Eosta, a Dutch organic vegetable and fruit supplier has developed a high-tech method to replace sticker labels with ‘natural branding’ that uses laser markings to label organic food.
The new trademark of Eosta called Nature & More focuses on developing ways that cut plastic packaging to provide healthy food to the market in a sustainable way. The packaging expert of Nature & More Paul Hendrikis believes, “the most sustainable way to pack is to not pack at all.”
The Swedish Supermarket chain ICA collaborated with Nature & More to introduce the laser marking method that is suitable for organic products. The method peels of a bit of pigment from the surface of the product to make a mark. The peeling is so insignificant that it does not affect the taste or the shelf life of commodity. The natural branding process is approved by the EU Organic certifier SKAL and uses less than 1 percent of the energy needed for a sticker production, creating less than 1 percent of the carbon emissions.
Nature & More believes that the investment in the expensive machine for laser branding is worth it because, in the long run, the amount of energy, Co2, and the resources saved will sum to be very significant. The first testing of the Natural Branding will be done on sweet potatoes and avocados in ICA.
In 2015 alone, Eosta sold 725,380 packs of avocados, using 135 miles of plastic, weighing 2,042 kilograms with the carbon emissions equivalent to an average car driving around the world 1.4 times. Just one year of laser marking on avocados alone will save over 725,000 packaging units.
ICA is the leader in organic laser branding in Sweden, but similar methods are being used by Marks & Spencer in the UK, and a Spanish company Laser Food. The Business Unit Manager of ICA Peter Hagg says;
“By using natural branding on all the organic avocados we would sell in one year we will save 200km (135 miles) of plastic 30cm wide. It’s small but I think it adds up.”
The eco-friendly method of Natural Branding excludes the use of stickers that require 100 times more resources including glue, paper, and ink. If the method gets implemented all over the world, the carbon emissions will be reduced significantly with a lot of energy and resources saved. Every person that loves their planet disapproves of plastic packaging, so we can expect this method to become common very soon.