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Grocers Curb Food Waste By Laser-Printing Labels Directly On Produce

By Maria Cook

When we hear the term "food waste," we tend to think of uneaten food itself. But produce stickers, such as those found on many fruits and vegetables, also create a lot of unnecessary waste. Luckily, new laser technology, which allows produce companies to engrave labels directly onto fruits and vegetables themselves, may soon make such stickers a thing of the past. 

At the forefront of this technology is aptly-named Spanish company Laser Food. Along with University of Valencia researchers and equipment manufacturer Maxfrut, Laser Foods is striving to make laser-printed labels the norm in the produce industry. The company is concerned about the impact traditional produce labels have on the environment, but that isn't their only reason for standing behind more high tech labels. 

According to export sales director Stephanie Merit, laser-printed labels also have a distinct advantage over the sticker variety in that they don't fall off, allowing for easier tracking of produce. As she explains, "The concept is the answer to a major problem in the industry: total traceability of fruits and vegetables, by the piece, until they reach the consumer’s table."

Recently, British food company Marks & Spencer (M&S) made headlines by announcing that they will begin selling avocados with  laser-printed labels in an effort to curb waste. According to the company, this move will save tons of paper and glue every year.