In Aclens, in the Canton of Vaud, the Satori company will engrave the Migros organic logo into the peels of mangoes. After a test phase, this laser technology will be used nationwide. This will eliminate the need for millions of plastic labels.
As far as the engraved organic mangoes -that will be on offer at all Migros supermarkets from now on- are concerned, this neither constitutes an optical improvement nor a marketing gag. There is an ecological reason behind it, because by engraving the Migros organic logo on the surface of the fruit, the plastic stickers, which are harmful to the environment and unpopular with customers, will become superfluous. However, this way organic mangos can still be clearly distinguished from conventionally cultivated specimens, as required by law.
Engraved organic fruit / Picture: Migros
Pioneers in laser engraving
The engraving is done at the Satori company, which supplies exotic fruits and vegetables to Migros. It is located in the industrial area of Aclens, between Lausanne and Yverdon-les-Bains. "We are the first company in the country to carry out natural branding, i.e. laser engraving of the skin of fruit and vegetables," says Valon Morina. The 35-year-old is responsible for ripening and storage and supervises the mechanical process, which is based on laser technology.
After delivery -by ship from Brazil and Peru and by truck from Spain- the fruits are sorted according to size, stored in a special room and checked daily for ripeness. "They must not be too ripe, otherwise they could be damaged during engraving," Morina explains.
Laser beams at the speed of light
After the selection, everything goes very fast. At eight per box, the mangos are put on a conveyor belt, going through the engraving machine. In order to adjust the laser exactly, the fruits are scanned by a special camera, checking height and diameter. Afterwards, two laser beams will engrave the Migros organic logo into the peel at the speed of light.
At the exit of the machine, each individual fruit is inspected. "It may not be possible to see the marking too clearly at this stage, but we know from experience that it becomes more visible after two or three hours," explains team leader Vjolca Hoxha. Four days later, after further maturation, a final check is carried out. This ensures that the fruit flesh has not been damaged.
Test run with avocados
In addition to mangoes, Satori is currently engraving avocados as part of another test, that will run until spring. If this test is successful as well, Migros could save on more than 5.5 million plastic banderoles per year in the future, when it comes to organic mangos and avocados.