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Why avocados are about to become much more environmentally friendly

A company has developed avocados with edible coating to cut down on plastic packaging and help them stay ripe for longer.

The innovation is good news for famous fans such as the Duchess of Sussex, who is known to be a fan of avocado on toast.

Concerns have been raised over whether its popularity in the West is bad for the environment.

Is avocado toast finished amid sustainability concerns?

Image: Avocados have become a staple of trendy breakfasts

Apeel Sciences, a company based in the US, says its plant-based, spray-on coating could help make avocados more eco-friendly.

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Supermarket chains in Germany and Denmark will start stocking the advanced avocados this week after the European Commission gave the green light for them to go on sale in EU countries.

In the UK, Asda is hoping to launch a trial of the products next year.

James Rogers, chief executive and founder of Apeel Sciences, said: “Approval of Apeel’s technology in Europe demonstrates the European Commission’s commitment to addressing our planet’s massive food waste crisis, which is now understood to be a top contributor to climate change.

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“Our US partners are realising the value of Apeel and are halving their food waste in many cases. Our next critical step is assisting retailers across Europe in their efforts to reduce waste, while simultaneously improving profits and enabling customers to enjoy fresh, high quality produce with a longer shelf life and ripe time.”

Mr Rogers claims that avocados developed by Apeel will stay ripe for four to six days, with the flavourless coating managing the rate at which water escapes from the fruit and how quickly oxygen is absorbed.

By retaining moisture and keeping oxygen outside, the avocados are able to last longer.

Hass avocados

Image: Standard avocados lose their ripeness after about three days

Once introduced to UK supermarkets, the Apeel technology will join an ever-increasing list of initiatives designed to reduce the amount of food being thrown away each year.

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, around 10.2 million tonnes of food and drink that could have been eaten ends up being binned annually – at a cost of £20bn.

Some 1.8 million tonnes of that waste comes from food manufacture, one million from the hospitality industry, 260,000 from retail and the rest – valued at approximately £15bn – is from households.

Earlier this year, more than 100 businesses and organisations including major supermarkets signed a pledge to help halve our national annual food waste bill by 2030.

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