Retail chain Walmart will be among the first to offer plastic-free Apeel English cucumbers coated in a plant-based “peel” that preserves freshness and will save approximately 60,000 pounds of plastic waste annually. Eco-innovator Apeel Sciences develops edible produce peels which create a seal that slows water loss and oxidation in fruit and vegetables, thereby extending their shelf life by two to three times and reducing food waste substantially. The launch of Apeel English cucumbers represents the first time that the company has eliminated plastic waste through its technology, as well.
Apeel partnered with California-based vegetable grower Houweling’s Group to bring its innovation to Walmart. “From the first time we reviewed the potential of plastic-free cucumbers, we saw the opportunity and the challenge of bringing avante garde technology to market,” Houweling’s Group President and CEO Kevin Doran said. “From a high-level, the opportunity to lead a disruption in this category and improve our decorated sustainability profile put us on course to where we are today.” David Bell, Houweling’s Group Chief Marketing Officer, noted that internal surveys of cucumber consumers revealed that 62 percent are avoiding single-use plastics. “This echoed the direct requests we hear from consumers and retail partners around removing the plastic,” Bell said about Houweling’s partnership with Apeel. “Quite simply, it wasn’t possible until we found Apeel.”
For every 500,000 cases shipped of the plastic-free English cucumbers, Houweling’s Group and Apeel will eliminate the equivalent of 820,000 single-use plastic water bottles and reduce greenhouse gases at the equivalent of planting 790 trees.
In 2018, Apeel’s long-lasting avocados first appeared at select Costco locations and expanded to 1,100 Kroger stores nationwide in 2019. Apeel also uses its technology on limes and organic apples sold in major retailers in the United States, along with citrus fruit and avocados distributed throughout the European Union.