Dutch fruit and veg supplier Nature & More and Swedish supermarket ICA have decided to replace sticky labels on fruits and vegetables in favor of a natural branding that uses a strong light to remove pigments from the skin of produce. The mark so obtained is invisible once skin is removed and doesn’t affect, in any way, shelf life or eating quality.
The purpose? Reducing waste and food packaging in response to consumers demand, with positive effects on the environment. “By using natural branding on all the organic avocados we would sell in one year we will save 200km of plastic - says Peter Hagg, ICA business manager - The laser technology also creates less than 1% of the carbon emissions needed to produce sticky labels”. The stickers, despite being so small and seemingly harmless, are a problem for anyone involved in recycling and using this new type of natural marking helps to reduce the use of chemicals, paper, plastics, ink and glue.
The ICA company has announced to test this new method on organic avocados and sweet potatoes. “The choice to test this technology on sweet potatoes and avocados is logical. They are both products that require to be packed in order to avoid the problem of stickers falling off from the skin of avocados and potatoes because of soil residues. As well as allowing a cut on packaging and waste, consumers can buy only what they need, which is not possible with pre-packed food. Yet, according to EU standards all produce must be marked, hence the need of laser label for single sale - continues Hagg - The next step will be to use natural branding on edible skin products, such as apples or nectarines. If consumers react positively there is no limit to the use of this technology and the savings will be considerable”.