Organic fruit and vegetables are almost always wrapped in plastic wrap, because they must be distinguishable from conventional fruits and vegetables that are sold separately. It is mandatory to clearly distinguish between the two types in order to avoid confusion. That means a lot of extra packaging, while consumers often buy organic from sustainability considerations. Organic fruits and vegetables sold at the Delhaize supermarket chain will now have laser labeling instead of plastic wrapping or sticker labels.

Delhaize names the technology “natural branding ‘and hopes to save 13 tonnes of packaging per year using laser labeling. It is a natural and eco-friendly way to make a mark on a piece of fruit or vegetable, in the form of letters or an image on the peel. It is a non-contact method that is completely safe. What happens during this process is that with a high-resolution laser pigment is removed from the outer layer of the skin. This is a very superficial process that does not affect the taste, smell or shelf life of the product. This technology provides does not use glue, ink, paper, liquids or other substances.

Initially laser labeling will be tested on a single product, the butternut, provided from the organic range. By the summer will be extended to 20 kinds of products which include zucchini, cucumber, squash, celeriac and fennel. Almost 10% of vegetables and 7% of the fruit sold in 2016 at Delhaize were organic.

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