Supermarket's avocado ripeness scanner sparks debate among Aussies

The avocado scanner tells the shopper if the fruit they selected is ripe and ready to eat, but Aussies are debating whether we need the technology here.

For Aussie avocado lovers, whether you have Hass or Shephard, one of the greatest difficulties can be figuring out how ripe the fruit is before you buy it.

So, when an avocado ripeness checker was shown in a supermarket in Zurich, Switzerland, people from across the globe were immediately divided. Will this solve the problem or should people just learn to use their hands properly?

Celestine Tan shared footage of himself using the ripeness checker in a Migros Supermarket, which shows the screen saying "ripe and soft" after he held the avocado up to it for a few seconds — the surprisingly divisive act quickly being witnessed by millions.

Images of the avocado ripeness checker with people holding avocados up to it for scanning.
The avocado ripeness checker is a newer invention being slowly rolled out in some countries. Source: TikTok/AP

The checker was created by OneThird, whose founder — Dutch entrepreneur Marco Snikkers — aims to help reduce food waste through different technologies.

It was unveiled in early 2023 at a tech show in the US and is being slowly launched into supermarkets across the world, with those in the Netherlands, Singapore and Belgium claiming to also have this technology already in their supermarkets.

According to Euro News, the scanner uses optical sensing and AI technology to determine ripeness. It then displays on a screen whether an avocado is firm or ready to eat.

'Hands' or a scanner? The avocado debate rages on

Many have praised the technology, sharing how much they would like to see it in their own supermarket. "I spend half of my life searching for ripe avocados," one said. "Woah we need this in Australia," another exclaimed.

Other supporters shared how this would help prevent the "bruising" of avocados caused by so many people "testing" them with their hands.

"In Australia, every avocado is bruised all over from people testing themselves," one said. "A lot of people squeeze them too hard," another agreed.

Despite this, of the thousands of responses there were still plenty critical of a ripeness scanner, calling it unnecessary. "If only there was a way to check with your hands," one said sarcastically.

"It’s not hard to tell if an avocado is ripe. Just feel it. If it’s soft, but doesn’t puncture when you poke it or go too deep, it’s good," a second said.

Left image of Woolworths 'Eat Now' avocado initiative in a store. Right image of a woman looking for a ripe avocado in supermarket.
Though Australia does not yet have the avocado technology, some supermarkets have implemented other initiatives. Source: Woolworths/Getty

Woolworths avocado ripeness initiative

While Aussie supermarkets don't have ripeness checkers in store at this stage, other methods are being implemented to help customers looking for a ripe avocado.

Woolworths has its "Eat Now" sticker campaign across Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australian stores.

"It can sometimes be hard to pick the right avo’ that’ll be the perfect ripeness for when you need it [so] last year [we] introduced 'Eat Now' stickers to help customers pick the best avos," it said.

"Each avo’ has an individual sticker that says 'Eat Now' and there are signs in store to show which avos are ready to 'Eat Now' or 'Eat Later'."

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