This is good news for anyone infuriated at having to wrestle with layers and layers of plastic and styrofoam to get to a few pieces of fruit.
Aussie farmers are experimenting with laser-printing ‘tattoos’ on to fruit and vegetables in the hope of getting rid of excessive stickers, wax and plastic wrappings, the ABC reports.
Matthew Abbott, an organic banana farmer from Queensland, told the broadcaster that he’d tried many ways to print branding onto his produce, with hit-and-miss results because the ink sometimes rubbed off if the fruit was exposed to moisture. Now, Abbott has turned to laser-printed branding, which he said didn’t hurt the fruit or affect its shelf life.
The technology comes from company in Spain called Laser Food, which can mark produce with brands, images, slogans or logos and even information on the source of the product.
The change will likely be welcomed by consumers in Australia, who are often critical of the excess of packaging used on fruit and vegetables. A few months ago an online rant by one Newcastle woman over sweet potatoes encased in both a plastic container and plastic packaging went viral, wth more than 109,000 people sharing her snap.
Woolworths responded at the time, explaining that it used packaging to make sure the produce made it through the supply chain unscathed.
“When considering new recyclable packaging options, we need to ensure that it meets our existing food safety standards, product integrity requirements, and that it sustains the appropriate shelf life of our products to reduce food waste,” the supermarket giant said.
“We’ll continue to work with our suppliers to actively pursue packaging alternatives that reduce the amount of packaging or increasing its recyclability where possible.”
Our community writer Jacqui Lee summed up most shoppers’ frustrations with excessive packaging in a recent blog for Starts at 60, noting that it made life harder for older people who may lack the dexterity to struggle through multiple wrappers, ring-pulls and seals.
“Meat in trays? Well, I can allow that,” she wrote. “But the so called ‘easy-open top’ for the raspberries I buy from the freezer? Give me a break! Might be easy for an ambidextrous monkey.”