An edible coating that tackles waste and extends the life of fruits and vegetables postharvest, is the latest in agri-tech food and drink innovation.
The Scottish public currently throws out 380,000 tonnes of food and drink a year, and with food waste an issue globally, innovation around produce life-cycle is vital for industry growth and sustainability.
Edipeel, made from natural plant-based by-products, could be the answer for farmers and retailers trying to tackle the £70 million cost of Scottish fruit waste alone. The spray, made from Californian start-up Apeel Sciences, extends shelf life and freshness without refrigeration.
Environmentally friendly preservation
The natural preservation method replaces the use of wax, gas, or other techniques that keep perishable produce fresh. It also has an edible and invisible coating that protects produce from spoilage.
The coating is made from extracted oil molecules of organic waste such as grape skin, pear stems or grass clippings, and is sprayed onto fruits and vegetables after harvesting. This acts as a protective barrier that keeps water from leaving, and oxygen from entering the produce, slowing down the decaying process.
Main product benefits
The main benefits of Edipeel are:
- The reduction of food waste across the food supply chain
- The potential to increase yields at harvest time and reduce the need of pesticides
- Fruit and vegetables develop full flavour and nutrients, by avoiding harvesting before they’re ripe
- Coating tackles decaying during shipping, improving the transport and storage stages of the food chain cycle
- Reduces reliance on refrigeration, creating new and longer distance trade opportunities
- Results in a healthier and potentially more affordable product for consumers
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Edipeel and it is now starting to roll out on to the market. The price will be higher than traditional produce, but lower than organic produce, and has great potential to be used on Scottish produce and aid Scottish Government’s aims to reduce food waste by 33% by 2025.
For farmers and retailers, longer lasting produce can only result in growth opportunities. For consumers, the benefits of fresh and clean fruit and veg with longer shelf lives will appeal across the board.
Growth opportunities through innovation
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