COLEAD member spotlight: Eosta, more than organic

Eosta is an international distributor of fresh organic and fair fruits and vegetables, with a focus on overseas fruit and greenhouse crops. The company operates worldwide, maintaining a close working relationship with more than 1,000 growers.

Food transparency is at the heart of Eosta’s ethos. The company’s ‘trace & tell’ system, Nature & More, provides consumers with transparency about organic products.

In late 2016, Eosta, through Nature & More, introduced the application of a ‘natural branding’ laser technique to mark organic fruit and vegetables, to help reduce the use of stickers and packaging in supermarkets – see “Eosta’s natural branding technology saves the fifty millionth piece of plastic packaging”.

As the article mentions, to date, Eosta estimates that its laser branding of organic fresh produce has saved the equivalent of an incredible 50 million pieces of plastic packaging. This corresponds to 500,000 kg of plastic, 216,000 square metres of paper, and an energy saving of 2.2 million kg of CO2 emissions.

Natural branding involves marking fruit and vegetables using laser light, which creates a mark be removing a small amount of pigment from the outer layer of the skin or peel. According to Eosta, “this method saves plastic and paper and huge amounts of energy and emissions: a laser mark requires a mere fraction of the energy required for a sticker.” In 2018, Eosta received the Sustainable Food Award for this innovative packaging method.

Currently, Eosta primarily uses natural branding for ginger, avocadoes, mangoes and sweet potatoes, in addition to cucumbers, kiwifruit and other products. The company is also investigating methods to brand citrus and other fruit varieties.

Eosta believes that consumers are extremely enthusiastic about efforts to reduce the amount of plastic used to package organic fruit and vegetables.

Paul Hendriks, Eosta packaging manager, said, “The most sustainable packaging is the absence of packaging, and for organic products, this is achieved using natural branding. Studies show that consumers are very happy about this, because they naturally prefer buying their organic products free from plastic packaging.”

Volkert Engelsman, CEO of Eosta, is a member of the COLEAD Board of Directors.