Working in collaboration with Swedish supermarket chain ICA, Netherlands-based organic produce distributor Nature & More is to mark organic fruit and veg with Natural Branding, a marking method which removes the need for packaging or stickers.
Organic produce in supermarkets is often packaged in plastic to distinguish it from non-organic and avoid it being weighed and paid for as such. Mark & More says it can now mark fresh organic produce using a laser beam with no additional materials needed. In the process, which has no effect on taste of shelf-life, a bit of pigment is removed from the outer layer of the peel. The energy needed for a marking is less than 1% that needed for a sticker.
“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,” says Paul Hendriks, packaging expert at Nature & More. “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.”
The initial products to be sold with Natural Branding will be avocados and sweet potatoes. Just on avocados alone, this will eliminate at least 725,000 packaging units in the coming year, says the company.
The contact-free Natural Branding method has been approved by EU organic certifier SKAL.