People aren’t the only ones getting tattoos these days. Pretty soon you’ll see fruits and vegetables with writing on them in the grocery stores. Instead of using stickers, fruit and vegetable labelers will be carving out names and expiration dates from the skin.
A new laser technology has been developed in the past couple of years to etch out “labels” from the skin of both hard-skinned and soft-skinned fruits and vegetables. The system created by Hydroponics is called the Naturall Light Label System and has already been used in farms in South Carolina.
Is it better?
Developers of the laser labeling machines claim that it is. Of course they need to say this to sell their product, but many of the benefits they point out for consumers make sense.
If you compare the laser etching to the current sticker labels, there are a great deal of benefits. For one, you don’t have to deal with peeling off a sticker at all. Two, there will be no potentially harmful and unhealthy adhesive residue left behind. And three, there is no potential harm of accidentally ingesting a sticker. You can just wash your produce and eat it.
On the other hand, some fruit and vegetable consumers say that they would prefer a removable label. Say they’re chopping up vegetables for a party, they’d prefer not to serve the pieces that have writing on them. Writing on vegetables, whether or not it’s edible, can seem unappealing. And removing the written on part ahead of time, or seeking out the cut up pieces with the writing can be much more of a hassle than removing a label.
Will people buy tattooed produce?
The fact of the matter is anything new might be slow to catch on, but once this new system of labeling is implemented, there shouldn’t be much difference. Stickers are considered commonplace for the time being, but in the long run, stickered fruits and vegetables will probably be replaced. To put it another way, consumers aren’t in control of what fruits and vegetables turn up in grocery stores; the retailers are. But, predicted consumer behavior is an important factor for retailers. In order for consumer behavior to fare well in the eyes of retailers, consumers will need to be aware of the technology’s benefits. So, in a nutshell, the key is education. Hydroponics conducted a survey in 4 different big cities asking whether or not they would purchase tattooed produce. The result was: ” When educated about laser labelling, consumers preferred it to the current labelling on edible skin/hard skin fruit and produce.”