Swedish supermarkets swap sticky labels with laser marking

Hi-tech “natural branding” used for marking fruits and vegetables instead of stickers to cut plastic packaging.

© Thad Zajdowicz

According to The Guardian, fruit sticker may not sound like a big environmental concern, but removing it from produce could actually save a massive amount of plastic, energy and CO2 emissions.

Responding to consumer request for less packaging, Dutch fruit and veg supplier Nature & More and Swedish supermarket ICA decided to run a trial to replace those plastic labels by a laser mark on organic avocados and sweet potatoes.

“By using natural branding on all the organic avocados we would sell in one year we will save 200km (135 miles) of plastic 30cm wide. It’s small but I think it adds up,” says Peter Hagg, ICA business unit manager to The Guardian.

This technique, also known as “natural branding”, involves removing pigment from the skin of the fruits using a strong light. Invisible once the skin is peeled off, the mark does not have any effect on the shelf life or eating quality.

“Organic sales are driven by environmental awareness, like climate change and belief in health benefits,” explains Hagg. “Younger shoppers also choose products depending on the environmental impact of the packaging. And we know that this will be very important in coming years.”

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