Apeel Sciences, founded in 2012 with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help reduce postharvest food loss in developing countries that lack access to refrigeration, today announced $250 million in new financing. Factoring in previous funding sources, the company’s valuation is now more than $1 billion dollars.
Apeel is on a mission to combat food waste by using its plant-derived solution to add a little extra “peel” to the surface of fruits and vegetables, doubling to tripling the shelf life of many produce types without the need for refrigeration. An updated report by Project Drawdown recently identified the reduction of food waste as the number one solution to address climate change based on the greenhouse gases emitted from both the production of food and having it ultimately decompose in a landfill.
Apeel dramatically reduces food waste throughout almost every step of the supply chain — from packer to retailer and ultimately to consumers at home — thereby increasing the efficiency of Earth’s resources required to feed a global population. While driving value for US and European produce suppliers and retailers will remain a top priority, Apeel’s funding also ensures greater support of the company’s initiatives in economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America that are at greater risk of food security issues and food waste.
“We are proud to team up with GIC to help create a better future with less waste,” said James Rogers, Founder and CEO of Apeel Sciences. “Food waste is an invisible tax imposed on everyone that participates in the food system. Eliminating global food waste can free up $2.6 trillion annually, allowing us to make the food ecosystem better for growers, distributors, retailers, consumers and our planet. Together, we’re putting time back on the industry’s side to help deal with the food waste crisis and the challenges it poses to food businesses.”
Additional participating investors in the company’s recent capital raise include Viking Global Investors, Upfront Ventures, Tao Capital Partners and Rock Creek Group. Santa Barbara locals Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry have also joined the effort as minority, non-participatory investors to support the company’s mission in making sustainable food systems a reality for all.
“I hate to see food wasted, when there are so many people in the world who are going without,” said Winfrey. “Apeel can extend the life of fresh produce, which is critical to our food supply and our planet too.”
To date, Apeel Sciences has achieved several major commercialization milestones with the top food retailers in the United States and Europe. On average, US retailers that use Apeel have experienced a 50 percent reduction in shrink, a 5 to 10 percent growth in dollar sales, and an incremental 10 percent growth in dollar sales when sold in conjunction with in-store marketing campaigns.
In recent weeks, COVID-19 and its vast personal and economic impact have caused major disruptions in the food supply chain. Understanding the resources and functions required to grow, produce and move food through the system has made the need to safeguard our precious food supply more apparent than ever. The current food system is calibrated so closely to past supply and demand expectations and the exact perishability of fresh produce that when the system is stretched, the system breaks. By introducing more time, access and freshness across the supply chain, Apeel’s technology extends value and increases operational flexibility for suppliers and retailers. Additionally, shoppers who are more cognizant of their own personal food supply can bring home high-quality produce with a longer window to enjoy it.