M&S says labelling avocados with lasers is more sustainable

M&S says labelling avocados with lasers is more sustainable

Marks and Spencer is paring back its fruit and veg labelling to be more environmentally friendly, replacing stickers with laser-markings.

From Thursday, M&S will sell avocados bearing what look like pale tattoos, showing a best-before date and origin.

Peeling away the traditional labelling will save 10 tonnes of paper and five tonnes of glue a year, says M&S.

More of its fruit and vegetables may be laser-branded in future, the retailer says.

"The laser just takes off one layer of skin and instead of inking it or burning it, the skin retracts and leaves a mark," says Charlie Curtis, senior produce agronomist at Marks and Spencer.


"What we're putting onto the fruit is country of origin, best before date and there's a short code so you can put it through quickly at the [checkout] till."

M&S says labelling avocados with lasers is more sustainable
Media playback is unsupported on your device

While the printed sticker is an effective way to label most groceries, they are sometimes prone to coming unstuck, particularly when applied to very dry, wrinkly or shiny surfaces. Alongside avocados, sweet potatoes and coconuts are among the more challenging products for the supermarket sticker-gun.

It's taken M&S six months to perfect the laser process for avocados, but if the trial rolling out this week goes well they expect laser-labelling to be extended to more products.

Previous experiments with citrus fruits proved disappointing, since the laser penetrated too far into the very soft, porous skin and made the fruit deteriorate faster. But Miss Curtis says they have high hopes for many other fruits and vegetables, possibly including lasering pumpkins with "cut here" scarey faces for Halloween.

M&S has also experimented with lasering a complete barcode onto the avocado, but the skin was too uneven. However, it may work for other products, Miss Curtis said.

M&S says labelling avocados with lasers is more sustainable

M&S said the avocado was first introduced in its UK stores in 1968 as an "avocado pear" and some customers consumed it "as a dessert with custard".

These days its more likely to be served "smashed" on toast, as guacamole or even in a smoothie.

UK consumption of avocado has soared as it has become increasingly fashionable, and M&S said sales at its stores rose 29% last year.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Home and Away's Johnny Ruffo staying 'positive' and getting support from his family after 'frightening' brain cancer diagnosis

Home and Away's Johnny Ruffo staying 'positive' and getting support from his family after..

18-Aug, 04:30

However, the actor is remaining upbeat despite his diagnosis and is...

Rio Ferdinand continues to wear wedding ring in touching tribute to late wife

Rio Ferdinand continues to wear wedding ring in touching tribute to late wife..

18-Aug, 05:41

Rio Ferdinand continues to pay tribute to his late wife Rebecca Ellison...

'Economic war with China is everything': Trump’s chief strategist in candid interview

'Economic war with China is everything': Trump’s chief strategist in candid interview..

17-Aug, 17:20

Ethno-nationalism is for ‘losers’ but winning the economic war with China...

North Korea faces ‘strong military consequences’ if it attacks - Mattis

North Korea faces ‘strong military consequences’ if it attacks - Mattis..

17-Aug, 17:20

US Defense Secretary James Mattis put the military option against North...

Rep. Steve Scalise's condition upgraded to serious

Rep. Steve Scalise's condition upgraded to serious..

17-Jun, 18:27

Rep. Steve Scalise's condition is continuing to improve after he was shot...

Trump administration's stance on marijuana use clouded in mystery

Trump administration's stance on marijuana use clouded in mystery..

20-Apr, 14:56

As people across the country observe today’s unofficial holiday...

Kelly Rowland Reveals Her Husband Knew He Wanted to Marry Her 'by the First Date'

Kelly Rowland Reveals Her Husband Knew He Wanted to Marry Her 'by the First Date'..

31-Jan, 04:22

Kelly Rowland is continuing to make a name for herself on the screen with...

North Korea claims to have tested first intercontinental ballistic missile

North Korea claims to have tested first intercontinental ballistic missile..

04-Jul, 03:28

North Korea claimed on Tuesday that it successfully test-fired its first...