Tattoo-like patterns could replace labels on supermarket fruit and veg

The days of having to peel a label off your piece of fruit or veg could soon be over thanks to an experiment by a Swedish supermarket.

ICA has started placing laser marks instead of labels on organic avocados and sweet potatoes. This is a process that uses low-energy carbon dioxide lasers to remove the pigment from the outer skins of fruits and vegetables, creating tattoo-like patterns.

It means the information normally on a label – the product’s name, country of origin and code number – is branded on to the produce not dissimilar to the way hot irons brand cattle.

(James Brooks/AP)

So why is ICA trying this out? Well, if successful, it would cut down on the amount of stickers and packaging used to identify its organic produce.

The supermarket chain has 1,350 stores across Sweden so, yep, that’s a lot of fruit and veg that wouldn’t have labels on any more.

Avocados and sweet potatoes have been picked to test the “natural branding” first because their peels are not typically eaten, plus they have a tendency to shed the stickers normally used to brand produce.

(James Brooks/AP)

Next up for the laser marks could be melons. The supermarket will also try it on items with consumable skins and see how customers react to this.

Peter Hagg, the chain’s senior manager for fruits and vegetables, said the lasering has no negative effects on the fruit and veg.

“It’s very delicate. Because the mark is not going through the skin in any way, it doesn’t affect the quality or taste of the product,” he said.

KEYWORDS: Food, Laser, Supermarkets

 

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