Tesco Now Tattoos Its Avocados To Save Plastic Waste

The tattooed avocados are proving popular with Tesco shoppers


2 Minutes Read

Photo shows the new Tesco avocados with laser-cut "labels" to reduce plastic packaging waste Laser-etched produce could help reduce unnecessary plastic - Media Credit: Tesco

Tesco is now tattooing its avocados to help reduce plastic packaging waste.

Read more: Retailers Urged To Move Away From Brightly Colored Plastic

By laser-etching the popular fruit, Tesco has been able to remove the barcode stickers previously used on its extra large avocados. The supermarket is also trialing an easily recyclable cardboard container in place of plastic trays for two other avocado lines.

The laser-etching removes a “minute section” of the top layer of avocado skin, printing size information but leaving the rest of the fruit perfectly intact. Tesco is initially trialing its new packaging-reduction measures at 270 stores across southeast England, and if successful, will introduce them at its 4,270 stores across the UK and Ireland.

“We’re really excited to hear customer feedback on our new laser-etched avocados,” said Tesco avocado buyer Lisa Gilbey. She noted that if forgotten, barcode stickers on fresh produce may end up in household food waste by accident.

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UK uses 70,000 tonnes of plastic to package fresh produce per year

Photo shows two avocados in a plastic tray
Adobe Stock The UK uses thousands of tonnes of plastic packaging on fresh produce every year

Tesco sells almost 70 million individual avocados per year and reports a 15 percent growth in sales over the last year alone. The UK is one of the largest markets for avocados, importing around 110,000 tonnes every year, as reported by London Daily News.

According to Tesco, laser-etching extra large avocados nationwide could save nearly one million plastic stickers, based on sales information from its partner Westfalia Fruit.

Furthermore, rolling out the additional reduced packaging measures nationwide could save more than 20 million pieces of plastic trays from twin-pack avocados alone, and 25 million pieces across the entire pre-packaged 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.

Between 2019 and 2023, Tesco says that it removed over two billion pieces of plastic from its UK business, including everything from yogurt pots to plastic cutlery.

However, the use of plastic packaging for fresh produce remains an issue in the UK, and the charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) estimates about 70,000 tonnes of plastic are used each year on uncut fruit and vegetables every year.

Read more: Avocado Production Set For Heavy Decline Due To Climate Crisis, Report Finds

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