Supply Lines: Holy guacamole

Supply Lines

Some of the most gut-wrenching images of disrupted supply chains from the pandemic have been the mounds of food that have gone to waste. A product the size of a sugar packet could be part of the solution.

Hazel Technologies makes a biodegradable item that extends the shelf life of produce — grapes, avocados, mangoes — by releasing a chemical compound known as an ethylene inhibitor, which helps control aging for fresh fruits and vegetables. The product, a 1-inch-by-1-inch sachet, can be tossed into a crate of produce and help extend shelf life by as much as three times the normal duration.

Hazel, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is operating in about 12 countries with about 150 clients, including Mission Produce, the world's largest exporter of Hass avocados.

"We found that we can really extend the shelf live of avocados while combating the crisis of food waste," said Patrick Cortes, senior director of business development for Mission Produce.

Hazel's next step will be to introduce the product at the consumer level, which is "in the works," though there's no definite timetable yet, according to Chief Executive Officer Aidan Mouat.

No one likes a mushy avocado, and bringing the product to the retail level could help cut down on waste at a time when the pandemic is changing how people buy groceries. Consumers are frequenting stores less often, stocking up on larger amounts of food when they do go shopping.

Even before Covid-19, U.S. food waste amounted to about 40% of production, according to ReFED, a nonprofit that focuses on reducing waste. Extending shelf life for produce could help to bring that number down.

Peyton Forte in North Carolina and Millie Munshi in Denver 

Charted Territory


Covid lockdowns are eroding demand for paper use in everything from newspaper ads to schools, stores and restaurants, according to Resolute Forest Products Chief Executive Officer Yves Laflamme. The pandemic spurred customers to cancel as many as 40% of their orders, he said. That's in contrast to another tree product — lumber, which has gotten a boost from people taking up remodeling projects while stuck at home.

Today's Must Reads

  • Corn pops | China took another step toward meeting agricultural commitments made in the phase one trade agreement with the U.S. with its biggest-ever purchase of American corn.
  • Mystery seeds | U.S. federal agencies are investigating suspicious and unsolicited packages of seeds that have been arriving at addresses across America and appear to come from China.
  • Waves of pain | As harvests get under way across Europe, a season of droughts and floods have taken their toll on the continent's wheat crop.
  • Impossible milestone | Walmart will sell Impossible Food's plant-based burger in more than 2,000 stores across the U.S.
  • Sweet success | Sugar mills in Brazil signal they will continue to produce ample volumes of the sweetener in the next two years as the country's weak currency helps keep them profitable.
  • Brexit trouble | A disorderly break with the European Union at the end of the year poses a bigger threat to Britain's food supplies than the coronavirus pandemic that saw supermarket shelves emptied, a Parliamentary committee warned.
  • Another plague | In China, locust invasions are not new. But this year, the voracious insects arrived a bit earlier, and in larger quantities, posing a fresh threat to the huge agricultural producing nation.
  • Poultry in motion | A food workers' union filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to block Trump administration waivers that allow poultry plants to operate production lines at a faster pace, arguing the higher speeds endanger employees.

On the Bloomberg Terminal

  • Java jones | Dunkin's strong drive-through sales, good value and the closing of 800 under-performing units will fuel continued U.S. same-store sales improvement, in our view, Bloomberg Intelligence writes.
  • Cocoa and ESG | A $400 living-income differential set to be implemented in October in Ghana and Ivory Coast offsets only half the cocoa price drop since February, clipping the incomes growers need to achieve deforestation and child-labor targets, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
  • Use the AHOY function to track global commodities trade flows.
  • Click HERE for automated stories about supply chains.
  • See BNEF for BloombergNEF's analysis of clean energy, advanced transport, digital industry, innovative materials, and commodities.
  • Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts.

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