For even the most experienced fresh produce buyer, distributor, or wholesaler, predicting ripeness and shelf life to improve supply chain can be a challenge in terms of accuracy and expense. For example, relying on hand testing avocados for ripeness can yield inconsistent results, and using a penetrometer to take a sample will render the fruit unusable. This is why Apeel Sciences recently introduced RipeTrack, a measurement tool and monitoring software to provide unprecedented insight into produce ripeness through a fully digitized, user-friendly platform, maximizing your predictive capabilities making food loss a thing of the past.
RipeTrack can determine the ripeness and quality of produce instantly with non-destructive tools, including a durometer, a method of testing produce firmness that has proven to be three times more accurate than industry standards. This information is automatically inputted into a cloud-based data management system and can be digitally shared with team members for analysis. RipeTrack will help determine the ideal ripe date for a piece of produce by analyzing data such as country of origin, pack date and data from a durometer, allowing suppliers and retailers to make informed decisions about shipping and merchandising the fruit.
“Before launching this system, testing ripeness at different stages of the supply chain was a time-consuming process that yielded inconsistent results, and a disconnect with what a retail buyer expected on shelves to drive sales,” said Ryan Fink, Senior Vice President of the Americas at Apeel. “We developed RipeTrack to optimize the decades-old process and give the produce industry more insight into the sales-driving quality attributes of their programming, resulting in more product delivered to required specifications and less product wasted.”
This fully digitized process benefits all nodes of the produce supply chain. The easy-to-use inspection platform was developed in partnership with retail quality control teams and enables data to be instantly captured and analyzed during the ripening, shipping and receiving processes. RipeTrack can inform shipping and logistics decisions and provide increased confidence that produce will be delivered to specifications requested by a retailer, reducing the inconsistencies that can occur at the store level. All inspection data from across a retailer or supplier’s operations is then aggregated into a program dashboard, allowing decision makers to assess whether the produce is meeting their goals for ripeness or freshness. They can use this insight to execute data-backed decisions that can improve their supply chain, logistics or merchandising, and deliver higher quality produce on shelf for consumers.
“RipeTrack has received great feedback in initial trials with retailers and produce distributors,” said Fink. “Users recognize how it simplifies the ripeness testing and measurement process and are immediately seeing the benefit of the increased visibility. Many retailers understand the sales value of offering ripe produce to meet customer demand and drive sales, now they have a system of tools that will allow them to execute these programs with confidence.”
In addition to testing, measuring, and tracking ripeness, RipeTrack, when paired with Apeel’s plant-based protective coating, can help grocery retailers shift their avocado strategy and consistently offer avocados within an edible stage of ripeness. Data shows that 75% of shoppers are looking for a ripe or close-to-ripe avocado. RipeTrack can help change how avocados are distributed and marketed to offer consumers a more desirable product, potentially increasing sales.