Kroger Partners with The Horton Fruit Company and Apeel Sciences to Reduce Food Waste
CINCINNATI, OH and SANTA BARBARA, CA - One of the U.S.’s largest retailers—Kroger—has announced a new partnership with Apeel Sciences, the Bill Gates-backed ag tech startup that’s turning avocado spoilage into a thing of the past. The new partnership will involve The Horton Fruit Company supplying Apeel avocados to the grocery titan, starting in its hometown of Cincinnati.
"Apeel is an innovative partner that will help Kroger reduce food waste and redefine the customer experience through first-to-market technology," Frank Romero, Kroger's Vice President of Produce, said. "Kroger's relationship with Apeel developed as a result of the exciting work we're doing with startups and enterprising companies to create the future of retail now."
Kroger will launch Apeel avocados in 109 stores in its Cincinnati market, with plans to expand to new cities.
This month also marks the one-year anniversary of Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative—which is, in part, aimed at eliminating food waste across the company by 2025. Apeel avocados boast double the ripe time, which allows for less food waste on the shelf and at home.
"Kroger is at the forefront of the fight against food waste, and we're honored to be a resource in their journey to zero waste," said James Rogers, CEO and Founder of Apeel. "Kroger's commitment to families and the health of the environment is admirable, and together, we believe we can dramatically advance our shared goal of less waste and better-quality food for all."
Through the partnership, Kroger noted in its press release, the retailer will be able to offer the freshest avocados to shoppers and reduce food waste on the shelf and at home.
According to the retailer’s press release, roughly one-third of food goes to waste throughout the global supply chain, and the partnership between Apeel and Kroger marks a measurable step toward preventing food waste at every level.
Annually, Americans throw away more than 400 pounds of food per person, costing a household of four approximately $1,800. Collective retail losses due to food waste amount to an estimated $18 billion.
Apeel avocados maintain optimal quality and ripeness twice as long, without requiring the use of refrigeration or preservatives, stopping food waste before it happens and making it possible for premium quality avocados to reach more people across the country. The company was recently named a 2018 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and a CNBC Disruptor 50. The Kroger and Apeel partnership comes after Apeel's news last month of $70 million in new financing led by a leading global hedge fund, Viking Global Investors, and the company's plans to accelerate operational scale-up in response to supplier and retailer demand for programs across avocado, citrus, berry, stone fruit, and asparagus categories.
Additionally, Kroger noted, Fortune recently recognized Kroger on its 2018 Change the World list—a list for the retailer's bold social impact plan Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, which aims to end hunger in the communities Kroger calls home and eliminate waste across the company by 2025. The annual list highlights the work of 57 big companies—Kroger the sixth among them—using their resources to solve societal problems.