Melons, ginger, apples and avocados featuring laser-labelled brands and traceability codes could soon be appearing in supermarkets across Europe, following a new investment in cutting-edge technology by Total Produce-supplier Cool Port Packing Rotterdam.
The company, part of logistics giant Kloosterboer, works closely with Total Produce and Kloosterboer across the continent to help supply leading grocery retailers and other outlets.
Supplied by European laser labelling company Laser Food, Cool Port Packing Rotterdam believes the company’s Laser Mark system will help address consumer concerns over wasteful packaging, while enabling the firm and its clients to make substantial savings.
José Antonio Maya, technical specialist at the Port of Rotterdam-based company, said: “We heard about the Laser Food technology about a year ago and were very interested.
“Being environmentally-friendly is very much a current topic, as is reducing pollution and removing labels from products, so we proposed to our principal clients that instead of carrying labels, the products could laser labelled using this kind of machine.
“We got into contact with Laser Food and spoke about what kinds of products could be laser labelled and in what ways. We passed all of this information to our clients and they loved the idea. From there, we carried out the first tests and then bought the full Laser Mark system.”
Maya said Cool Port Packing Rotterdam, which shares a 40,000-pallet capacity packing and storage facility with Kloosterboer, is aiming to add laser labels to melons, ginger, avocados, mangos and apples. Cool Port Packing Rotterdam will be using the Laser Mark system to add brand logos to the fruit, as well as in some cases traceability and GlobalGAP codes. “The main objective for us and our clients is to have a 100 per cent top-class product with the lowest packaging and manpower costs as possible,” he said.
Cool Port Packing Rotterdam provides a full packing service for clients, from receipt of imported products at port through to storage, food safety checks and final packing for delivery.
How it works
Laser labelling offers a safe, indelible means of adding a brand name or product origin to fruit skin without damaging the contents in any way whatsoever, explained Laser Food founder and managing director Jaime Sanfelix.
“The introduction of laser labelling means wasteful, costly paper labels and increasingly needless plastic packaging can be effectively eliminated, enabling retailers and producers to make substantial material savings to say nothing of the resulting environmental benefits,” he said.
The Laser Mark system uses EU-approved iron oxides and hydroxides to mark fruit surfaces using depigmentation, crucially without harming the product in any way. As well as being able to add brand names directly onto fruit, the technology enables retailers to offer greater product traceability through QR matrix codes, while also being able to deliver considerable cost savings by eliminating wasteful paper labels.
Laser Food’s technology is now available worldwide thanks to a global distribution and marketing deal with JBT Corporation; a food and beverage industry solutions specialist that is giving Laser Food access to new markets and an unprecedented global reach.
Under the agreement, JBT, which has a presence in 25 countries, builds and markets Laser Food’s laser labelling system at a global level, making it available – and more financially accessible – to fruit producers worldwide. Laser Food is also benefiting from JBT’s global research and development, sourcing, manufacturing, sales and service network.
Companies currently using Laser Food laser labelling at a European level include Swedish grocery retailer ICA, Dutch organic fresh produce specialist Nature & More and UK retailer Marks & Spencer.