All millennials do these days is eat avocado toast, right? Avocados are the reason (some say) that millennials can't afford to buy homes.

On Shark Tank, Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran also put $400,000 into that restaurant that exclusively serves avocado dishes.

If you haven't already, it's time to get in the avocado game.

Costco is doing just that. Today, Midwestern Costco are rolling out new avocados. Kinda.

The avocados themselves are the same. But the fruit has a special coating. It's an invisible film that coats the entire skin of the avocado, and it does a pretty amazing thing: It makes your avocados last twice as long because it slows the ripening process.

The coating itself is plant-based and safe to eat. It's colorless, odorless and tasteless. It's created by a California-based food science startup called Apeel Sciences. James Rogers, the company's CEO and science director, told Washington Post he anticipates Apeel-coated avocados will be available in Costco stores nationwide within a year.

The startup going all-in on reducing food waste

Spoiled produce contributes hugely to food waste. If grocery stores don't end up throwing it out, shoppers will if they don't eat it fast enough after bringing it home. This accounts for 40 percent of food waste.

Apeel is tackling that problem in a big way. Their coating is kind of like a second skin or peel for produce. Moisture stays inside. Air stays outside. The ripening process slows down to a crawl.

Apeel says their coating doubles and in some cases triples the shelf life of produce -- no refrigeration or preservatives required. "By maintaining moisture and reducing oxidation, Apeel supports the plant's natural abilities to protect against environmental stressors," their website explains.

Apeel Avocados are the first type of produce being introduced in grocery stores with the coating. The company is also offering Apeel citrus, which it claims helps to reduce shrinkage in storage and transportation, slows the rate of oxidation and makes for better-looking and better-tasting fruit.

Bill Gates has long been a fan of Apeel

Though it's big news that Costco is rolling out Apeel avocados in their Midwestern stores, other big-name investors have helped bring it to market. According to CrunchBase, Apeel's investors include Andreessen Horowitz, DBL Partners, Upfront Ventures, S2G Ventures, Powerplant Ventures, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation. Since the company was founded in 2012, they've raised $40.1 million to bring their technology to market.

While Apeel has obvious appeal to grocery stores and people who buy and eat avocados, their ambitious mission extends beyond getting their product in Costco. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation thinks Apeel can actually help end world hunger.

"By significantly reducing food waste, we can save huge amounts of water and energy and make fresh produce available to more people," CEO James Rogers has said.

Published on: Jun 19, 2018