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Swedish Supermarkets Replace Sticky Labels with Laser Markings

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The Dutch fruit and vegetables supplier Nature & More and Swedish supermarket ICA are aiming to ditch sticky labels and use laser markings instead using “hi-tech ‘natural branding.

This would create huge savings in plastic, energy and CO2 emissions.

In response to demands from consumers for less packaging, the Dutch fruit and vegetables supplier Nature & More and Swedish supermarket ICA are conducting a “trial run” in replacing sticky labels on organic avocados, coconuts and sweet potatoes with laser markings rather than sticky labels.

This aims to cut back on plastic packaging by using a more natural form of branding.

The Announcement

“By using natural branding on all the organic avocados we would sell in one year we will save 200km (135 miles) of plastic 30cm wide. It’s small but I think it adds up,” says Peter Hagg, ICA business unit manager.

This new packaging technique produces less than 1% carbon emission.

According to Stephane Merit, business development manager of the Spanish company Laser Food, says that with millions of stickers used all over the world, this technology can make a “significant reduction in the amount of paper, ink, glue.”

Environmental Awareness

“Organic sales are driven by environmental awareness, like climate change and belief in health benefits. Younger shoppers also choose products depending on the environmental impact of the packaging. And we know that this will be very important in coming years,” Peter Hagg says.

“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.”

“Up to now, no one has used this technique with the specific aim of cutting packaging. It was used for novelty – which is nice, but a gimmick at Easter or Christmas isn’t going to pay off,” says Michaël Wilde, sustainability and communications manager at Nature & More. “What we are saying is, by buying this product you’re saving plastic.”