Sweden is taking yet another step in the direction of a greener economy. They have decided to stop using plastic to label produce, instead using a laser to etch wording directly into the leafy exterior. Called natural branding, a strong light removes pigment from the skin leaving the inside unaffected in regards to the edibility, expiration or texture. By public demand, Nature & More, a Dutch produce supplier, and Swedish supermarket ICA, a Swedish supermarket, have decided to perform a trial run on avocados and sweet potatoes. Peter Hagg, a manager for ICA claims, “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.” ICA has expressed interests in expanding to other fruits and if interest keeps up they intend to keep labeling all their products with laser. The UK supermarket M&S ran a trial last year on oranges however the fruits skin can heal, making the marking less legible. Instead they have been using it on coconuts and have plans to explore a few other items.
The Spanish company using this technology, Laser Food, has been around for a few years but has only recently had their technology used for this purpose. The laser uses less than 1% of the carbon emissions it would take to make a sticker for roughly the same designs. The article I have read claimed that the price is fairly high so it would be an investment until you save enough money from producing stickers. The main benefit is that we can stop using resources (paper, ink, glue) to make and ship the labels and instead use far less power to just label them directly. So get ready for your avocados to start having new tattoos.