Shelf-life extension specialist Apeel has shared US sustainability impact numbers for its treated limes, currently sold in over 3,000 grocery stores across the country including Kroger and CUB banner markets.
New data shows that Apeel-protected limes maintain freshness and green colour for 17 days more than untreated limes, which reduces waste and avoids environmental impacts.
"This provides retailers with quantitative evidence that Apeel’s technology can serve as a key component of their sustainability initiatives and also reduce customers’ in-home waste," the group outlined.
The data showed that, over the last 18 months, retailers and Apeel made a measurable impact on food waste by preventing an estimated 4.7m limes from going to waste.
This resulted in 250m litres of water conserved, enough to fill 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools, and 230 tonnes CO2-eq of greenhouse gas emissions avoided, equivalent to planting 3,900 trees.
Apeel’s edible plant-based protection doubles the shelf-life of produce by keeping moisture in and oxygen out – the primary causes of spoilage.
For Apeel-protected limes, that means better colour and less desiccation, and the avoidance of premature rot.
Apeel said this had afforded retailers with the chance to sell limes that normally would have gone to waste due to mere discolouration, and has provided supply partners like Robinson Fresh, Sicar and Colimex, and wholesalers like Peirone, a differentiated way to meet retailers’ quality and sustainability needs.
Shoppers are gaining value too with Apeel-protected limes showing 93 per cent less desiccation and 85 per cent reduction in yellowing severity compared to non-Apeel limes after 28 days in ambient conditions, the study showed.
“Our collaboration with retailers that have the same objective as Apeel to reduce food waste has also proven to impact their bottom line with consistently strong ROI,” said David Nelley, vice-president of buyer sales, Apeel. “With more ripe, green coloured limes on store shelves, retailers have realised increased sales due to more limes in shopping baskets versus waste baskets, also reducing shrink by 30 per cent on average.”
“Our commitment has always been to bring exceptional value to our customers without sacrificing quality,” said Charlie Russell, director of produce and floral at Cub.
“Since collaborating with Apeel to bring customers the best possible produce in the categories of avocados and limes so far, we not only saw shrink go down, but our sales have gone up by the same margins," Russell continued. "This is a testament to the value provided by Apeel’s longer-lasting produce.
"Consumers are no longer mining through bins of limes to find that perfect green colour. They know by choosing an Apeel lime, they’re choosing one with peak ripeness that will last noticeably longer on their kitchen counters at home.”