Natural Branding© laser labeling technology developed by JBT ally Laser Food has been one of the breakthrough innovations of the last 15 years, helping companies improve sustainability and offer a point-of-difference. Here, Laser Food founder Jaime Sanfelix explains what customers can expect with the technology’s arrival in North America.
Sustainability is undoubtedly one of the key themes of our times. Public opinion worldwide has been pushing over the last decade for the greater use of clean technologies, which not only are contamination-free, but which actually benefit the environment. In fact, there has been a clear market trend over the last 12 months towards more and more grocery retailers stocking products which make use of our safe and sustainable Natural Branding© labelling technology for the natural, indelible marking or identification of fruits and vegetables.
During 2020, Laser Food increased our customer base in spite of the mobility restrictions and the lack of trade events as a result of the pandemic. Expectations are high in the important North American market with hundreds of potential customers sure to be interested in differentiating their offer from the competition.
Natural Branding from Laser Food enables them to not only do that, but also provides a fantastic tool for North American supermarkets to be able to follow the sustainable path pioneered in Europe. We now have a fully-operational unit at JBT’s Visalia, California facility, which will be carrying out in-person demonstrations of the technology, and we are hopeful of adding several new customers during the course of 2021.
Laser Food was created in 2006 with the aim of adding value to products through indelible marking using sustainable technologies. We applied for and were granted a three-year investment of $1.2 million from the European Union’s Eco-Innovation Action Plan for the European “Laser Mark” project. The project demonstrated over the course of its development, between 2010-2013, that our technology was effective in reducing the carbon footprint by 99.9% as a result of not using traditional paper labels.
But its success was not just demonstrated by the results we achieved, we were also recognised as one of the best European projects undertaken during 2013; an achievement marked by an award from the government of Valencia Region in Spain. More recently, Natural Branding was awarded the Solar Impulse seal of approval from the Solar Impulse Foundation and the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions for its contribution towards protecting the environment.
And we are not stopping there. Laser Food continues to innovate and has recently introduced new product ranges, which are already in use, for the bakery and meat industries.
Of course, the restrictions on movement made necessary by the pandemic caused disruptions across all industries and Laser Food was certainly no exception, but we have put in place new, remote working procedures which have proven effective not just for supporting existing customers, but also for developing new customer relationships. These systems allow us to be in continuous contact with customers, without the need to be present physically. The result has both increased the attention given to individual customers and made our service more immediate. As I like to say, we are only ever one “click” away from being able to help our customers.
The breakthrough achieved by Natural Branding lies in the complete elimination of plastic packaging. In fact, to a great extent, the goal of Natural Branding is to improve the presentation of fresh products by making such polluting material obsolete, with the fruit or vegetable marked in a natural, indelible form without the need for anything else.
A clear example of the potential for Natural Branding can be seen with organic products. It makes no sense that consumers of organic products, who are traditionally very conscious of sustainable issues, have to buy fruits or vegetables covered with layers and layers of plastic which contaminate the environment. For these reasons, the indelible marking that Laser Food’s Natural Branding offers is increasingly being seen as a viable alternative for the branding and presentation of fresh products, especially in the organics sector.