AI imaging technology looks deep inside supermarket produce

James Rogers, CEO, Apeel Sciences

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Apeel, a California-based firm tackling world meals waste, introduced Tuesday that the corporate has made its first acquisition: a software program start-up named ImpactVision, which makes use of synthetic intelligence and machine studying to trace the chemical composition of meals all through its shelf life.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Apeel was most not too long ago valued at $1.1 billion following a December funding spherical that included World Bank Group and Temasek Holdings, in line with PitchBook.

In 2012, Apeel engineered a plant-based edible coating that may make produce final two to a few instances as lengthy. It has been examined on dozens of various kinds of fruit and greens however is commercially accessible for avocados, natural apples and citrus fruits (mandarins, lemons, limes, finger limes).

The coating is extracted from lipids that come from the identical produce to which the coating is finally utilized. The water-based resolution extends shelf life by stopping oxidation and water loss, from the grocery retailer to the buyer’s dwelling, although because of the proprietary nature of its science, Apeel doesn’t disclose intensive particulars on the formulation.

“ImpactVision’s technology can predict the internal quality of food products from hyperspectral images. When this ability to ‘see beyond the borders of human vision’ is combined with Apeel’s shelf-life extension technology, the potential to fundamentally transform produce supply chains to reduce post-harvest loss, optimize distribution and lengthen shelf-life is enormous,” mentioned ImpactVision founder Abi Ramanan in a press release saying the deal.

Apeel plans to make use of ImpactVision’s imaging technology to offer higher insights for the corporate’s suppliers. The photographs technology captures knowledge that consider freshness, diploma of maturity, phytonutrient content material, and different elements of produce high quality.

“We now have an opportunity to quantify the quality, sustainability and nutritional data of produce, which historically was only possible using destructive measurement techniques,” Apeel co-founder and CEO James Rogers instructed CNBC. “Being able to see things within produce that are invisible to the naked eye provides actionable insights to customers on how to best manage the lifespan of a piece of fruit as it traverses through the supply chain, ultimately bringing food waste closer to zero.”

Nearly 25% of fruits and vegetables are lost globally, and North America is among the many world areas with the very best stage of meals waste. Food waste prices the United States an estimated $218 billion yearly, whereas costing the globe practically $940 billion, in line with the EPA and UN Food and Agriculture Organization. 

Produce that bears Apeel’s preservative coating is presently accessible within the U.S. at CostcoKroger and Harps Food Stores, and in July, the company partnered with Wakefern Food Corp., bringing their limes to greater than 360 supermarkets within the Northeast. Wakefern model shops embrace StoreRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market.

Apeel ranked No. 34 on final 12 months’s CNBC Disruptor 50 listing. The 2021 Disruptor 50 listing shall be revealed on-air and on-line, May 25.