Fast forward to the 1920s: Clarence Birdseye developed his "quick freeze machine" in New York after watching the local Inuit fishing during the winter in the Canadian Arctic. He noticed that the fish quickly froze in the icy weather, and after trying the technique himself, he realized that flash-freezing led to improved texture in the food when it thawed. His flash-freezing technique brought vegetables to the masses in the 20th century, as home refrigeration spread throughout the developed world (maybe you recognize that last name from a bag of frozen peas?).
That brings us to the present. Apeel is now writing a new chapter in food history with our plant-derived technology for reducing food waste. Besides dramatically delaying the spoilage of harvested fruits and vegetables, our plant-derived technology helps solve modern environmental problems.
The company was started in 2012 by James Rogers, then earning his Ph.D. in materials science from the University of California - Santa Barbara. Having previously researched the microscopically thin barrier that protects stainless steel from rusting, he reasoned that food might be preserved from decay in a similar manner.
Rogers’ team eventually invented a method for using materials found in plants—skins, peels, and seeds—to extend the shelf-life of produce. By applying these ingredients onto the surface of fruits and vegetables, an edible “extra peel” could be created that would reduce moisture loss and oxidation, the root causes of food spoilage. Our protective layer is completely edible, composed of materials already found in the human diet.