from the same produce to which the coating is ultimately applied. The water-based solution extends shelf life by preventing oxidation and water loss, from the grocery store to the consumer’s home, though due to the proprietary nature of its science, Apeel does not disclose extensive details on the formula.

So Apeel has been keeping some of our food on the shelves longer and it remains edible. Well, Apeel is now ready to use new technology to scan our fruits and vegetables and make them viable even longer.

Keeping a Closer Eye on Food Spoilage

The  California-based company tackling global food waste, announced Tuesday that the Apeel has made its first acquisition: a software start-up named ImpactVision, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to track the chemical composition of food throughout its shelf life.

“ImpactVision’s technology can predict the internal quality of food products from hyperspectral images. When this ability to ‘see beyond the borders of human vision’ is combined with Apeel’s shelf-life extension technology, the potential to fundamentally transform produce supply chains to reduce post-harvest loss, optimize distribution and lengthen shelf-life is enormous,” said ImpactVision founder Abi Ramanan in a statement announcing the deal.

Apeel plans to use ImpactVision’s imaging technology to provide better insights for the company’s suppliers. The image technology captures data that evaluate freshness, degree of maturity, phytonutrient content, and other aspects of produce quality.

The coating, scanning, and evaluating of our produce covers a lot of ground and  Apeel appears to have the funding and the right idea about using AI in helping stop the enormous amount of food waste in our world.

Apeel ranked No. 34 on last year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list.

read more at cnbc.com