Packaging Changes and Coding Challenges
Industry trends in using sustainable packaging and consumer-driven demand for smaller portion-controlled package sizes are contributing to changes in food packaging form and design. Such changes can present some issues for your existing coding process.
An example of sustainable packaging is the high density polyethylene materials found in dairy and beverage packaging. Labeled as #2 plastic, HDPE is typically found in milk jugs, plastic bags, refillable plastic bottles, and yogurt and margarine tubs. New developments in PET and aluminum packaging mean different substrate materials. PET containers are being developed that can be coated with metallized or pearlescent colorants. The resulting containers are lighter weight, have a variety of colors, and have a different surface texture than traditional PET containers. Aluminum cans are being developed that are made of 90% recycled aluminum. Will these different materials make if difficult to achieve clear and accurate coding, especially with older technology?
The trend towards single serving size packages, such as fruit cups, soups, individual snack packs, and cereal bars create the issue of clear, high resolution coding on the smaller package. In addition, QR codes on the packaging that engage customers to interact with the brand need to be scannable.
Despite the changes in substrate materials and package forms, code quality is important for many reasons:
- Poor code quality detracts from the overall package and brand
- Environmental conditions, like grease, salt, dusts, etc., affect code adhesion and results in poor quality printing
- Diverse packaging means you have to ensure that the right inks or ribbons are used to maintain quality
- No matter the orientation of the package, the correct code needs to be applied to the same place and to the correct product each time
It is important to understand the available options when you are evaluating your coding needs. Talk to us. We have experience implementing various coding solutions for food and beverage manufacturing including laser coding, high-resolution continuous ink jet coding, and thermal transfer overprinting.