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M&S to begin labelling avocados with lasers

Marks & Spencer will begin labelling avocados with lasers rather than stickers in an attempt to become more environmentally friendly.

The move could see the department store chain and food retailer save 10 tonnes of paper and five tonnes of glue every year, as well as use less energy and achieve a lower carbon footprint.

M&S said a successful trial could lead to the initiative being rolled out to other fruits and vegetables.

The labelling works by shining intense light onto the avocado’s skin, which retracts back and discolours only the top layer, meaning it does not damage the fruit itself.

The avocados are lasered with the M&S logo, best before date, country of origin and product code for entering at the till.

The laser-labelled products will be available from Thursday.

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

“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 labelling is a brilliant way for us to reduce packaging and energy use.”

M&S trialled a similar laser technique a few years ago on citrus fruit using a different technology, but while it looked effective and was quick to apply, it caused a slight deterioration in skin quality and was therefore discontinued.

“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,” Curtis said.

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

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