Sponsored by Apeel
According to Feeding America, there are 119 billion pounds of food wasted in the U.S. annually. This is equivalent to 130 billion meals and more than $408 billion in food tossed every year. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, data from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that within the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, 28% of fruits and vegetables are discarded by consumers. This nutritious food could have helped feed families in need but was sent to landfills instead. The cost of food waste also includes the wasted water, labor, land and energy used to grow, process, transport, prepare, store and dispose of the discarded food. This ends up costing you, the consumer, because you’re ultimately wasting almost 1/3 of every dollar you spend on fruits and vegetables. Not to mention, these healthful fruits and vegetables can be used to meet your daily recommended amounts of this vital food group, which 90% of Americans don’t get.
So, how can you minimize food waste, especially fruits and vegetables? The answer is to change your expectations for produce perishability, and find healthy ways to ensure the fruits and vegetables you buy last longer. One easy way is to seek out produce protected by Apeel. As a registered dietitian, I am proud to team up with Apeel to help increase fruit and vegetable consumption and help minimize food waste. Below is an explanation of what Apeel is and how it can help keep your fruit and vegetables fresher for longer.
How does Apeel protect fruits and vegetables?
Apeel is an extra “peel” of protection made by applying a microscopic layer of additional lipids which already naturally exist on fruits and vegetables. Apeel is made of purified mono- and diglycerides that have been derived from plant oils to mimic the natural protection of peels. This added microscopic extra “peel” of mono- and diglycerides creates a breathable layer that slows, but does not stop, spoilage by keeping moisture in and oxygen out. The result is fruits and vegetables that maintain freshness, giving you a few extra days to enjoy them.
About mono- and diglycerides
Mono- and diglycerides belong to the lipid family (also called fats), which help store energy and provide structure in plants and the human body. Mono and diglycerides are the building blocks of fats, but that does not mean they are considered a source of fat when consumed as Apeel’s extra “peel.” The amount is so minute that you get minimal calories from it. These types of fats naturally occur in tiny amounts in every type of fruit and vegetable. There is a microscopic amount of Apeel applied on top of the lipids that already exist in fruits and vegetables. For example, there is 21g of fat in an avocado, and Apeel protection adds only .06 grams.
Mono- and diglycerides have been used as an ingredient in food since at least the 1930s and have been reviewed in a number of publicly available scientific studies and regulatory literature showcasing their safe use in food. The mono- and diglycerides in Apeel are derived from various non-GMO, sustainably sourced plant oils that undergo a purification process to eliminate any allergens, impurities or trans fats. Apeel consistently tests its products to confirm the absence of impurities.
My take as a registered dietitian
As an RD, one of my goals is to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables in children and adults. Most folks complain that fresh produce spoils too quickly and become upset or angry about wasting their food dollar. Oftentimes folks also don’t have time to run to the grocery store to pick up fresh produce several times a week.
To overcome these barriers, I recommend choosing fruits and vegetables protected by Apeel. Personally, I get frustrated seeing my fruits and vegetables go to waste because of my busy schedule with not enough time to prepare the fresh produce in the house. I am so thrilled when my produce can last a few extra days, which saves me time, energy and money. Plus, I don’t have to run to the store to replace the spoiled produce and it feels so good not to waste food! As an RD, it’s also important for me and my kids to take in the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables.
About Apeel-protected produce
In order to improve the environmental footprint, the mono- and diglycerides used in Apeel are sourced from plant oils, the most widely grown source of edible fat. Plus, all sourced materials are rigorously assessed for sustainability and suppliers are selected to ensure best human rights practices and environmental responsibility.
Apeel (AKA the extra “peel”) is applied to fresh fruits and vegetables after harvest, in packing houses or distribution centers. The packing house is also where the fruits and vegetables are typically inspected, cleaned and packaged before being delivered to grocery stores.
Fruits and vegetables with Apeel are 100% safe to eat – they just have a microscopic layer of lipids applied to the peel to keep the fruits and vegetables fresher for longer. This means you get a few days extra to bite into or prepare your favorite produce and minimize food waste in your own home.
You can learn more about the safety and science behind Apeel and how it helps keep fruits and vegetables fresh for longer here.
Happy, healthy eating!
MS, RD, CDN, Apeel Resident Dietitian
Toby is the founder of Toby Amidor Nutrition, PC, where she provides nutrition and food safety consulting services for individuals, restaurants and food brands. She is a Wall Street Journal bestselling cookbook author and has 9 published cookbooks. Her upcoming cookbook “Up Your Veggies: Flexitarian Recipes for the Whole Family” is due out October 2023. For close to 15 years, Toby has been the nutrition expert for FoodNetwork.com, and founding contributor to its Healthy Eats Blog. Toby is a regular contributor to Forbes.com, Shape.com, EatingWell.com and others, and has her own “Ask the Expert” column in Today’s Dietitian Magazine. She is also on the medical board for Forbes.com and EatThis.com and on the editorial board for Today’s Dietitian Magazine. As a nutrition expert, she has been quoted in hundreds of publications and appears on local and national television shows. For 11 years, Toby was an adjunct professor at Teachers College, Columbia University teaching food service management and also taught at CUNY Hunter School of Public Urban Health in New York City.
Toby trained as a clinical dietitian at New York University. Through ongoing consulting and faculty positions, she has established herself as one of the top experts in culinary nutrition, food safety and media communications. In 2018, Toby was awarded by the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics the coveted Media Excellence Award.