Laser-etched labels trialled on Tesco avocado range

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Barcodes have been laser-etched into Tesco's extra-large avocados. Image: Tesco
Barcodes have been laser-etched into Tesco's extra-large avocados. Image: Tesco
Supermarket giant Tesco is trialling the use of laser-etched labels on its extra-large avocado range as part of plans to reduce plastic and the environmental impact of the line.

High-powered lasers remove a tiny section of the top layer of skin if extra-large avocados sold by the retailer. Supplier Westfalia Fruit said avocados were the perfect candidate for the new tech due to the thickness of the fruit’s outer skin ­– a process that takes less than a third of a second.

Etching the fruit sizing label (pictured) into the skin of the fruit has no effect on the quality, shelf life and taste of the fruit, according to Westfalia.

Tesco said it had started trialling the next labelling method on avocados as they gave the most visual impact. It is also trialling replacing the plastic tray packaging for two of its most popular avocado lines with a cardboard container that is easier to recycle.

Rollout plans

The new laser-etched fruits will appear in about 270 Tesco stores in the south-east of England, with plans to roll out across the entire estate, should the trial prove successful.

Tesco avocado buyer Lisa Gilbey said: “We’re always looking for innovative ways to reduce the environmental impact of our products, and cut down on plastic waste in the home through changes to our packaging.

“We’re really excited to hear customer feedback on our new laser-etched avocados, avoiding the need for a barcode sticker that can easily be forgotten and left on when recycling through household food waste.”

Should the changes be rolled out to all Tesco stores, the retailer claimed it would save more than 20 million pieces of plastic tray packaging from the twin pack avocado alone, increasing up to 25 million pieces across the pre-packed range.

Plastic use reduction

Further, it would also save nearly a million plastic stickers on its loose extra-large avocados, based on current sales information provided by the supplier.

Westfalia Fruit general manager Graham Isaac its main priorities were to reduce – and wherever possible, remove – plastic from its packaging to contribute to solving the plastic waste challenge.

“We are confident that, with a clear focus and united effort as an industry, we will be able to significantly reduce our waste, use natural resources responsibly and protect the environment and biodiversity for all our futures,” ​Isaac added.

Related topics Fresh produce Packaging & Labelling

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