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Dairy packaging is changing - how can coding and marking technology keep up?

Post a commentBy Paul Doody , 05-Jun-2014
Last updated the 05-Jun-2014 at 16:29 GMT

As consumer demand for dairy evolves so does packaging. Linx Printing Technologies' Paul Doody examines whether coding and marking technology can keep up with changing dairy packaging formats?

Dairy packaging in the UK is changing.

In order to meet changing industry standards and evolving consumer demand, milk, cheese and other dairy products are being packaged in different ways.

But what specific drivers are affecting packaging in this way, and how can packers seeking to deliver coded information on dairy products keep up with the changes?

A More Sustainable Dairy Industry

Sustainability is a target for all industries, and dairy is no exception.

The UK Dairy Roadmap Environmental Sustainability Report , published in 2013, laid out a series of goals for those in the manufacturing sector to reach by both 2015 and 2020.

One short term goal was for dairy manufacturers to reach 30% recycled material in their high density polyethylene (HDPE) milk bottle packaging by 2015, then 50% by 2020.

There can be challenges when coding though.

As packaging becomes more sustainable in this way, using different materials, there can be concerns over whether accurate codes can still be achieved, especially if using older analog technologies.

Luckily for dairy packers, there is a wide range of digital technologies available such as continuous ink jet printing (CIJ) or laser technology that can deliver consistent coded information on almost any surface, even on fast moving dairy production lines.

Healthier dairy products & portion control

Many industries have also taken on the challenge of portion control and weight management, for example with older consumers who may be concerned about high cholesterol or other health problems.

Demand for healthier dairy is one of the major trends affecting product development in the sector today , according to Mintel.

A great deal of attention is currently being paid to addressing the nutritional needs of older consumers, and reducing pack sizes for portion control.

Lunchbox-friendly cheese snacks and daily drinkable yogurts are among the stand-out examples of the increasing ‘bite size’ nature of the industry today.

When packaging is made smaller for portion control, manufacturers need to ensure that code integrity and clarity is maintained even at high line speeds.

Investing in a coder that can deliver high resolution information on different substrates, as well as on smaller areas on the pack is also important.

Coding and marking in an ever changing dairy industry

As you can see, dairy packaging is currently in a state of change, with new substrates and packaging sizes creating challenges for those in packaging.

With initiatives like ‘Dairy Makes A Difference ’ fuelling more support for an expanded dairy industry, the pace of change is not likely to slow.

However, there are a host of ways those in the packaging sector can deliver high quality codes for their customers through a wide range of different technologies.

It is important to understand that these solutions exist, to ensure dairy packagers make the correct choice of coding equipment for their application, and also meet both customer and the industry’s demands.

Paul Doody is marketing director at UK-based coding and marking specialist, Linx Printing Technologies Ltd.

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