Exciting news on the produce front: Florida company Premier Citrus has announced that it will begin shipping citrus with Natural Light Labeling or NLL for short. This has a few interesting implications that people within the industry can take stock in. The way it works is quite intriguing. The labeling system works by concentrating a beam of light onto the fruit, this removes the outer pigment and thereby produces a natural label of sorts.
Premier Citrus claims that the NLL is a clean and efficient alternative to traditional sticker-based labels that inevitably end up in customers’ mouths when they do not remember to remove them first before eating. There are several other benefits that come along with this new method for labeling fruit.
In a statement made by Jimmy Johnson of Premier Citrus, the benefits are clearly outlined:
"The main benefits of NLL include enhanced food safety through traceability," said Jimmy Johnson of Premier Citrus. "This is because each individual product can be identified and labeled. It is permanent, non-transferable and tamper proof. Additionally, it uses no consumables, needing only light to print any image or set of numbers. NLL is a green product, being environmentally-friendly and consuming very little energy."
As we’ve seen, companies are placing more emphasis on traceability. In doing so, they afford the customer the ability to see where the product comes from and grant the customer peace of mind when they buy a piece of produce for their families. Using a natural light source to label the fruit will also indicate to the consumer that the product is environmentally-conscious.
Currently the labeling process is in the testing stages, trying to work out all the kinks before it is commercially viable, and above all, safe for consumers to purchase. The company has tentative plans to launch but wants to be certain that NLL is tested thoroughly before beginning shipments of citrus nationwide. The citrus has a very specific heading, as the demand for citrus in Europe has increased substantially. Not just citrus either, environmentally-friendly options are more sought after than ever before in European countries. Shipments to Europe are, for the moment, on hold as the season comes to a close. Johnson states that the company plans on shipping Valencia oranges to the United States, with further plans to be fully operational in time for Florida grapefruit season which begins in October, in order to serve Asia and Europe at full force. Johnson hopes that the company will soon be able to service all global markets, but Europe is currently the priority due to their reception and promotion of green technologies.
On the horizon, other products may be next for NLL. After citrus is given a green light, and all goes well, other forms of produce may be on deck so to speak. The hope is to get approval to start applying the NLL label to multiple products as soon as possible.
In closing, Johnson said "We are currently FDA approved for Citrus and the approval for other produce is in the process. We feel like this will be widely accepted on other fruit and vegetables such as avocados, melons and so forth. We are excited about this new technology and the benefits it can provide to the consumer."
The future is brighter and greener with the help of Natural Light Labeling, and we will look forward to seeing its prominence blossom in the future.