Israeli startup aims to cure the scourge of too-hard avocados

The technology could help reduce the 20 per cent of fresh produce wasted each year


Avocados are displayed in a grocery store in Washington, DC, on June 14, 2022. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A project to cut waste by helping customers find perfectly ripe avocados has been launched by an Israeli firm. 

Granot Central Cooperative, the purchasing organisation of Israel’s kibbutz movement, recently launched the drive which will provide advanced technology to monitor the ripeness of fresh produce. 

Granot’s initiative will be carried out in partnership with Neolithics, a Tel Aviv-based start-up that uses AI and vibrational imaging techniques to investigate the ageing process of fruits and vegetables.

“When we use Neolithics, we’re able to sort the avocados according to when they might ripen, so whenever people open an avocado it’s perfect,” Granot’s Research and Development Manager Yakov Armon told the Times of Israel newspaper.

Avocados that are not yet ripe enough are usually harder to cut and can be difficult to digest, while overripe ones risk being spoiled.

The fruits are often labelled "ripe and ready" in supermarkets across the world, despite the fact that they may take several more days to ripen after being purchased.

The new Israel-based joint project can already predict when an avocado has reached optimum ripeness, with 90 per cent accuracy, meaning businesses can better ensure customers have access to avocados that are immediately ripe enough to eat. 

Neolithics CEO Amir Adamov told the paper: “Fresh produce is the most difficult thing for grocery store management because of the variants and the changes along the supply chain.

“At least 20 per cent of fresh produce is lost in the supply chain for many reasons.”

According to the Jerusalem Post, the lab set to be opened in the Granot complex will be the most advanced in Israel and will host treatments of fresh produce including avocados.

Granot, which grows around 30,000 tonnes of the fashionable green fruit annually, has already begun marketing its avocados it says will be ripe and ready to consume as soon as they are bought.

The Ettinger type of avocado, much-loved by Israeli customers, will be sold first as part of the project, to be followed by Puerta, Ardit, and Hass types which will also be exported overseas.

Avocados are a major money spinner for Israeli agriculture, with almost half (45 per cent) being sold abroad.

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