Apeel is to offer retailers a device for use by consumers that can inform them of the exact ripeness of their avocados before purchasing. The RipeFinder is part of a range of new solutions launched by the food technology company to instantly and non-destructively determine the ripeness of avocados.
By coupling advanced imaging technology with machine learning, Apeel provides visibility into internal quality and ripeness, to help producers and grocery retailers to make more informed sorting, shipping, and merchandising decisions, which has the potential to further mitigate food waste and help consumers enjoy consistently ripe and reliable avocados.
James Rogers, chief executive of Apeel, said the company was expanding beyond its original mission to prevent food waste across the supply chain with its plant-based protective coating.
Our mission hasn’t changed, but we are evolving our offerings to further drive change in the food system. The expansion of our technology offerings will increase access to insights to create a smarter supply chain that maximises the lifespan, quality, and sustainability of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Rogers.
He said Apeel’s technology has implications for the entire produce industry and has been optimised to increase value for partners at different stages of the supply chain, as well as for consumers.
Its new solutions include an improved AI data model for imaging hardware in produce sorters at packing houses and distribution centres. Developed in collaboration with Maf Industries, these devices scan avocados and instantly group them into categories according to ripeness and dry matter.
Once sorted, the fruit can be routed to the optimal retailer based on remaining shelf-life to help prevent food waste. The new data model is global, enabling it to be implemented without time-consuming calibration. This inline sorting technology is being tested in a commercial packhouse in Europe.
Apeel has also launched a produce quality scanner for distributors and grocery retailers that can be used to evaluate ripeness and dry matter of individual avocados. The company said these devices are more than five times faster than existing methods, do not damage fruit, and insights are automatically captured in a cloud database to inform receiving, stocking, and merchandising decisions. The scanner is currently being tested at retail locations in North America and Europe.
Apeel unveiled the RipeFinder at the International Fresh Produce Association’s Global Produce & Floral Show in Orlando on October 27-29. The RipeFinder features a consumer-friendly user interface that displays ripeness information to consumers in an easy to understand way with messages such as “your avocado is ready for a salad” or “your avocado will be ready in about four days”.
Apeel said advanced imaging technology is currently only available for avocados, but the company is working on models for other produce including limes, mangos, and mandarins.