Is laser labelling the future for food?

10th June 2014 - Fine Cut
Is laser labelling the future for food?

Marks & Spencer is set to become the first supermarket in the country to use special laser technology to label its fruit.

The retail giant is to begin a trial across several of its stores, which will see traditional paper labels ditched in favour of the new method, which is similar to a tattoo in its appearance on the fruit's skin.

Barcodes and sell-by dates will be among some of the information stored in this manner, with those behind the technique claiming the inside of the product will be left undamaged and untouched.

M&S senior agronomist Andrew Mellonie said: "We thought it was an interesting concept to try because often fresh produce is stickered, which can be difficult to remove, plus there can be a lot of design changes, so growers can be left with stockpiles of stickers that they can't use."

Oranges will be the only fruit labelled this way during the trial, although it is expected that the technology will be used to mark others if the pilot proves to be a success.

Mr Mellonie noted that as part of the plans, M&S would be "putting something" into the stores where the tattooed oranges would be on sale to explain what they were trying to achieve. 

As well as having a positive environmental impact, the technology would also allow both farmers and retailers to add QR matrix codes onto their products, making it easier for them to trace the fruit.

The start date of the scheme has not yet been confirmed, although it is expected to take place over the next few months.

While we don't specialise in marking oranges, at Fine Cut we use laser technology, which is one of the most advanced in the country, to engrave almost any design onto an impressive range of materials and products. 

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