Laser tattoos to replace sticky labels
on fruit


Laser tattoos to replace sticky labels on fruit

News: fruit may no longer come with sticky labels thanks to an EU ruling approving the use of chemicals applied with a laser to brand fresh produce.

The European Union has approved the use of iron oxides and hydroxides on the skin of fruit, which are used to make laser markings stand out more clearly without penetrating the peel.

Laser tattoos to replace sticky labels on fruit

Alongside company branding and information on country of origin, the tattoos could include barcodes or QR codes that shoppers would scan to access more details about the produce.

Spanish company Laser Food, which has developed a machine that can apply laser logos to as many as 54,000 pieces of fruit an hour, has been campaigning for the ban on the chemicals to be lifted since 2009.

Laser tattoos to replace sticky labels on fruit

The company claims the technique could have environmental benefits by reducing the paper, plastic and glue used in stickers, as well as preventing fruit being sold on without details of its supply chain.

Other packaging design we've reported on recently includes medicine packs designed to fit in between Coca-Cola bottles to take advantage of the company's vast distribution network and limited editions of famous products with no brand names on the packaging.

See more stories about food design »
See more stories about packaging »

Images are by Laser Food.

  • 0-0

    Just don’t brand them at all!?

  • Amy

    Would you consume the label on apples, peaches etc? Are there health implications? Or can you wash them off?

  • Emma

    Hmmm? Thanks, but no thanks! I would never consume those products.

  • johan

    How much energy is needed for the laser aplication proces and what are the environmental consequences of that?

  • Iikka

    I don’t see the problem. Iron oxides are the form of iron you get from food anyway. If this works like laser printing, the microscopic amount of “toner” needed to do this is much less than the amount of sticky glue residue that would be left on a fruit from a conventional sticker and far lower on the nasty-scale.

    I doubt the energy use would go up either – manufacturing the glue and stickers requires mechanical work and more natural resources.

  • Ban

    Environmental consequences are not the problem. The stickers currently in use need to be printed anyway. The glue and paper too are made from something too, aren’t they?

    Won’t the incision make the fruit ripen quickly in that area? QR codes belong in the past.

    • smack

      The article wasn’t talking about laser etching, it was actually about a natural chemical that can be discoloured by the laser to allow the mark to be made without piercing the fruit.