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How a Bill Gates-Funded Startup Hacked the Avocado

Avocados with a longer shelf life will soon be available at 30 Costco locations in the Midwest

A pile of ripe avocados Shutterstock

Throwing out spoiled avocados may be a thing of the past, thanks to a California-based startup that counts Bill Gates among its backers. Apeel Sciences says it’s devised a way to keep avocados at peak ripeness for twice as long, Bloomberg reports, which could drastically cut back on food waste at grocery stores (and at the homes of avocado toast-loving millennials).

Apeel uses recycled plant material to make a powder, which is then mixed with water and used to wash the avocados, resulting in a kind of “second skin” being applied to the fruit. According to the company, “Apeel keeps moisture inside produce and oxygen out, which dramatically slows the rate that produce spoils.” Apeel says its product is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, and has been tested on more than two dozen different types of fruits and vegetables, though for now it’s focusing on the pricey and popular avocado.

The company is currently testing its product on avocados in a partnership with produce supplier Del Rey Avocados; they will be available in more than 100 Midwestern grocery stores, including 30 Costco locations.

While avocados that stay ripe for longer would seemingly be welcome just about everywhere, it makes particular sense for them to be sold at Costco, the bulk retailer where avocados are sold in multi-count bags rather than individually.

Other recent innovations in the world of avocados include “cocktail avocados,” miniature seedless versions that can apparently be eaten skin and all. What a world.

Bill Gates-Backed Upstart Helps Costco Keep Avocados Ripe Longer [Bloomberg]
Seedless Avocados Are Here to Keep You From Cutting Off Your Hands [E]