Earth produces foods which is enough to feed everyone in the planet. Despite that roughly one in 10 people in the world were going hungry. This statement stuck with Apeel Sciences founder James Rogers when he was listening to the podcast about world hunger while driving from Santa Barbara and to the university’s Berkeley Lab.
How Apeel Science was started?
James Rogers got the idea about Apeel science when he was working on his Ph.D. in materials science at UC Santa Barbara. He was trying to develop a solar paint that could gather the sun’s energy much like solar panels.
To come with solution, first you should understand the problem. Rogers realized that the problem came down to distribution. Food is perishable item. So the time taken for the food to reach consumer from where it was produced determines the wastage. The wastage of food is high as there were no means to store the food for longer period of time.
Rogers was determined to change that notion. He got the idea to put coat on fruits and vegetables to make to last longer from the steel company. Steel company coats iron with steels to save the metal from getting rusty.
In order to build coat for fruits and vegetables first you should know fruits and vegetable properly. He had little knowledge about plants. Therefore he first studied about plants and their features.
In fact, Rogers learned enough that he was able to flesh out his idea and apply for a research endowment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This gave him $100,000 that marked the beginning of Apeel.
Rogers recruited two researchers he knew from his Ph.D. program and they got to work developing the product that would become Apeel.
Apeel puts Edipeel coating on fruits and vegetables. The point of the Edipeel coating is, simply, to act as a physical obstacle that decelerate the evaporation process and regulates how much oxygen gets into produce. Apeel makes its invisible coating out of the fatty acids and other biological compounds taken from the peels, seeds and pulp of other fruits and vegetables, the FDA has deemed it safe to eat.
Apeel Sciences Funding
The startup founded in 2012 has raised a total of $110 million in funding from investors. Investor include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as investment firms Viking Global Investors and Andreessen Horowitz.
How Apeel Sciences is solving current issue?
After six years of its establishment, Apeel has finally started to make difference in the fighting the global hunger epidemic. The main customers of Apeel includes: vegetable producers like Del Rey Avocado, Horton Fruit and Eco Farmsand. Also it is partnering with US retailers (who currently lose more than $18 billion a year due to wasted food).
Now Apeel is working with the farmers of developing countries such as Kenya and Nigeria. Edipeel is awaiting regulatory approval, in order to help them keep their produce fruits and vegetables fresh long enough to be transported from rural areas to larger markets where they can feed the local population.