Fruit labels that dissolve into fruit-wash

Scott Amron's Vanishing Fruitwash Labels are a concept design for a water-soluble, adhesive-backed fruit label that is impregnated with "fruit wash" -- a detergent engineered to remove wax and pesticide residue. They also spare you the hassle of trying to peel labels off your fruit.



  1. “Concept design” as in vapor.  Being able to (poorly) composite a fruit label image onto an apple is one thing, actually making it work is something else altogether.  “Just a small matter of engineering,” right?

    1. Point taken, but you are aware that we put a man on the moon in 1969.  There are pocket calculators more powerful than the computer they used.  IANAChem Engineer, but this idea seems plausible.  Putting a man on the moon back then woulda seemed implausible at best, until we actually did it.

      If enough people like the idea, it gets made.  computers that you could talk to and would talk back was once the “vapor” of Star Trek.  I dunno if you keep up with current events, but they got a thing that does it now, and it fits in your pocket.

    2. Very much agreed — I’m far more impressed by even marginal implementation than by (admittedly clever) thought exercises. “Concepts” from aspiring entrepreneurs and design students are wearing on me. A bicycle without a drivetrain? Sign me up! Dr. Fee C. Saway’s Dingleberry Dissolver? Where can I buy it?

      What’s that? These magical products don’t exist? I have to pedal/wipe myself? Oh, cruel world!

        1. Dingleberry Dissolver? But there IS such a thing!

          It’s called ‘water’.

          You’ve obviously never had a serious dingleberry.

  2.  Now some poor bastard actually  has to come up with an organic sticker (complete with adhesive backing)  that can dissolve into soap, and leave no trace, be manufactured cheaply, and in a way that doesn’t poison people. 

    1. Are there non-engineered detergents? As far as I know, spontaneous generation isn’t normally associated with detergent.

      1. Well, one could consider bile acids a non-engineered detergent, but I do understand your point.

  3. This is an amazing concept.  That little sticker my kids leave on the sink or on their plates becomes something mildly functional.  A parent can say, “Wash it until the sticker goes away.”  Call it what you will, but this ranks up there with handwashing for people who can’t afford organic but would like to wash away coatings and pesticides.

    1. As far as I know it’s still sensible to wash the fruit, even if it’s organic.

      Kaolinite is used in organic farming, too, too prevent sun scalding, and while it’s not “icky” or dangerous, I’d still wash it off.

  4. Seems to me the moisture just in the fruits and vegetable section of the grocery store would be a problem…   In my local grocery store, there’s a spritzer making a fake rainstorm over the vegetables not far from the apples.

    1. Where i work (grocery store) they only spray the veggies. Apples & other fruit stay dry for good reasons. (they will rot)

  5. I agree with planettom, I don’t think the label would survive shipping, and the grocery store, thus making one of the points of the sticker (cashier identification) useless.

  6. I don’t understand why every lime I use at my work has to have a tiny little sticker on it. I cut about 20 of them a day, and I HATE them. Also, if you forget to take them all off before you wash them, it’s even harder to get them off. 

    The name of the company that the limes came from is on the damn box.

    1. It’s because the grocers insist on hiring colour- and size-blind cashiers who can’t memorize the four-digit product code for limes and lemons that they have to punch into the cash register 150 times a day…

      Now, if they can just get the growers to stup using green on red printing…

  7. I’m with pushmonk – what problem do the stickers actually solve that isn’t negated by their nuisance factor? That it takes too long for a clerk to look up the code? That the purchaser will lose brand loyalty? How about we devise a solution that doesn’t involve stickers at all? Like a scanner that recognizes the fruit by ‘sight’ and prices accordingly? Sounds as achievable, and less stupid, than tweaking the original stupid idea of stickering every fruit. End rant.

    1. As a former grocery store checker I think the issue is more than just how long it takes to look up. I know that I was the source of substantial loss for my company because I just learned the code for the cheapest apple, cheapest pear, cheapest tomato etc. and always entered that. No fuss, no muss (for me). Accuracy is important to them.

  8. does anybody actually remember the possibility to grow fruit without resorting to pesticides ?
    a bit of common sense would obviate the need for this silly discussion.

    (plus, it’d better for the pwetty birds and bees and butterflies and the environment, not to mention the scores of then-non-cancerified mexican workers – but this argument will make me vulnerable to the old unicorn lover/tree hugger accusation, so i shall not use it)

  9. Before the Age Of Fruit Stickers there was a much smaller purple food dye stamp on fruit, what the heck was wrong with that in the first place? Probably some giant AgBizCo guy’s friend had a sticker company, something else disposable to charge for. Dang stickers are probably all made in China now anyways.

    1. I’ve always thought the EXACT same thing. Some guy that makes stickers is making a lot of money. 

    2. I’ll bet someone saw n opportunity for branding.  How do you differentiate your apple from the next guy’s?

  10. Wait a goddamn minute!

    Look at that apple!

    That PLU (4017) is for Granny Smiths…… Granny Smiths are NOT RED !

  11. There shouldn’t even BE a label directly on something you eat.  I’d be happier if every piece of fruit was in its own wasteful plastic baggie.  I hate peeling those stickers!!!

  12. This label won’t be in the shops any time soon. I can tell from the pixels and having seen a lot of shops…

    By the way, I’ve got a concept design for a hovercar.  I drew the blueprint when I was 6 and I know the concept works because I used to run around the school playground pretending to drive it and making ‘whooosh’ noises.I can sell you a 10% stake in my business.I’ve done the hard part, I just need someone to invent a hover engine, prototype it and scale it up for mass production.

