Food and beverage producers spend a lot of time and effort on developing their brand to complement high quality products. Customer confidence in these products is enhanced when packaging includes traceability information and barcodes. There are a number of ways to add these batch numbers and relevant dates, but what is the best way for an SME manufacturer?
Nick Alterskye from edding Tech explains.
Many small and mid-sized food and beverage companies are aiming to sell their high-quality products via retail channels – either physically or online. In order to do so many producers may look to acquire food safety accreditation. For many smaller producers the likes of BRC and UK Food Certification are a couple of steps too far, whereas the likes of SALSA is more attainable.
Food safety “best practice” is of critical importance to the production of safe and legal foods for the protection of consumer health. Food traceability and date information (Use By and Best Before dates) is important data in this respect. These codes are applied to all forms and phases of food packaging process ie primary (which comes in contact with the food or drink), secondary (outer boxes or packaging) and tertiary (once palletised).
Date information such as best before and use by dates are of importance for the end users / consumers. This prevents them from consuming food or drink which is either no longer in its best state, or in fact unhealthy to eat or drink.
Producers can apply this information to their packaging in a number of ways including writing by hand or by semi-automating this process by using an industrial technology (inkjet, laser, print-and-apply labeling, thermal ribbon overprint etc).
The consequences of poorly coded packaging reaching a retailer can cost a small business between £1,000 – £10,000 per pallet. Retailers are quick to return pallets of goods if traceability barcodes are unable to be scanned, if text codes are unreadable, or labels / stickers are missing or defaced.
Semi-automation allows producers to cut operational and consumable costs considerably, as well as minimising labour usage in place of applying labels to products and boxes. Not to mention the clean aesthetic look of a direct inkjet code on packaging opposed to a crooked label or half-peeled sticker.
This is merely the start of sharing information and knowledge with you over the next 12 months providing insight into how important coding and marking can be for your business, and more importantly, your customers!
If you are looking for guidance on a project which involved labelling, printing or coding contact:
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