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  • Age
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    CEO and founder
  • Company
    Apeel Sciences

Industry: Food

The cost of food waste globally is a massive $2.6 trillion a year, with about a third of the food that U.S. farmers produce ending up in landfills. James Rogers is on a mission to change that. In 2012, the materials scientist got a grant from the Gates Foundation to start Apeel, which is attempting to prolong the shelf life of produce. The startup makes an edible substance out of plant material, which suppliers apply to the outside of fruits and vegetables to slow the rate of water loss and keep oxygen from getting in—two of the key causes of spoilage. Rogers’s idea has attracted big-name investors, raising more than $110 million from firms including Andreessen Horowitz and hedge fund Viking Global Investors. Apeel avocados, the company’s first launch, have twice the shelf life of the conventional equivalent and are now sold in the likes of Costco and Kroger. Next up: Apeel avocados in Europe this fall and Apeel asparagus and limes this summer.

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