Coding and Marking Technology for Food and Pharma companies can reduce costs, protect customers and more!

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The food and pharmaceutical industries have been at the forefront in recent months amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Efficient coding and marking have emerged as vital components, ensuring the swift and secure delivery of products to the market. In a recent webinar presented by HP, Adem Kulauzovic, Director of Coding Automation at Domino, engaged in a discussion with Pat McGrew, founder of the McGrew Group, shedding light on the crucial role played by coding and marking in supporting food and pharmaceutical companies. Let’s delve into some of the key topics they explored, including how coding and marking providers are assisting manufacturers in safeguarding their brands and end consumers by minimizing the risk of counterfeit products infiltrating the market.

Safeguarding Consumers Through Coding and Marking

In industries dealing with heavily regulated products such as food, pharmaceuticals, and health and beauty, the application of coding and marking on primary and secondary packaging is crucial for ensuring consumer safety and safeguarding brand integrity. Noteworthy facts include:

  • A significant investment of $140 million is dedicated to anti-counterfeiting and track-and-trace solutions for cosmetics.
  • In 2017, INTERPOL and Europol seized counterfeit alcohol amounting to $26.4 million.
  • One out of every four products in the pesticide and seeds market is identified as illegal.
  • An extensive investment of $2.741 billion is directed towards Security Printing for ticketing and lotteries.

In order to thwart counterfeiters and ensure consumer protection, nations worldwide have implemented regulations and laws aimed at preventing illegal, stolen, or counterfeit items from infiltrating the supply chain. Within the pharmaceutical sector, these measures are crucial not only for preventing medication errors but also for enhancing inventory management, facilitating efficient product recalls, and mitigating the risk of medication shortages resulting from non-compliant products. However, a notable statistic reveals that one in three pharmaceutical companies is unprepared for the serialization mandates mandated by the FDA Drug Supply Chain Security Act.

Man and child in supermarket isle

How can Coding and Marking Firms Assist Manufacturers in Fulfilling Regulartory Obligations?

The crucial element here is consultation – both solution providers and their clients must invest the time and resources to comprehend how a regulation affects them, what solution is necessary, and the most effective way to implement it. For instance, concerning product traceability, what level of traceability is necessary? How extended is the tracking period for a product? Assisting them in determining the tracking duration indicates the type of data structure required and the durability of inks necessary to guarantee that products can be safely sold to retailers and customers, complying with all necessary regulations.

What is the Required Duration for a Code’s Longevity

This timeframe varies according to the industry. In the pharmaceutical sector, codes typically need to endure for 4–6 years. The longevity of a code is contingent on factors such as the product’s shelf life and the purpose for its tracking. This extends beyond counterfeit prevention and also aids in identifying product diversion and grey market activities. Given that pharmaceutical products go through various stages, monitoring them throughout their entire lifecycle is essential for ensuring consumer safety.

Woman in lab coat in pharmacy picking stock off a shelf

How do you Choose the Appropriate Coding Technology for Specific Applications

Several factors come into play in making this determination. Different substrates possess varying adhesion properties, necessitating distinct coding technologies to achieve comparable durability. Additionally, manufacturing processes and storage conditions play a role – a code might need to endure heat during manufacturing or withstand extremely low temperatures, as observed with certain COVID-19 vaccines. Thermal Inkjet is frequently the preferred technology, providing a diverse range of inks to cater to various applications. The key aspect in identifying the optimal solution lies in thorough testing of both inks and substrates to assess durability in diverse environments.

How does the Implementation of Track and Trace Technology Empower Companies to SafeGuard their Brands?

Pink nail varnish and purple eyeshadow cosmetics imageryCounterfeit goods and diverted inventory pose threats to brands, diminishing product value. For instance, if you opt to distribute your upscale beauty item through salons instead of traditional retailers, illicit products—whether counterfeit or diverted—that enter the market at a significantly lower cost can undermine the prestige of your original brand. Implementing track and trace technology allows for the identification of authentic products and, in cases of diverted stock, the pinpointing of when a product entered the grey market within the supply chain. Crucially, the codes used for track and trace must be both visible and hidden, ensuring that if a visible code is removed, a concealed code can still be utilized.

What lies Ahead in Product Traceability

The advent of Industry 4.0 and the capacity to store data in the cloud will simplify the process of identifying and accessing additional information about products. This is advantageous not only for brands but also for end consumers. In the future, incorporating traceability data on products will become more straightforward for companies, enabling consumers to use this information for well-informed purchasing decisions and facilitating post-purchase connections with brand owners.

woman and man choosing wine from shelf

Want to Learn More?

For additional insights into the role of coding and marking in combating counterfeiting, ensuring consumer safety, and safeguarding brand reputation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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