  13. Aside from all the other issues raised here, I also remember the joy I had as a kid being able to pull of the Chiquita Banana sticker, stick to my forehead, and dance around singing the banana song.

    Okay, so there’s another potential advantage to these dissolving stickers, if they ever become reality: kids will have to find some other way to annoy their parents.

  14. These stickers are a very clever concept!

    Now getting it into production and accepted in the market-  That’s the hard part. ‘Planettom’ has noticed the Achilles Heel in the idea..

  15. Actually PLU codes stickers help not only the check out person, but anyone who does self checkout.  Besides unless you work (as a grocery cashier) a decent number of hours (and it also depends on time of day) you probably don’t remember that many PLU codes.  Common stuff like bananas, some apples, oranges, lettuces are pretty standard.  Then there are more seasonal things like star fruit or produce that is bought less often say like kale.

    Again that all varies by the store, time of day, and clientele.

    1. Yes, and these days optical systems are powerful enough that one could simply lay down the fruit and have the computer – in accordance with inventory – recognise what people buy.

      1. I was thinking about posting a reply about how dirty scanners get in public environments and the like, but Into_anus makes a good point.  How would you optically determine what’s organic and “regular”?

        (Cause I can’t call a “regular” apple non-organic.)

    2. Also, can YOU tell the difference between an organic banana, apple, orange, lettuce  and a “regular” one?

      1. I’d wager to say in a blind test I might get a little better than 50/50, but probably not.

        I occasionally see organic mixed in with the regular stuff (say someone puts something back) and I don’t really notice it being that different.  But when I was a cashier I always checked what people bought, if it didn’t have a code I just gave them the “regular” one because it was cheaper.

    3. Around here you weigh your produce yourself — you hit a button on the scale’s touch screen that corresponds to a giant number displayed on the box you took that item from. No use at all for those stickers; they don’t correspond to anything and don’t even have numbers printed on them. Yet we still have them, even on domestic produce. Just to annoy people would be my guess.

      My idea for stickers that “spare you the hassle of trying to peel labels off your fruit” are labels that you don’t stick on fruit in the first place. Problem solved.

  16. Why stickers at all?

    If every piece of fruit needs a sticker I’d prefer one that was as simple, energy efficient, easy to get off my food without leaving any residue… in short: no sticker.

  17. Great idea.

    Rather than doubting if this could ever be made, it might be a better use of your energy to promote this concept.  I like it if not just for the fact that it turns a waste product into a practical one.

  18. I believe some producers have started using lasers to burn the PLU and even bar codes directly into the skin of the fruit.  This negates the need for a sticker.

  19. I recently finished picking the apples from my trees. No stickers…
    .. and we usually wash them in plain water.

  20. I’m anti-stickers as well… but if you’ve absolutely got to put a sticker on my fruits and vegetables, a melty one would be better than the standard gluey one. 

    There are some stickers (was it on eggplant?  peaches?  pears?  nectarines?  I can’t remember all of them), but there are some stickers that seem to get MORE sticky with water.   Often, I forget to hunt the sticker down before introducing my produce to water and unfortunately, the adhesive + water makes the sticker-paper mushy and the gluey adhesive sticks to the produce.   Consequently, I have to surgically remove the part of the fruit or vegetable with a knife to get rid of the sticker remnants.  Agh.  Makes me crazy!

    1. There are some stickers (was it on eggplant? peaches? pears? nectarines? I can’t remember all of them), but there are some stickers that seem to get MORE sticky with water.

      The ones on Asian pears do that, but there’s no way to get a sticker off a pear without removing some skin in the process.

      One solution to this is to buy fruit in bags. I buy limes in bags all the time. In season, I’ll get a bag of Anjou pears. Things like apples last for months, so it’s unlikely that they’ll rot before you eat five pounds of them.

  21. If I have fewer than 15 items in my basket and I’m in a hurry, I go through the self-checkout stands.  The stands were slow to catch on here, but now there’s a line and those folks are in a hurry too.  Yeah, I could look up the number of each produce item; typing the number in off the label is far easier.  Once home, I haven’t had any problem removing the label with the edge of a paring knife.

    The idea of laser printing the number onto the produce sounds plausible.

  22. Scott Amron should change his name to Norm. (Or Norma.)

    Because, as of now, he’s just a normal Amron.

  23. The store I shop in in the UK has a scale in the produce section in which you go through a menu to identify your sort of produce and then it prints a large sticker with a bar code. Which i still better than the little stickers, but probably more wasteful.

  24. I usually just eat the sticker… I’m gonna end up with a weird tasting surprise if this catches on, I hope it’s non-toxic

  25. I suspect the idea came from (at least in part) the dry sheets of soap that are sold in camping/travel stores. They are paper-like, and when you add water they turn into soap. They’re actually quite useful, though not for everyday use. The shaving cream one is great if you don’t use an electric razor (never works for me) and don’t want the hassle of air travel with your normal shaving cream.

    Problem is that you have to be very careful with them – if you get water into the package, they all stick together. It’s still usable (unless you really soak it), but annoying. I can imagine it wouldn’t be too difficult to increase this durability, though. I think you could even use the soap itself as the adhesive, just moisten the back side of the soap label and affix to the fruit.

    Some of the labels will inevitably be ruined, but it’d be far better than the current situation, and better than no labels (assuming they have a real purpose for the stickers, which is debatable).

Comments are closed.