London, UK-based retail giant Marks & Spencer has started using laser printing on avocados to reduce the use of paper.
The company stated that it will do away with using sticky labels and will use laser printing, which could possibly save ten tonnes of labels and backing paper five tonnes of adhesive every year. This process is part of the company’s effort to reduce overall packaging used in the food department by abut 25%.
The fruits are printed with the company’s logo, country of origin, best before date and product code which will be used at the billing counter. Presently, these laser-etched fruits will be available only at select stores of M&S.
As per the company, an intense beam of light will be shined on to the fruit and this will make the fruit’s top layer retract back and discolour and it does not harm the fruit and it can be very precise.
These fruits are harvested and graded at source and they are shipped to the UK. Upon arrival at the company’s facilities, they are ripened and put in conveyer belts, which will go through the laser machine.
There is also an increasing demand for avocados in the UK every year. Last year, it sold about 12 million fruits and the sales increased by 29% compared to previous year.
A few years ago, the company trailed a similar technique on citrus fruit with a different technology, but it was discontinued as it deteriorated the fruits’ skin quality.
Marks & Spencer fruit technologist Charlotte Curtis said: “When we first saw the technology in Sweden a couple of years ago I knew we had to get involved. We’ve been following it for a while and are so excited to finally be launching it on avocados.
“Sustainability is at the heart of our business and the laser labelling is a brilliant way for us to reduce packaging and energy use.”
Curtis continued: “Providing all goes well with the avocado lasering, we could look at rolling the technology out to all sorts of other fruit and vegetables in the future. We have the potential to reduce packaging exponentially which is very exciting.”