Despite its disastrous carbon footprint, the avocado continues to have the wind in its sails: the famous “avocado toasts” sell for gold in some restaurants a bit bobo, while individuals who can afford it enjoy it in salads like in guacamole. Problem: it is sometimes difficult to determine when to consume an avocado – because before time is not time, and after time is not time, as the expression goes.
Chez Fast Company, the fact is underlined that in stores, avocados are often mistreated by customers who feel them, feel them, stick their thumbs in to test their resistance, then put them down to test others. Not only is the method not infallible, but it also contributes to damaging this fragile fruit.
This is where a Californian company named Appeal, which has created a machine to precisely determine the stage of maturity of each avocado. This invention consists of a kind of scanner diffusing a beam of light on the skin of the fruit, then measuring thanks to a sensor the way in which the light is reflected there. It is thanks to machine learning that the device manages to determine if the avocado in question is ideal for your evening guacamole, or if it is better to wait a few days before consuming it.
Recall that the machine learning consists in providing an artificial intelligence with a sufficiently rich database (here information relating to tens of thousands of lawyers) so that it quickly becomes very experienced – as if it had run a fruit and vegetable store for a half century.
Zero waste goal
If the machine offered by Apeel indicates the number of days in which each avocado will be perfectly ripe, the company also offers a dynamic labeling system to indicate to consumers the ripest avocados on the shelf.
Moreover, this last device is not intended only for customers: it also allows companies that deliver fruit and vegetables to send the ripest avocados to the nearest points of sale, while the other fruits can withstand longer transport times.
It must be said: the raison d’être of Apeel is the fight against food waste (which represents a sum of 218 billion dollars, or 219 billion euros, in the United States alone). The flagship product of this company is a food coating to make certain fruits last longer, such as avocados or citrus fruits. It should be noted that it is made of plant matter –and not beeswax, which is not vegan.
The tools developed to determine the maturity of lawyers were first designed for internal use. Because when we want the fruit to be edible for longer, it seems essential to be able to assess the optimal duration of consumption. This is the bias of Apeel, which was able to test its own inventions before putting them on the market.