Apeel’s proprietary method of testing ripeness using a durometer achieves more accurate and consistent readings when compared to a penetrometer
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – According to a recent study from the University of Illinois UrbanaChampaign’s Applied Research Institute, Apeel Sciences’ proprietary method of testing avocado ripeness is up to three times more accurate than current industry testing mechanisms. The durometer, pioneered for produce ripeness testing by the company, is an efficient and nondestructive alternative to testing avocado ripeness and is more consistent in testing ripe fruit, when compared to the existing method of using a penetrometer.
“The durometer has the ability to transform the way produce testing has been done for years,” says Ryan Fink, Snr. VP Americas at Apeel. “Not only is the waste reduction significant, but this tool offers a previously unavailable level of ripeness accuracy that allows distributors and retailers to deliver fruit that matches consumer needs. Apeel has been using this testing method for years, enabling us to understand the performance of our plant-based protection and amass unique data and insight on how fruit ripens. Now, we are helping retailers and suppliers adopt this methodology to unlock significant improvements to their overall ripeness programs.”
In the tests conducted by the Illinois Applied Research Institute, avocado ripeness was tested over the course of 9 days. The study found that while both the durometer and the penetrometer were able to monitor the ripening of avocados over time, their effectiveness varied depending on the stage of avocado ripening. The penetrometer was better able to differentiate the firmness of the Stage 1 avocados (those that are totally green and firm), both methods were useful in the intermediate Stages 2-3 (still green and too firm to eat), and the durometer was better for differentiating the firmness of the avocados in Stages 4-5 (edible and ideal for eating). In all cases, the measurements taken by the durometer were more consistent and had much lower variation than those taken by the penetrometer.
Data from a survey conducted by Apeel in partnership with OnePoll shows that 85% of avocado shoppers believe that the feel of an avocado is the most accurate way of testing for ripeness at the grocery store. The durometer uses a pressure sensor, which when applied to the exterior of the fruit closely resembles the way a consumer would test at shelf, therefore delivering ripeness measurements that mirror the consumer experience with more efficiency and without damaging the fruit. Alternatively, the penetrometer takes a sample of flesh from the avocado and measures the PSI of the pulp, which ultimately destroys the fruit. The variance and inconsistency of the measurement, as demonstrated in the recent research, also means that retailers would need to test, and destroy, more fruit to get an accurate understanding of ripeness, or risk putting an incorrect specification on their shelves, wasting countless avocados in the process.
Integrating a durometer testing system into a ripeness program can offer more benefits than just waste reduction. Due to the speed and efficiency of testing using a durometer, distributors and grocery retailers can test more fruit, offering a more data-driven approach to shifting specifications to ripe and ready-to-eat avocados at shelf. Apeel is also developing a digital insights platform to help retailer quality teams and produce executives capture and analyze this ripeness data at scale. Multiple studies indicate that +70% of demand is for avocados between Stages 3 and 5 (almost ripe or ripe and edible), so the end result would be the ability to best merchandise to meet this demand.
In acknowledgement of Apeel’s role in developing proprietary techniques and quality tools for fresh produce testing, Bareiss North America has entered into an exclusive partnership with Apeel for Bareiss’s Digital Fruit Hardness Tester – HPE III Fff device. Bareiss is a global leader in the development and production of harness measuring instruments, and they are excited by the opportunity to partner with Apeel to improve the sustainability and effectiveness of produce industry quality measurement.
Apeel is on a mission to create a more sustainable global food system by working with nature to use the power of materials and data sciences. Apeel’s plant-based protection allows for longerlasting produce by using materials already found in the skins, peels, and seeds of all fruits and vegetables. This protective extra “peel” slows the water loss and oxidation that causes produce to spoil, and it’s the only proven solution for maintaining freshness from farm to kitchen. Apeel’s plant-based protection is available for an ever-growing number of categories and markets, including organic and conventionally grown produce. Additionally, Apeel is integrating new tools that will allow the food system to do more with the extra time created by Apeel’s plant-based protection. Farmers can sell more of what they grow, retailers can sell more of what they source, and people can enjoy more of what they buy, creating a healthier planet and greater abundance for all. Apeel is Food Gone Good.