Posted on 03.28.2017 by Aaron Grimes

How Lasers Are Helping to Eliminate Packaging Waste, One Potato at a Time

Last Updated on Nov 1, 2023

Applications News
How Lasers Are Helping to Eliminate Packaging Waste, One Potato at a Time

(Photo Source: The Guardian)

As one of the leading fresh produce companies in Europe, Nature & More is making big waves in the produce industry by switching over to natural branding with the use of lasers. Not only is the decision doing great things for their company, but it’s also helping eliminate plastic waste.

Keep reading to learn how Nature & More is using laser marking to change the way foods are labeled and distributed.

The Benefits of Natural Branding and Laser Marking Produce

“Natural Branding” is the technique of labeling or branding a fruit or vegetable by creating an image on the surface through laser marking, and is an eco-friendly solution compared to the standard use of plastic packaging.

Nature & More defines the natural branding process as using a high-definition laser to remove pigment from the outer layer of skin of a product, leaving a customized mark or portion of text behind. This process has no negative effect on the taste, aroma or shelf-life of the fruit or vegetable and is also completely safe to consume.

According to Eosta/Nature & More, some of the leading advantages of using laser marking for produce include:

  • Elimination of the use of adhesive, ink, paper, fluids, and more
  • Reduction in energy use and other gas emissions
  • Buyers no longer have to remove stickers from the produce
  • It’s much easier to mark and track individual vegetables and fruits
  • Decreased use of plastics and other packing materials
    • For avocados alone, Eosta/Nature & More will now save 750,000 plastic flow packs in 2017

Better for Your Products, and the Planet

Nature & More says they expect to save a large amount of energy and plastic with the switch over to natural branding. They stated that in 2015, they sold 725,380 packs of avocados to a major Swedish retail chain, and used 135 miles of plastic foil to package them.

That amount of packaging totals to around 4,500 pounds of plastic. And measured in CO2 emissions, that amount of plastic is equivalent to an average car driving 1.3 times around the world!

We reached out to Eosta’s Sustainability & Communications Manager, Michaël Wilde, and he elaborated on what drove the company to make the switch to natural branding with laser marking:

“We have been following the developments regarding laser technology for more than 8 years (branding premium watermelons for Carrefour for example) and were aware of the potential for saving plastic for organic produce.  In the past year, in close cooperation with the producer of the machine Laser Food and the University of Valencia, we brought the technology to the next level which now enables us to use the technique for a wide range of products without affecting shelf life, taste, etc.”

Natural Branding’s Positive Feedback and Influence

The company has also received positive feedback from their employees. According to a press release sent out by Eosta, Nature & More packaging expert Paul Hendriks is happy with their new system of branding:

“The most sustainable way to pack is not to pack. I have been saying that for years, but it has been difficult to bring about in the supermarket. With natural branding it becomes a logical option. We are very glad that ICA, as a front-runner, is taking this sustainable road with us. We think green consumers will be delighted, because research shows again and again that they disapprove of plastic packaging.”

Following Nature & More’s innovative step toward laser marking produce, there are now other companies who have started using natural branding on coconuts in the United Kingdom, as reported by The Guardian.

Wilde is excited about these industry changes and the future of natural branding. Regarding the future impact the process will have for companies like Nature & More and for our planet, he states:

“If you see how much plastic we are saving with one product line for one customer for one year, the potential is huge and that is good news for our planet. Obviously, we are excited that Eosta is the first to introduce this technique as a way of saving plastic for organic products. ”

Contact TYKMA Electrox for Your Laser Marking Needs

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