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Tesco rolls out laser-etched avocados, ditches plastic trays in environmental push
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

4 June 2024

Tesco rolls out laser-etched avocados, ditches plastic trays in environmental push

UK supermarket chain Tesco has introduced laser-etched avocados and switched to cardboard containers for two of its most popular avocado lines, in a bid to reduce plastic waste. The retailer has teamed up with its main avocado supplier, Westfalia Fruit, to roll out the changes across 270 stores in southeast England, starting this week. If the trial is successful, Tesco plans to expand the initiative nationwide. The laser-etching process involves using high-powered lasers to etch size information directly onto the fruit's skin, eliminating the need for plastic barcode stickers. This move alone could save nearly 1 million plastic stickers annually based on current sales figures provided by Westfalia Fruit. Additionally, Tesco is replacing the plastic trays used for its twin-pack avocados and other pre-packed avocado lines with more easily recyclable cardboard containers. This change has the potential to save over 20 million pieces of plastic tray packaging, a figure that could rise to 25 million across Tesco's entire pre-packed avocado range.

"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," said Tesco avocado buyer Lisa Gilbey.

Westfalia Fruit, a global avocado supplier, developed the laser-etching technology and conducted extensive trials to ensure the process does not affect the quality, shelf life or taste of the fruit. Westfalia Fruit general manager Graham Isaac, added: "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". The trials come as Tesco, which sells nearly 70 million avocados per year, has seen a 15% increase in demand for the fruit over the past year. The retailer is hoping the changes will be well-received by environmentally conscious consumers.

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