Colruyt Laagste Prijzen (Lowest Price) stores in Belgium have a special kind of avocado on their shelves. These have an invisible, plant-based protective layer. It keeps oxygen out and moisture in. Ripe avocados, therefore, stay fresh twice as long. That's an important step in reducing food waste.
The Colruyt Group is using Apeel Sciences technology to extend their avocados' shelf life. "We apply a plant-based 'second skin' to the product. So, less oxygen reaches the fruit," says Michael Schaeman of Apeel Sciences.
"And less moisture escapes. Oxygen causes avocados to ripen and so spoil faster. Moisture loss causes dehydration. Avocados with Apeel protection, therefore, retain their quality and ripeness for twice as long."
This makes the Colruyt Group the first retailer in Belgium and Luxembourg to use this kind of method to extend a product's shelf life.
Avocado enveloped in a layer made from peels, pips, and fruit pulp
The Apeel plant-based 'second peel' is colorless, odorless, and uses what nature offers. It's made from components found in all fruits and vegetables - plant-derived molecules such as lipids and glycerolipids. These are found naturally in these products peels, flesh, and seeds. The protective layer is applied to the avocados to extend their shelf life and reduce food waste.
The Colruyt Group is always looking for ways to improve its products' quality and serve its customers better. "Our R&D and Innovations department is actively looking for new technologies and ideas," says Jan Schockaert, head of the Group's fruit purchasing department.
"These must positively affect our products' quality and shelf life. That fits in with our vision. We want to offer a sustainable, high-quality product range to our customers. This project is, therefore, motivated by our desire to offer people tasty, high-quality avocados they can enjoy for longer."
Shelf life x 2
Apeel's plant-based protective layer keeps the avocados ripe for twice as long. "Our tests show that an edible avocado with such a 'second peel' stays tasty and creamy a week longer. By extending the shelf life, fewer avocados will be thrown away. In this way, we're aiming for less food being wasted in our shoppers' homes," says Jan Schockaert.
These extra-protected avocados are now on sale in Colruyt Laagste Prijzen stores. You can recognize these avocados by their Apeel sticker.
The Colruyt Group is looking into using this technology on other fruit and vegetable varieties as well.