ICA Sweden uses laser to mark produce

March 8, 2017
Grocery retailer ICA Sweden has begun testing a new method for marking fruits and vegetables.

SOLNA, SWEDEN – Grocery retailer ICA Sweden (part of ICA Gruppen AB) has begun testing a new method for marking fruits and vegetables. Instead of using stickers or packaging products in trays and cellophane wrap, the products are marked directly on their skin using a laser. The method is more sustainable and results in better traceability.

ICA is testing this marking method on organic avocados and sweet potatoes (FIGURE). The new sustainability marking is done directly on the skin using a laser beam that changes the pigment on the skin, so that the product's name, country of origin, and PLU code are seen clearly. With this method, the marking follows the fruit or vegetable through the entire supply chain in a secure manner.

Grocery retailer ICA Sweden has tested a laser marking method on organic sweet potatoes.

"It's great that we can now use new technology to get better marking from an environmental perspective," says Peter Hägg, Head of the Fruit and Vegetables product range at ICA Sweden. "This way, organic products do not need to be kept separate from others. Since the marking is on each item, there is no need for stickers, trays, or cellophane wrap around the product. We estimate that we will save more than 200km of cellophane wrap per year just by marking our avocados in this way. The total effect is substantial."

Using a laser, only the pigment in the outer skin of the fruit or vegetable is changed. The method leaves no trace on the product itself. This marking method is already used by other grocery store chains in Europe, such as Carrefour. The machine is located in a packing house in The Netherlands, where the marking takes place.

For more information, please visit www.icagruppen.se.

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