Supermarkets want to begin tattooing your fruit

Sick of dealing with annoying and wasteful plastic stickers, Swedish supermarket chain IGA is testing out a way to tattoo our fruit.

It’s important to thoroughly wash any fruit and vegetables you eat. Oh – and don’t forget to peel off the tiny labels. You didn’t just eat a label, did you?

Annoying produce labels may soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new fruit-branding method. No; farmers aren’t going to heat up metal and brand them, Wild-West style. Rather, they’ll be branded with a brand new (pardon the pun) eco-friendly laser that will completely eliminate the need for those teensy, sticky labels.

Think of it as a fruit tattoo. Each piece of fruit or vegetable will be zapped with a laser that will imprint the product’s name, country of origin, and produce code number for the grocery store cashier to type in when customers check out. The branding devices are low-energy carbon dioxide lasers that simply remove the pigment from the outer skins of the produce.

They first tested the technique out on sweet potatoes and avocados because stickers have a hard time staying put on their skins. In addition to this, people don’t usually eat the skins of those veggies, so they made good fodder for experimentation.

ICA, a Swedish supermarket chain, is the first store to try the new branding system out. If the program works, they’ll expand it to the 1,350 stores across Sweden.

Peter Hagg, a senior produce manager for ICA, pointed out to the Daily Mail that the change will help with more than convenience – it’s also incredibly eco-friendly.

“It’s a new technique, and we are searching for a smarter way of branding our products due to the fact that we think we have too much unnecessary plastic material or packaging material on our products,” he said.

For those concerned about the branding affecting the way their guacamole tastes, Hagg says that they shouldn’t worry, as the mark doesn’t go through the skin or affect the product.


By Dawn Henderson, Earth.com Staff Writer