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Davis Journal

Blue ‘fruit’ helps reduce food waste

Feb 17, 2023 10:11AM ● By Alisha Copfer

The staff at Bluapple pose for a quick photo before returning back to work. Back row: Alex Ortiz, Abel Ortiz, Mario Ortiz. Front row: Melanie Parker, Jessica Johnson, McKenna Ishii-Johnson, Eric Johnson. (Not pictured: Kade Parker, Timmy Chou.) Photo by Alisha Copfer

By definition, apples are typically red or green. However, this one is blue, and it’s changing the world. “It has become more and more pronounced that our product is needed,” said Eric Johnson, owner of Aureus Product Innovations, which creates the Bluapple product line. These plastic apples are helping produce worldwide stay fresher longer.

Johnson grew up in Bountiful and has always had a vision for consumer products. Even though he has a background in accounting, Johnson and his partner Timmy Chou created Bluapple in 2009. This delightful plastic container is shaped like a small, ripe apple, but it’s blue. Inside this apple is a package containing an ethylene gas absorbent that will last for at least three months.

The science behind these little apples may be a bit complicated, but the outcome is easily understood. Add a Bluapple to the produce drawer in a refrigerator, and it will extend the life of the fruits and vegetables. It does this by absorbing ethylene gas. This gas, as it is released from fruits and vegetables, causes them to ripen too quickly. By absorbing the ethylene gas, produce takes longer to ripen and, in turn, will last longer.

“We knew the product was used in commercial businesses, but we wanted to bring it to the consumer,” said Johnson. He explained that the process started with him approaching different retailers to see if they would help him sell the product.

“We’re just trying to make the world a better place,” Johnson said. “Overall, 30 to 40 percent of produce gets scrapped along the way during production to the table. So, it’s always a moving target for freshness. The Bluapple lets you buy more and throw a lot less away.”

Abel Ortiz sets up a display containing all of the Bluapple products like the VeggieZips. Photo by Alisha Copfer

 Not only does Johnson produce the Bluapple, but he also has two other products that work with the ethylene remediation product. These are the VeggieZips, a vented bag with “HydroLiners” used for humidity control, and the FreshMats, a sponge mesh cushion that helps with freshness and limits the contact between the bottom of produce and the counter or produce drawer. “This way, we can control the temperature, the humidity and the ethylene gas, so your fruits and vegetables last longer,” said Johnson. He also mentioned that there are time lapse videos online at

One of the best things about Bluapple and the other products is that they are manufactured and assembled in the U.S. They also try to use as much recycled packaging as possible. The bags the apples come in are made from recycled materials, and the Bluapple is meant to last for a long time. “Our product helps the environment and saves people money,” said Johnson. “We won’t compromise quality just to sell the product, so it’s all a balancing act. We often look at the big picture to track our carbon footprint, and we’re as small as we can get. Even the spent ethylene packages can be used as natural nutrients for houseplants and in gardens.”

“While we used to mainly sell to places like The Container Store, Natural Grocers and Bed, Bath & Beyond, we have more recently moved to online sales,” Johnson said. These sales went online beginning in 2018, and in 2020, both Chou and Johnson were grateful for the change as many businesses struggled during the COVID shutdowns. In 2013, Bluapple was the number one kitchen gadget sold at Bed, Bath & Beyond; in 2014, it was number eight, and in 2015 number 20.

“But money doesn’t drive the business,” says Johnson. “We’re a family business, a family of families.” Johnson explained that there are many familial layers in his company, including three brothers who all work together in the warehouse on the assembly line. Johnson also has two daughters who work as part of the marketing team. Chou also has family who works in the office. “We are a family environment, we like it that way, and we’ve operated this way for quite a while, and it’s worked out pretty well for us,” said Johnson.

All of the Bluapple products are available for purchase online at or on Amazon.