There’s no doubt this year has been one of unprecedented challenges.
The COVID-19 pandemic has strained health systems and brought about times of economic uncertainty. At the same time, our global food system has been pushed to the limit, exposing pervasive issues around food supply, food security, and food waste. While the challenges are daunting, Apeel strives to be a part of the solution and lead our food system towards a more sustainable future. As the year comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect back on the actions we’ve taken to further our mission of ensuring an abundant future for all.
2020 was a year of growth and change for Apeel. Bolstered by a Series D funding round in May, our headcount more than doubled for the second year in a row to a total of 500 employees. We expanded our product offerings to include Spanish oranges and mandarins for German retailer, Edeka.
Throughout 2020, we followed through on our announcement from last year to expand Apeel Avocados into Kroger stores across the United States. In addition, Wakefern began offering Apeel Limes in all their stores. We partnered with apple growers Starr Ranch, Stemilt, and Sage Fruit to offer Apeel Organic Apples in the United States. In Europe, Migros and Hoogvliet joined Edeka in offering Apeel Avocados. Through these partnerships, we were able to see some big wins for our planet: for example, Edeka was able to reduce avocado waste in their stores by 50% with Apeel.
This year also brought about a shift in what we share about the environmental benefits of our products. In January, we launched our Apeel sustainability website and published our product life cycle assessment, sharing that by choosing an Apeel Avocado you help avoid 42 grams of greenhouse gas emissions and conserve 14 liters of water. In November, we launched our Food Gone Good campaign to highlight that when produce lasts twice as long with Apeel, the benefits reach far beyond your plate.
Our efforts to reduce food waste are only part of our mission: Apeel is also committed to creating a more abundant future for farmers around the world. In October, we announced a round of funding from the International Finance Corporation; this Apeel and IFC partnership will help bring the Apeel solution to smallholder farmers in emerging markets. By helping these farmers preserve the quality of their crop, reduce waste, and reach new markets, Apeel strives to address pervasive inequities and create a more participatory food system.
This notion of a more participatory food system is built on a foundation of respect and inclusion. 2020 also brought to light the ongoing racial injustices and systemic racism that exist in the United States. Apeel demonstrated its commitment to and support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement by investing in organizations cultivating a new generation of leaders that will make a positive impact on matters of racial equality. We formed an internal Black Lives Matter taskforce to recommend partners for these investments and construct a strategic roadmap for further BLM engagement at Apeel. Over the course of 2020, Apeel selected four organizations: CoFed, Planting Justice, the Santa Barbara Black Professionals, and The Posse Foundation. For more information about our taskforce, keep an eye out for our 6-month update, releasing early next year.
As the year comes to a close, one theme stands out through all of the successes, challenges, and changes: Our commitment to evaluate the sustainability of the food system as a whole. We seek to understand the environmental and social implications at every level of our business. In our product life cycle assessments, we’re not only interested in measuring the environmental impacts of our product, but also the environmental benefits that arise when we are able to prevent food waste at retail. In addition, we consider where inequities may lie in the food system today and how we can work in emerging markets where our product can help make the world bigger for small farmers.
We’re proud of the progress we made during this challenging year. In 2021, we will continue to evaluate how we can contribute to a more sustainable and equitable food system at every step of the produce supply chain, and create a more abundant future for us all. You can find Apeel produce by clicking below or visit our sustainability page to stay up to date on what we're doing in the sustainability space!