Private brand avocados with laser-printed barcodes and branding are going on sale at Marks & Spencer as part of a drive to reduce waste. The labels, which are etched onto the fruit’s skin with lasers instead of stickers, will save 10 tons of paper and five tons of glue every year.

The process works by focusing intense light onto the avocado’s skin, which retracts back and discolors only the very top layer, meaning it does not damage the fruit. Avocados are lasered with the M&S logo, best before date, country of origin and product code.

M&S fruit technologist Charlie Curtis said: “When we first saw the technology in Sweden a couple of years ago, I knew we had to get involved.

“We’ve been following it for a while and are so excited to finally be launching it on avocados.

“Sustainability is at the heart of our business and the laser labeling is a brilliant way for us to reduce packaging and energy use.”

Mr. Curtis added: “Providing all goes well with the avocado lasering, we could look at rolling the technology out to all sorts of other fruit and vegetables in the future.

“We have the potential to reduce packaging exponentially which is very exciting.”

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.