Let’s face it: from peppers to cucumbers, plastic has proliferated through the produce aisle just as calls have gone up to greatly reduce plastic usage. So we wanted to put the Apeel solution to the test - not just for extending shelf life, but to reduce the need for plastic. We started with a household staple that is increasingly sheathed in shrink wrap: Long English Cucumbers.
Plant-Based Apeel vs. Plastic
And what does Apeel do better than plastic? We keep cucumbers fresher, longer (and greener too)! The proof is in the time-lapse video. And whereas normally we would show side-by-side comparisons of produce with and without Apeel, with Long English Cucumbers we compared plastic wrapped cucumbers vs Apeel protected ones.
Cucumbers Need Protection
From the moment a cucumber is harvested, the race is on to keep it fresh for the consumer. Current methods for extending their shelf life include refrigeration, which slows decay but can cause chilling injury, and single-use plastic, which retains moisture but leads to a whole lot of harmful plastic waste.
When reaching for a cucumber in the produce aisle, the quality traits we look for include firmness, the deep color green (until it starts to turn yellow as chlorophyll breaks down), and whether or not it has dehydrated or decayed. Cucumbers contain over 95 percent water (USDA-ARS), which means holding in moisture is key to longevity. For that reason, a certain inedible and non-biodegradable solution has been key to holding moisture: plastic. Until now.
Enter: Apeel’s Solution
While plastic provides the benefit of extended shelf-life, our partners at Houweling’s had been receiving feedback from their customers who were concerned with all that plastic. Meanwhile, we had been thinking about how to use our plant-based solution to avoid plastic usage, given increasing demand to reduce plastic consumption. Cucumbers turned out to be the perfect first step.
Apeel Cucumbers maintain water, firmness, and color without the use of single-use plastics, helping suppliers and retailers deliver fresh-picked quality and flavor while reducing their environmental footprint. Apeel delays the onset of mold, discoloration, and shriveling in cucumbers better than plastic, including those in overwrap trays and shrink wrap. By protecting shelf life and facilitating transportability without the use of plastics, Apeel helps reduce the environmental impact and save money at every stage in the supply chain.
Free the Cucumbers
We’re making the promise of plastic-free produce real with world-renowned greenhouse grower Houweling’s. As purveyors of fine Long English Cucumbers, Houweling’s will begin using Apeel in 2020 to retain color and maintain quality in both refrigeration and retail conditions.
We’re proud of this new partnership. Together, we’re launching the Free the Cucumbers campaign in preparation for Houweling’s plastic-free cucumbers in 2020.
Interested in learning more about Apeel? Get in touch with our sales team! We look forward to helping you reduce your reliance on single use plastics.