SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Oct. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Apeel, a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and a CNBC Disruptor 50, today announced $30M in new funding from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Temasek, and Astanor Ventures. Apeel will use its new funding and technology to help smallholder farmers in emerging markets, who suffer from some of the highest levels of food insecurity and waste, extend crop shelf life and gain access to new markets, including the U.S. 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.”
Supporting agribusiness and ag-tech innovation in emerging markets is a priority for IFC because of its potential for broad development impact and strong role in reducing poverty. IFC combines investments and advisory services to help the sector address higher demand and escalating food prices in an environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive way. As such, IFC invests across the agribusiness supply chain — from farm to retail — to help boost production, increase liquidity, improve logistics and distribution, and expand access to credit for small farmers.
Smallholder farmers (SHFs) managing up to five hectares produce more than 50% of the global fruit supply1, yet agricultural workers still make up 65% of all poor working adults and many smallholder farmers suffer from hunger and extreme poverty. Fresh fruits and vegetables offer SHFs much larger income opportunities2 than staple crops, and demand for fresh produce is increasing globally. The challenge is that growing something valuable is only beneficial if the farmer can access a market with a buyer. Without access to a refrigerated supply chain, much of what a SHF produces can only reach small local markets where the supply of locally grown crops often far exceeds demand. Because of perishability, these market dynamics lead to systemic poverty, significant amounts of food loss and waste, and even food insecurity for those who make their livelihoods from farming.
“Finding solutions to food insecurity and food waste is one of the world’s most pressing issues,” said Kathleen Merrigan, PhD, partner at Astanor Ventures. “Apeel’s dedication and bold vision to tackle this problem using its revolutionary technology will transform the global food system, and the lives of smallholder farmers for the better. At Astanor, we look to back ambitious businesses who are creating systemic change in the food production and agriculture supply chains and we are excited to be part of Apeel’s mission to create a more secure and sustainable food future.”
Improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers has been core to Apeel’s mission since day one. Founded in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Government, Apeel’s plant-based technology was designed to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables produced by farmers without access to the refrigerated supply chains currently required to bring crops to market. The company spent the next several years bringing the technology to scale and establishing a global supplier base and retail network. Today, Apeel produce is available nationwide in the United States, Germany and other countries across Europe, leading to a 50% reduction of food waste on U.S. and EU store shelves, while also extending shelf-life in home, where rates of food waste are three times as high as retail. With new funding in line with its mission, Apeel is one step closer to realizing its vision of creating a more participatory food system where access to fresh produce, which is a natural resource, is synonymous with economic opportunities for smallholder farmers.
Please visit Apeel’s website for more information about Apeel’s smallholder farmer programs.
Apeel is on a mission to create a more sustainable global food system by using the power of nature to enable longer-lasting produce that fights food waste from farm to kitchen. Apeel produce lasts 2x longer thanks to its plant-based protection made from materials found in the skins, peels and seeds of all fruits and vegetables. Apeel’s protective extra “peel” slows the water loss and oxidation that cause produce to go bad, and is the only proven end-to-end solution for maintaining freshness. Available for organic and conventionally grown produce, Apeel is expanding into an ever-growing number of categories and markets. Good for consumers and the planet, Apeel reduces environmental impacts and gives everyone throughout the supply chain—from growers to retailers to consumers—more time to enjoy fresh produce. Farmers can sell more of what they grow and people can consume more of what they buy, creating a healthier planet and greater abundance for all. Apeel is Food Gone Good.
Apeel is a trademark/registered trademark of Apeel Technology, Inc. in the United States, the European Union, and other jurisdictions. To learn more, visit www.apeel.com.
IFC — a member of the World Bank Group — is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Temasek is an investment company with a net portfolio value of S$306 billion as at 31 March 2020. Our three roles as an Investor, Institution and Steward, as defined in our Temasek Charter, shape our ethos to do well, do right and do good. Our investment philosophy is anchored around four key themes: Transforming Economies; Growing Middle Income Populations; Deepening Comparative Advantages; and Emerging Champions. Our investment direction in Temasek is shaped by structural trends: longer lifespans, rising affluence and sustainable living drive social progress, enabled by technological solutions for sharing economies, smarter systems and a more connected world. We actively seek sustainable solutions to address present and future challenges, as we capture investment and other opportunities that help to bring about a better, smarter and more sustainable world. For more information on Temasek, please visit www.temasek.com.sg.
ABOUT ASTANOR VENTURES
Astanor Ventures – where tech meets nature – is an impact investor that backs disruptive entrepreneurs with ambitious, scalable plans to create systemic change in the food production and agriculture supply chains. Astanor works with companies that are committed to helping restore balance and sustainability to our environment and oceans. Astanor is applying tech to food and farming, from soil to plate by regenerating agriculture and food production and restoring them to sustainability. Astanor values nature and culture, nurtures change and feeds growth.
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1 Vincent Ricciard, Navin Ramankutty, Zia Mehrab, Larissa Jarvis, Brenton Chookoling How much of the world’s food do smallholders produce? Global Food Security. 2018.
2 Schreinemachers, P., Simmons, E.B., Wopereis, M.C.S. Tapping the economic and nutritional power of vegetables. Global Food Security. 2018.
SOURCE Apeel Sciences