Finally, a fruit scanner that will tell you if your avocados are ripe

Why squeeze your produce when you can blast it with coherent light?

OneThird

We've all been there. It's late, you're tired from a long day's labor and all you want to do is go home to relax with your loved ones. But you're not at home, are you? No, you're at the supermarket with a hankering for homemade guac and that pile of fresh, treacherous avocados is staring you in the face, mocking you with their inscrutable knobby skins and their likely rock-hard insides. Who's got three days to let them sit in a bag after you go full Last Crusade and choose unwisely? That's where OneThird's "freshness scanners" come in.

The company notes that up to 40 percent of the perishable food brought to market annually (about $1 trillion's worth) is eventually discarded before it reaches our kitchen tables. What's more, the current generation of produce scanners can only inform on lab-specific tests (like sugar content and acidity) rather than freshness or potential shelf life. The touch points from OneThird do and, according to the manufacturer, can reduce food waste in these situations by as much as 25 percent, on average.

its a black box with a cradle for either strawberries or avocados that blasts a little red light at them and tells you if they're sufficiently squishy.
its a black box with a cradle for either strawberries or avocados that blasts a little red light at them and tells you if they're sufficiently squishy.

“The astronomical volume of food that goes to waste each year is heartbreaking, particularly since so much is wasted in affluent countries. We’ve worked hard to create technology that helps to address this persistent, global challenge which directly impacts food scarcity,” said Marco Snikkers, CEO and founder of OneThird. “We are proud to have built the first product that accurately and objectively predicts the shelf life of fresh produce. The interest has been overwhelming and we aim to accelerate the deployment of our technology globally.”

Using propriety algorithms to interpret returns from a near-infrared laser, the OneThird devices can determine an avocado's shelf life in real time. The company makes two variants of the system, one for the end user in the produce aisle, and another for the growers in the supply chain.