Avocado with laser tag

Picture copyright

Marks and Spencer is paring again its fruit and veg labelling to be extra environmentally pleasant, changing stickers with laser-markings.

From Thursday, M&S will promote avocados bearing what appear to be pale tattoos, displaying a best-before date and origin.

Peeling away the standard labelling will save 10 tonnes of paper and 5 tonnes of glue a 12 months, says M&S.

Extra of its fruit and greens could also be laser-branded in future, the retailer says.

“The laser simply takes off one layer of pores and skin and as a substitute of inking it or burning it, the pores and skin retracts and leaves a mark,” says Charlie Curtis, senior produce agronomist at Marks and Spencer.

“What we’re placing onto the fruit is nation of origin, finest earlier than date and there is a quick code so you’ll be able to put it by rapidly on the [checkout] until.”

Media playback is unsupported in your machine

Media captionCharlie Curtis from M&S confirmed the BBC’s Science in Motion programme how lasering works

Whereas the printed sticker is an efficient approach to label most groceries, they’re generally liable to coming unstuck, notably when utilized to very dry, wrinkly or shiny surfaces. Alongside avocados, candy potatoes and coconuts are among the many more difficult merchandise for the grocery store sticker-gun.

It is taken M&S six months to good the laser course of for avocados, but when the trial rolling out this week goes nicely they count on laser-labelling to be prolonged to extra merchandise.

Earlier experiments with citrus fruits proved disappointing, for the reason that laser penetrated too far into the very delicate, porous pores and skin and made the fruit deteriorate quicker. However Miss Curtis says they’ve excessive hopes for a lot of different vegatables and fruits, probably together with lasering pumpkins with “reduce right here” scarey faces for Halloween.

M&S has additionally experimented with lasering a whole barcode onto the avocado, however the pores and skin was too uneven. Nevertheless, it could work for different merchandise, Miss Curtis mentioned.

Picture copyright

Picture caption

Avocados have develop into a really trendy ingredient in recent times

M&S mentioned the avocado was first launched in its UK shops in 1968 as an “avocado pear” and a few prospects consumed it “as a dessert with custard”.

As of late its extra prone to be served “smashed” on toast, as guacamole and even in a smoothie.

UK consumption of avocado has soared because it has develop into more and more trendy, and M&S mentioned gross sales at its shops rose 29% final 12 months.

Hear extra on the laser labelling of fruit and greens on the BBC World Service programme, Science in Action.