Naked Fruit & Veg

The Revolution Has Begun

The Naked Fruit & Veg Revolution has Begun

Globally, retailers and other businesses are beginning to recognise the damaging effects plastics have on the environment. Plastic is full of toxic compounds that are adding to an ever-increasing pollution crisis on land, sea and air because unlike organic matter, plastic can take centuries to degrade.

In the retail industry – particularly in South Africa – plastic bags are still widely circulated among consumers. And while customers are encouraged to reuse them rather than dispose of them, they are still contributing to a pollution problem of galactic proportions.

There is no quick fix for the damage that’s already been done, short of a mammoth worldwide cleaning task force that would cost billions. But new technology has provided practical solutions that could help phase out, or at least dramatically decrease plastic consumption in SA and around the world.

Package-Free Produce – the future of food

When we buy fruit or veg at a supermarket, we either pick them up in a pre-packed box, which is sealed in a film of plastic, lift them off the shelf in a ready-packed plastic bag, or pick the produce we want off the shelf, tear off a plastic bag and have a shop assistant weigh it so that we can take it to the till to be scanned.

In all of these instances, some form of packaging is necessary, because, in order for the product to be scanned, it needs a barcode – which is generally attached to the packaging. Similarly, at supply chain level, produce needs to be marked so that it can be tracked and traced en-route to the retailer and at every stage of the production process.

Aside from being bad for the environment, packaged produce is also one of the root causes of food waste. Food wastage statistics in South Africa are frightening, with around 30% (10 million tons) of our food wasted annually. Of that, agricultural products like fruit, veg and cereals make up 70%. And 25% of wastage occurs at the processing and packaging stage of the value chain. 90% of all that waste ends up in a landfill.

The time has come to throw that packaging away (in a safe, environmentally friendly manner, of course). Food grade ink and food engraving are solutions that have made package-free produce a reality, from distribution, all the way to the shelf. And they don’t only do their bit for saving the environment, they also cut down on costs, wastage and shrinkage, both at supplier and store level.

Tattoos have become quite a popular fashion choice in modern society. And it’s a trend that seems to be taking off on fresh produce now too. Produce “body modification” is a reality. And it’s changing the way produce moves from farm to fork.

Food “Tattoos” – How food grade ink is helping business

There are many security and quality control measures that have to be in place so that the produce we pick up in the store is safe, uncontaminated and fresh. One of the simplest ways suppliers and retailers can control all of these factors and stay compliant with regulations is by tracking the produce at every stage of the supply chain process.

SafeTracers™ offers a solution in the form of edible, tasteless barcodes applied directly to the product – not the packaging. This simple solution has gone through stringent safety tests and has been approved by international authorities. And it allows anyone with the correct scanner to access all the necessary info about the product at the click of a button.

Polytij™ food-grade ink allows the supply chain to track every item in a batch. Processes can be designed to incorporate data like raw material usage records, expiry dates, quality control results and more. The process uses POLYtrust® edible HP thermal inkjet inks, which are highly cost-effective, rub-resistant and multi-functional. You can print invisibly for aesthetic or security reasons or print visible information for easy access.

Laser engraving

One of South Africa’s largest retailers, recently piloted their much-publicised “Nude Fruit” trial, which prompted consumers to bring their own containers when they came into the store to buy their produce, or to buy environmentally-friendly paper bags to carry them in. The produce – a selection of specific fruit and veggies – was marketed package-free in their designated “Nude Zones”.

One of the innovative tools that have been employed in their environmentally-friendly pilot was laser engraving. This process allows food to be marked in fine detail with laser technology that etches the relevant information into it. Pick n Pay used it to effectively display their branding, product number and expiry date on selected produce items.

It doesn’t stop there. Laser engraving can be used to carve any product or traceability information deemed necessary onto products, including batch identification numbers, barcodes, serialisation codes and more.

Become a part of the non-plastic solution

The future of retail has arrived. And it is naked.

Globally, a shift is happening towards unadulterated food that’s unspoiled by plastic, unaffected by food fraud and less likely to be wasted – as consumers no longer have to buy more than they need. And it’s not just limited to fruit and vegetables.

Engraving and edible ink can be used on bread, cheeses and more, to maintain quality control and cut down on waste. Right now, selected South African retailers are trying out naked produce solutions, and your local store could be next.


specializes in the sale of equipment to mark, code or label products dependent on your needs as well as track it, scan it, verify and authenticate it throughout the farm to fork process.

Pagemark Africa

has a patent approved authentication technology called Pelta™, Pagemark is providing governments and companies internationally with secure printing solutions, product and document authentication, serialization solutions, and track and trace software.


Contact us by telephone, email or post.

Unit 54, Design BoulevardNorthlands Deco ParkNew Market Road, NorthridingJohannesburg, 2162
+27 10 020 7220