Natural Branding, Or What I Like to Call “Produce Tattoos”
Photo Source: PCMag.com
Frankly, I rarely give a second thought to the small sticker that identifies my apples as Honeycrisp or Zucchinis as organic, but Spanish company Laserfood has been thinking a lot about those little guys and how to get rid of them.
The company has solved this problem with a process called “natural branding,” which uses light to target “specific cells on the skin of the food to form a desired pattern by making them retract. A contrast liquid is then sprayed to make the retracted cells change color and the pattern becomes much more obvious,” according to PC Mag. Through this process, the skin of the produce is changed, allowing retailers to identify produce and expiration dates, but not affect the quality, taste or texture of the fruit or vegetable.
You might be wondering why anyone cares. The answer is that while those seemingly harmless stickers are quite tiny, they are comprised of plastic, paper and glue, which in many cases aren’t recyclable – and cost money! If you think about how many millions of stickers are stuck on fruits and veggies everywhere, the quantities really add up!
Supermarkets in Europe are already adopting this new labeling process and Swedish supermarket ICA has already calculated their environmental impact. In an interview with The Guardian, ICA business unit manager Peter Hagg said, “by using natural branding on all the organic avocados we would sell in one year, we will save 200 kilometers—135 miles—of plastic.” And that’s just one vegetable in one supermarket in one country! While I’ve never been a fan of tattoos personally, this is a kind I can get onboard with!
Posted by Amanda