Natural Branding is a technique that uses a laser to remove pigment from the skin of produce, without affecting its shelf life, thereby creating a natural label that eliminates plastic stickers.
TARGET USERS: Businesses, Industry
KEY CONSIDERATIONS: The patented Natural Branding technology was developed by the Laser Food company, and differs from other laser food marking systems that burn the skin of produce and reduce product shelf life.
MORE INFORMATION: http://www.laserfood.es/index.php/en/
Fresh produce is often packaged in plastic as a means of labeling products for distribution, inventory control and sales. However, this growing plastic waste stream that is composed of thin plastic films and small sticker labels are of a class of plastic that is rarely recycled, but rather disposed after a single-use.
The patented Natural Branding technology developed by Laser Food in Valencia, Spain, removes pigment from the skin of produce – without damaging the fruit or vegetable – before applying a contrast liquid approved by the EU to label the produce, thereby eliminating the need for plastic sticker labels or plastic packaging for certain products.
Laser Food led the EU-supported Laser Mark project from 2010-2013, which demonstrated that the product and process were commercially ready and suitable for customers’ needs. Laser Mark received the prize for Best European Environmental Project in 2013, from a Europe initiative organized by Spain’s Valencia region
The Natural Branding technology reduces CO2 emissions in the labeling sector by eliminating plastic packaging and sticker labels. The laser technology is said to create less than 1% of the carbon emissions needed to produce a sticker of similar size.
Swedish supermarket ICA replaced sticker labels on organic avocados with Natural Branding, and found that over the course of one year, they eliminated plastic packaging equivalent to a 200km (135 miles) stretch of plastic spanning 30cm wide.
Other laser marking techniques exist, but such techniques burn the skin of produce and can damage products and reduce shelf life.
Natural Branding techniques have been active across Europe since 2010, providing laser labelling systems to groups such as the German organic products supplier Lehmann Natur, Dutch Eosta (Nature & More), organic products supplier Biofreshi, Swedish supermarket ICA, and Italian specialist of organic kiwis Agricolli Bio, as well as citrus suppliers in Spain.
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