Marks & Spencer has started laser printing avocado labels to reduce waste


M&S said it could roll the technology out to other fruits and veg (Source: M&S)

In a push towards sustainability, Marks & Spencer (M&S) has started laser labelling avocados.

Moving from sticker labels to lasering will save the retailer 10 tonnes of labels and backing paper and five tonnes of adhesive every year on avocados alone. Lasering also uses less energy.

So, how does it work?

M&S said the innovative technology, a first in the UK, works by shining intense light on the fruit's skin, which discolours the very top layer.

Avocados will be tattooed with the M&S logo, best before date, country of origin and product code, and they are available in select stores now.

Read more: Holy guacamole: avocados have more than doubled in price

Here's what the new labels will look like (Source: M&S)

The retailer is working to reduce overall packaging used in the food department by 25 per cent.

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

"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."

Demand for avocados is rising every year - M&S sold 12m avocados last year with sales up 29 per cent from the previous year.

M&S previously tried a similar lasering technique on citrus fruits, however, it found that technology deteriorated the skin quality.

“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," Curtis said.

Read more: Smaller is better... When it comes to food packaging