A new long-lasting avocado is launching in Costco. It's sold by the Del Rey Avocado Company and is coated with a plant-derived additive that doubles its shelf life. It will cost about $5 for a bag of five avocados.
The avocados are treated with a powder from Apeel Sciences that is made from lipids and glycerolipids (think: fats). The powder is mixed with water and misted onto the avocados to slow down water loss and oxidation, preventing spoilage. While a natural, untreated avocado lasts 3 to 4 days on the shelf, or 7 to 10 days in the fridge, Apeel said that those coated with its additive can last 2 to 3 times as long.
The rate at which an avocado ripens "is so mysterious," Apeel CEO James Rogers told BuzzFeed News, and it means a lot of people miss the window when it's at perfect ripeness. The company hopes that its product will help cut down on food waste.
The new additive lengthens that ripe window, but warning: It also means that the fruit takes at least twice as long to ripen. So if you buy an unripe one, your avocado will have to sit on the counter for a while.
Other companies have tried to come up with different solutions. In the UK, the grocery chain Tesco recently launched a new plastic packaging that extends an avocado's shelf life by two days, but it is neither recyclable nor compostable.
Apeel's powder is made from fats found in the peels, seeds, and pulp of all different kinds of fruits and vegetables that often get tossed after harvest, according to the company. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
The label on Del Rey's new avocado will not list the coating as an ingredient, but it will bear the Apeel logo. This is the first Apeel-treated product on the market.
Rogers, 33, said that the company already has tested the product on dozens of varieties of fruits and vegetables — from strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, oranges, lemons, and limes to asparagus and leafy greens. But he decided to launch with an avocado because, let's be honest, "People have a more visceral reaction to throwing away an avocado than lettuce."
Globally, $2.6 trillion worth of food is wasted every year, but "Apeel has more implications than just food waste. It also saves energy, water, and raises the nutritional profile," the company said in an emailed statement. It has raised $40 million in funding to date.