SWEDISH CHAIN IS USING ‘LASER BRANDING’ ON FRUIT

Swedish supermarket chain ICA is replacing stickers on fruits and veggies with hi-tech ‘natural branding’, in an attempt to create savings in plastic, CO2 emissions and energy.

By removing pigment from the skin of produce with a strong light, this innovative laser technology leaves a permanent mark on fruit and veggies without affecting their shelf life or quality. The process creates less than 1 percent of the carbon emissions needed to produce a sticker.

According to ICA business unit manager, Peter Hagg, investing in sustainability means caring for a whole new and ever-rising wave of young shoppers, who choose products based on their environmental impact.

Developed by Spanish-based company Laser Food, ‘natural branding’ doesn’t come cheap. However, in spite of the extremely high cost of a laser machine, the Swedish retailer said it’s an “investment for the future” that will pay over time.

“The calculations are that it costs the same [as creating stickers], but sustainability for our consumers and ourselves is the biggest gain,” said Hagg. “I really hope it spreads.”