Apeel, an innovative Californian company using edible coatings on fresh produce to curb food waste and insecurity, has topped up its funding pot with $30 million.
The funding, from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Temasek, and Astanor Ventures, will be used to help smallholder farmers in emerging markets extend crop shelf life and gain access to new markets, including the US and Germany.
“It’s a misconception that people go hungry because we don’t grow enough food. The issue is the intermittency of supply and an inability to convert perishable assets into economic value,” said James Rogers, Founder and CEO of Apeel.
“The harsh reality is that it is nearly impossible today for most smallholder farmers to get their produce to a marketplace that will pay for it before it spoils.
“Apeel was founded on the belief that we can improve food security around the world by using technology to create opportunities for those who have limited or no access to the global food system.
“The new funding from IFC, Temasek, and Astanor will enable us to not only give smallholder farmers more time to market their fresh produce, but also greater access to higher-value markets previously out of reach because of inevitable perishability.”
In conjunction with IFC, Apeel’s new programs for smallholder farmers will lead to the establishment of Apeel-powered supply chains in Sub-Saharan Africa, Mexico, Central and South America, and Southeast Asia.
Apeel’s technology will also be used to improve domestic supply chains, reducing food loss without the use of refrigeration, while increasing access to nutrition and improving domestic economic opportunities for smallholder farmers, informal retailers and consumers within developing countries.
With decreased food loss and improved quality throughout the supply chain, smallholder farmers will be able to access new market opportunities previously out of reach without a cold infrastructure or means for rapid transport.
“Innovative technologies can change the course of development in emerging markets and save livelihoods, economies, and in this case, food,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, interim Managing Director and Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer, of IFC.
“We are excited to partner with Apeel to invest in a game-changing technology that can limit food waste by half, enhance sustainability, and mitigate climate change.
“By joining our forces and expertise, we will also help local farmers, distributors, and retailers preserve produce and expand exports to markets that were previously too far to reach.”