Tesco launches laser-etched avocados

Posted: 4 June 2024 | | No comments yet

Supermarket giant Tesco has announced that it will be trialling bold laser etching on its extra large avocados in a bid to cut down on plastic.


In a landmark move to cut down on plastic waste, supermarket giant Tesco has announced that it will be trialling a new type of labelling on its extra large avocados.

For a period of time, the retailer will be scrapping barcode stickers and instead replacing them with bold laser etching.

Simultaneously, Tesco has said that it will also be trialling replacing the plastic tray packaging for two of its most popular avocado lines, instead opting for cardboard containers that they claim are “easier to recycle”.

Should the trial be rolled out across all stores, the retailer has claimed that the initiative could save:

  • More than 20 million pieces of plastic tray packaging from the twin pack avocado, however this fugure increases to up to 25 million pieces across the pre-packed range
  • Nearly a million plastic stickers on its loose extra large avocados.

The move has been made in collaboration with Westfalia Fruit and reflects a significant portion of Tesco’s fruit and veg sales, as the supermarket reportedly sells nearly 70 million avocados per year. In fact, in 2023 alone, the demand for avocados at Tesco increased by 15 percent.

Commenting on the packaging change, Lisa Gilbey, Avocado Buyer for Tesco, said:“We’re always looking for innovative ways to reduce the environmental impact of our products, and cut down on plastic waste in the home through changes to our packaging.

“We’re really excited to hear customer feedback on our new laser-etched avocados, avoiding the need for a barcode sticker that can easily be forgotten and left on when recycling through household food waste.”

Also sharing their stance on the move, Graham Isaac, Westfalia Fruit General Manager, stated that the new laser-etching technology has been analysed using “extensive trials to ensure the quality, shelf life and taste of the fruit”, with Westfalia confirming it is “not affected”.

“Westfalia Fruit continually seeks ways to improve our environmental performance and operate in a responsible manner, by focusing on priorities such as reducing and wherever possible, removing plastic from our packaging to contribute to solving the plastic waste challenge,” explained Isaac.

“We are confident that, with a clear focus and united effort as an industry, we will be able to significantly reduce our waste, use natural resources responsibly and protect the environment and biodiversity for all our futures.”

To mark the avocados, the laser tool removes a minute section of the top layer of avocado skin, etching size information on the fruit as directed by a computer program. In fact, in a third of a second, the technology is able to “essentially leave a tattoo that shows information for customers and cashiers, including the size or variety of the fruit”.

The latest trial by Tesco will be rolled out in 270 stores across South-East England. The supermarket giant had said that is consumer feedback is positive, it will be rolled out across the entire Tesco estate.

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