US – California-based fresh produce preservation company Apeel has raised US$250 million in Series E funding led by existing investor Temasek and participated in by other investors including Katy Perry, Andreessen Horowitz and Mirae Asset Global Investments.
According to a report by Food Dive, the latest funding round brings the company’s total funding to more than US$635 million and a valuation of over US$2 billion.
Apeel will use the funding to increase the availability of products using the company’s invisible, edible “skin” that extends shelf life, the company said in a statement.
The money will also be used to create new supply networks, ramp up retailer partnerships and boost data and insights offerings, including evaluating potential acquisitions.
In recent years, food manufacturers have ramped up efforts to reduce food waste in their operations.
Food waste accounts for roughly 8 percent of global greenhouse gases, and Project Drawdown has identified reducing food waste as the most impactful action to fight climate change.
This has created a need for solutions to help keep fresh produce fresh for longer, leading to the rising demand for Apeel’s edible “skin”.
Since 2019, the company says it has prevented 42 million pieces of fruit from going to waste at retail, which has helped avoid 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions and conserve nearly 4.7 billion liters of water.
With this latest round of funding, Apeel plans to grow the supply network it has created with suppliers and retailers beyond the 30 it currently has across eight countries.
As part of the announcement, Apeel said a new partner, citrus distributor AM Fresh, will be on-boarded to help the company co-create its supply networks.
By the end of 2021, Apeel aims to add 10 more supply networks across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America, and southern Europe, Strong said.
Apeel also said it may use the latest funds for more acquisitions, particularly ones that could help it expand its data capabilities, grow its understanding of external and internal qualities of produce, and enable the company to label items with a “Best If Used By” date and nutritional content, Strong said.
Apeel also recently debuted a subscription component for FruitStand, its direct-to-consumer model for small-scale farmers.
Starting at US$36 per month, the membership gives a 15% discount on certain offers, member-only live chats and events, free shipping on monthly orders and more.
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