M&S pioneer cutting-edge laser labelling for avocados

M&S pioneer cutting-edge laser labelling for avocados

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Switching to lasering will cut 10 tonnes of labels and backing paper plus five tons of adhesive every year, according to Marks & Spencer.

The production methods for lasering labels on avocados uses far less energy than traditional stickers which pushes down the retailer’s carbon footprint.

The state-of-the-art technology works by shining an intense light onto the fruit’s skin which retracts back and discolours only the very top layer.

It’s a precise method that does not damage the produce, stresses M&S.

All avocados sold through the high-end UK grocer will be lasered with the M&S logo, country of origin, best before date and product code for entering at the till.

“When we first saw the technology in Sweden a couple of years ago I knew we had to get involved,” says Charlotte Curtis, M&S fruit technologist.

“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.”

Harvested and graded at source, which includes farms in Brazil and Colombia, avocados are shipped to Britain.

They are ripened on arrival and placed into trays and go on a conveyor belt through the lasering machine which is based at the Mack packhouse in Kent.

The avocado laser labelling follows a trial on citrus by M&S a few years ago which used different technology. This was scrapped because the method caused slight deterioration in skin quality.

Last year M&S sold 12 million avocados and sales are 29% up on the year.

The pioneering technology is expected to be a big hit and could be expanded to other produce.

“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. Watch this space.”

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