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New Fruit Labelling in Supermarkets for Summer

New Fruit Labelling Method in Supermarkets for Summer

Fruit labelling company sees the light

A Kiwi company is set to launch a new labelling method which could see the end of plastic stickers on fruits and vegetables.

Increasingly fruits and vegetables sold loose in New Zealand bear a small plastic sticker, giving the variety and sometimes place of origin for consumers, and PLU code for retailers to scan. Consumers complain that the stickers are hard to remove, need to be disposed of, and can leave a sticky residue on the produce.

Local company Natural Light Technology has licensed a new environmentally friendly way to label fresh produce and is set to roll it out across Australasia this summer.

Using a concentrated beam of light it removes the pigment from the outer layer of skin of the fruit or vegetable, revealing a contrasting colour underneath. This method can be used to etch type, variety, PLU, place of origin, even brands, logos or dates on the pigment of an individual piece of fresh produce.

The new label is totally natural and therefore edible.

Inventor of the light labelling technique Greg Drouillard, currently in New Zealand to install the equipment and train Natural Light Technology staff, says the method is now widely used across the United States, and is rolling out across Canada and Mexico.

“It’s easier and more convenient for consumers, more effective for retailers and more efficient and cheaper with less waste for growers and packers,” says Greg Drouillard. “It’s also been very well received by government agencies in these countries because it is tamperproof – anyone can swap a plastic sticker, but once the fresh produce is labelled using light technology it can’t be removed or altered, so an individual piece of produce can be tracked and traced.”

The technique is also very popular with environmentalists, because it eliminates the litter of stickers, produces no waste and is very natural: there’s no contact with the produce, it doesn’t alter the fresh produce in any way, but only removes a layer of pigmentation in the produce’s skin.

“Progressive plans to trial the new labelling on fruit and produce at selected Foodtown and Woolworth supermarkets this summer,” says Stuart Johnston. “Once consumers understand that the fresh produce has had the information etched on the top layer of skin using concentrated light, and that it’s safe and natural, they’ll really appreciate not having to deal with those annoying stickers.”


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