04 Jun 2024
Laser-etched avocados
Discover how Westfalia Fruit is working to reduce fruit stickers for sustainability.
Westfalia Fruit, a leading multinational supplier of avocados and a range of fresh vegetables and fruit, has completed its first trials of a new laser etching technology that can replace individual Price Look-Up or PLU stickers. Potentially removing nearly a million plastic stickers from the supply chain annually.

The high-powered lasers remove a minute section of the top layer of avocado skin etching a design on the fruit as directed by a computer program. In a third of a second the process essentially leaves a tattoo that shows information for customers. This could include the size or variety of the fruit, or other important information for the consumer.


“The laser procedure occurs whilst the avocados are in the final trays after ripening making it very efficient, as the avocados ripen the skin gets darker and the colour difference becomes even better. You get a very clear visual of the image that has been laser etched onto the fruit,” said Andrew Mitchell, Head of Innovation at Westfalia Fruit.

The company conducted extensive trials to ensure the new technology didn’t affect the flavour, or quality of the fruit maintaining consumers enjoyment of eating avocados With this confirmed through the trials, Westfalia is excited about the sustainability aspect of laser printing to replace PLUs.


"The current small plastic stickers with glue backing that are attached to individual avocados are not recyclable. Work is being carried out to develop more eco-friendly versions, but these involve significantly higher costs; therefore, we challenged ourselves to explore more feasible alternatives. Finding a suitable alternative would amount to a considerable reduction of plastic in the supply chain. This aligns with our and our customer’s sustainability goals." continued Mitchell.


“Once the concept has been proven commercially, we are confident that more customers and geographies will realise the benefits and incorporate the laser etching into their processes. We really believe this approach is something that's just as engaging and effective as stickers but with packaging and efficiency savings as well,” said Mitchell.  


“The technology has come to a point where it’s caught up with the ambitions and needs of the industry. With microchips and the way that lasers are now produced the investment now required is more viable. The trials we have conducted mean that we know the speed and exact number of lasers we need to ensure optimum production whilst making sure every single avocado has the right kind of information on it,” concluded Mitchell. “This really is one of the technologies of the future for sustainability developed by Westfalia and its partners.”

Public Relations contact information
Danielle Willems
+31 6 46753468
Janine Hatfield
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