James Rogers is the founder of Apeel. Currently, he is the CEO as well, meaning that he is responsible for overseeing the company's day-to-day operations. As for Apeel, it is involved in the business of food preservation.
1. Studied at Carnegie Mellon University
Rogers studied for his bachelor's degree at Carnegie Mellon University. It is interesting to note that the school came into existence through the merger of two institutions in 1967. One was the Carnegie Institute of Technology while the other was the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, which explains why Carnegie Mellon University is called Carnegie Mellon University. Both of the institutes were founded by industrialists in the early 20th century. Something that was quite common in those times.
2. Studied at University of California, Santa Barbara
Later, Rogers studied for not just his master's degree but also his PhD at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Perhaps unsurprisingly, said school is a part of the University of California system. Moreover, UCSB is quite an old addition as well, so much so that it is the third-oldest undergraduate campus in the system behind just UC Berkeley and UCLA.
3. Studied a Number of Subjects
There are some people who choose to study the same subject for degree after degree. However, Rogers wasn't one of those individuals. Initially, he did a double major in materials science and engineering as well as biomedical engineering. Afterwards, Rogers did his master's degree in economics. Finally, his PhD was in materials.
4. Founded Apeel Because of a Podcast
Chances are good that interested individuals have heard stories about entrepreneurs founding companies because they perceived a problem in need of a solution. In Rogers's case, he became concerned about global hunger because he was listening to a podcast on the topic while driving through the Californian countryside. Some people might guess that global hunger still exists because there isn't enough food being produced. However, this isn't the case because the world produces more than enough food to feed everyone in it. Instead, the issue is one of distribution.
5. Focused on Food Preservation
A huge percentage of food is wasted. However, different countries have different causes for this. To name an example, food tends to be less expensive in developed countries. As a result, there is less incentive for people to avoid wasting food. In contrast, much of the food waste in developing countries is caused by the fact that they are lacking in the relevant knowledge as well as the relevant infrastructure needed to preserve food for longer periods of time. Due to this, Rogers's solution to the perceived problem was looking for better food preservation methods.
6. Focused on a Very Old Problem
Food preservation is a very old problem. After all, humans couldn't have made the transition from being hunter-gatherers to being farmers without a way to store large amounts of food for months and months. In turn, this means that food preservation was foundational for civilization as well as everything that has come into existence because of civilization.
Most of us in the developed world have much more reliable access to a much bigger selection of fresh foods than our pre-modern predecessors, which can be credited to the huge improvements that have been made in transportation technologies as well as food preservation technologies. However, what makes Apeel interesting is that Rogers and the rest see potential for further gains in the latter. If true, that could be huge because it should be clear that food preservation is by no means a settled problem in the present.
7. Interested in Sustainable Food Production As Well
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Rogers and the rest are interested in sustainable food production as well. After all, food preservation is very important. However, it means very little unless there is food being produced that can be preserved. As for why sustainable food production is so important, well, suffice to say that unsustainable food production is very much capable of destroying the fertility of the land.
Something that has become particularly problematic because of how climate change is threatening to bring about a wide range of changes in a wide range of places. Theoretically, the process could make places fertile that weren't before. The problem is that said process won't happen instantaneous, meaning that there won't be a one-for-one replacement rate for the fertile land that is lost as well. Never mind the fact that change comes with inherent costs.
8. Produces Coatings
In any case, Rogers's company produces coatings. These serve two functions. One, they keep the moisture in. Two, they keep the oxygen out. Both of these functions combine to extend the freshness of the food, so much so that they can last two to three times longer than their uncoated counterparts. Something that can make an enormous difference in the grand scheme of things.
9. Stresses that the Coatings Are Made Out of Plant-Derived Materials
The marketing for Rogers's company stresses that the coatings are made out of plant-derived materials that have already been in use for a very long time. This is important because a lot of people are very conscious about what they eat, which in turn, means that they can spooked by anything that sounds either dangerous or otherwise scary.
By stressing the plant-derived nature of the materials, the company can appeal to people who trust in "natural" things rather than "artificial" things. Furthermore, emphasizing the fact that the materials have already been in use for a very long time serves to make people feel at ease with them.
10. Uses Other Soothing Claims to Convince People to Use the Coating
Speaking of which, Rogers's company uses other soothing claims to convince people to put their trust in the coating. For example, there is a passage about how its coatings aren't made using GMO-derived material, which makes sense because that is a huge bugbear for a lot of people out there.
Similarly, there is another passage that points out that the relevant materials can come from the parts of the plant that tend to go unused after harvesting, which is good for winning eco-friendliness points.
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Written by Allen Lee
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