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Nov 05, 2018

Hawke's Bay students find soluble solution to the picky problem of fruit stickers

A group of Hawke's Bay students believe they've found a solution to the picky problem of fruit stickers.

fruit sticker

A group of Hawke's Bay students believe they've found a solution to the picky problem of fruit stickers.

Billions of the stickers go into the environment every year, and now four Woodford House students from Havelock North have a new idea, called 'bayuble', which has the industry excited.

The answer? Just add water.

"It's warm water soluble, which means it encourages apple consumers to wash their fruit to get the sticker off. You can drop it off outside," Sarah Wixon, one of the product's co-founders, said.

Bayuble co-founder Zoe Rookes added, "it's fully compostable. You can do it at home".

The concept has helped them win the region's Young Enterprise Scheme award.

Woodford House's Toni Dunstan called the innovation "phenomenal".

"It's a brand-new product they've developed. The potential is mind-blowing," Ms Dunstan said.

"We have been in touch with intellectual property lawyers and patent attorneys. Hopefully, we can get that fast-tracked so we can keep our idea safe," Ms Wicox said.

What the students can reveal is that their label is 100 per cent natural and made from an apple by-product.

Bayuble co-founder Maggie Peacock said, "Because it’s a 100 per cent natural product, it will just be going into the water stream. It doesn't affect anything at all".

While the small fruit stickers may seem insignificant, Hawke's Bay alone exports one billion apples per year, making the little labels add up to a big environmental problem.

The prototype is already making waves in the industry with some keen to help develop the idea.

Apple and Pear New Zealand's Alan Pollard thinks the water-soluble labels would be "quite a popular idea" among consumers.

"We are certainly getting feedback from our markets and from consumers that they would like to see a more sustainable solution to labelling and this is a great idea to go with it," Mr Pollard said.