Tesco to ‘tattoo’ avocados in dramatic sustainability move

Laser etched Tesco avocados

TESCO is to trial laser etching its extra large avocados in place of the use of traditional barcode stickers.

Describing it as a ‘dramatic’ change, the retailer explained that high-powered lasers will remove a ‘minute’ section of the top layer of avocado skin, before etching size information on the fruit as directed by a computer programme.

Taking just a third of a second, Tesco added that the process essentially leaves a ‘tattoo’ that details information for customers and cashiers – including the size and variety of the fruit.

Lincolnshire-based Westfalia Fruit is behind the new laser etching technology, with Tesco saying that ‘extensive’ trials have been undertaken to ensure the quality, shelf life, and taste of the fruit is not affected.

Alongside the laser etching, Tesco will also trial replacing plastic tray packaging with a cardboard container in two of its most popular avocado lines, with the retailer saying that the new pack is ‘easer to recycle’.

If rolled out fully, the moves, made jointly with Westfalia Fruit, could save more than 20 million pieces of plastic tray packaging alone, Tesco said, whilst also saving on nearly one million plastic stickers.

Tesco avocado buyer, Lisa Gilbey, said, “We’re always looking for innovative ways to reduce the environmental impact of our products, and cut down on plastic waste in the home through changes to our packaging. We’re really excited to hear customer feedback on our new laser-etched avocados, avoiding the need for a barcode sticker that can easily be forgotten and left on when recycling through household food waste.”

Westfalia fruit general manager Graham Isaac added, “Westfalia Fruit continually seeks ways to improve our environmental performance and operate in a responsible manner, by focusing on priorities such as reducing and wherever possible, removing plastic from our packaging to contribute to solving the plastic waste challenge. We are confident that, with a clear focus and united effort as an industry, we will be able to significantly reduce our waste, use natural resources responsibly and protect the environment and biodiversity for all our futures.”