Swedish Supermarkets Replace Labels with Laser Marking
The humble fruit sticker may seem an unlikely cause for environmental concern but removing it from produce could create huge savings in plastic, energy and CO2 emissions.
In response to consumer demand for less packaging, Dutch fruit and veg supplier Nature & More and Swedish supermarket ICA have joined forces to run a trial to replace sticky labels on organic avocados and sweet potatoes with a laser mark. M&S are also using it on coconuts in the UK.
Dubbed “natural branding”, the technique uses a strong light to remove pigment from the skin of produce. The mark is invisible once skin is removed and doesn’t affect shelf life or eating quality.
The laser technology also creates less than 1% of the carbon emissions needed to produce a sticker of similar size.
Under EU rules, all items need to be marked hence the need for stickers if selling loose.
While the ICA trial has begun with sweet potatoes and avocados, products where sticking labels to skin is challenging, the supermarket is already preparing to expand onto other products.
Although ICA’s involvement is the largest retail trial to date, the technology has been used in various other European markets.
Source: The Guardian