Majority of the European supermarkets (Marks and Spencer, Nature & More, Dutch supplier) have chosen to cut off plastic packaging of organic fruits and vegetables by using “Natural Branding”, as it is less harmful to the environment in terms of carbon emission.
Natural branding, which was developed by Spanish firm laser food is an eco-friendly technique that uses a high definition laser to remove an outer layer from the skin of the produce. The mark is unseen once the skin of the product is removed and the quality of the food/fruit is not affected.
The Laser marking technique produces less than one percent carbon emission than regular sticker production.
The first organic products with natural branding to be sold will be the organic avocados and the sweet potatoes. Dutch fruit and veg supplier Nature & More have join forces with Swedish supermarket ICA to give the technique a trial by replacing sticky labels on organic avocados and sweet potatoes with a laser mark. By the end of 2017, more than 725,000 packaging units on avocados alone would be eliminated with more natural branding being done.
According to Paul Hendriks, a packaging expert at Nature & More, he is very pleased with the new technology. “The most sustainable way to pack is not to pack. I have been saying that for years, but it has been difficult to bring about in the supermarket. With Natural Branding it becomes a logical option. We are very glad that ICA, as a front-runner, is taking this sustainable road with us. We think green consumers will be delighted, because research shows again and again that they disapprove of plastic packaging.”
ICA has hopes to get the laser marking on edible skin products like apples and nectarines.
Peter Hagg, Business Unit Manager at ICA, said “this is a solution that permanently marks the skin of the product, so it’s better from a sustainability perspective, but also avoids the problem of stickers falling off.”