Sticky labels on fruit to be replaced by laser etchings

19th October 2010 - Fine Cut

Sticky labels on fruit could become a thing of the past, thanks to a hi-tech laser which can be used to "tattoo" the price and sell by date on fruit and veg.

Big name retailers such as Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer are being targeted by the technology company, which already use laser engraving to label melons for French grocery giant Carrefour.

The company are aiming to start distributing laser-labelled citrus fruit across the UK before the end of the year, with additional produce to follow in 2011. They argue that not only are laser engravings an environmentally friendly alternative to product labels as they do no require paper, ink or glue, but they also are ideal for retailers who would be able to manage perishable products in their stores and remove individual items if they have passed their sell by date.

Laser labelling technology is already used in other areas of the world, such as Japan and is likely to be rolled out in the US under the name 'natural light labelling.'

Adrian Barlow the chief executive of English Apples & Pears told The Telegraph that he could see the potential for laser technology in the UK, but the accuracy and legibility of the engravings in addition to customer perception, would be key.

"It would be important to ensure consumers did not think the technology used interfered with the naturalness of the product," he told The Grocer.

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