USA – Apeel Sciences, a California-based company on mission to combat food waste and improve resilience in the fresh food supply chain, has raised US$250 million in new financing round led by GIC, bringing the company’s valuation to over US$1 billion.
Apeel Sciences, which has also looped in Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry as investors, was founded in 2012 with a US$100, 000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help reduce postharvest food loss, specially in developing countries that lack access to refrigeration.
The company has developed a plant-derived technology aimed at fighting the global food waste crisis by helping fresh food growers, suppliers, and retailers to maintain produce quality and extend shelf life, which minimizes food waste from the farm to the retail shelf to the kitchen table.
With the new financing, Apeel Sciences said that it will be able to continue tackling the food waste problem on the global level. In 2020, Apeel says that it is on track to save 20 million pieces of fruit from going to waste at retail stores, while also extending shelf-life in the home where food waste rates are three times as high.
Amid the current global pandemic, our food system is a telling example of how interconnected our world really is. Despite geographic or economic differences, Apeel Sciences noted that the world is still fed by the “same, outdated, inefficient, and maxed out infrastructure” in which 1 in 9 people go hungry and roughly one-third of the food we produce never gets eaten.
By 2050, the global population is expected to reach 10 billion, which will require 56% more food. The company believes that tackling food waste is one of the key solutions towards ensuring that the planet is able to sustainably feed the growing population within the boundaries of the available resources.
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 has hence set out to combat food waste by using its plant-derived solution to add a little extra “peel” to the surface of fruits and vegetables, which the company says doubles or even triples the shelf life of many produce types without the need for refrigeration.
The company’s technology is able to dramatically reduce 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 U.S. and European produce suppliers and retailers will remain the company’s top priority, Apeel said that the funding will 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.
“Food waste is an invisible tax imposed on everyone that participates in the food system. Eliminating global food waste can free up US$2.6 trillion annually, allowing us to make the food ecosystem better for growers, distributors, retailers, consumers and our planet,” comments James Rogers, founder and CEO of Apeel Sciences.
Together with its current backers (which include Viking Global Investors, Upfront Ventures, Tao Capital Partners, S2G Ventures, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rock Creek Group UK Department for International Development) James said that Apeel has “the opportunity to see how our collective actions can create sustainable solutions that builds an abundant future for all.”