Major Brands Issue Nationwide Recalls This Week
Two major food brands in the United States were in the news this week with nationwide food recalls. Chef Boyardee issued a recall of over 2,800 pounds of mislabeled chicken and rice products with undeclared allergens. Pillsbury also issued a recall for over 12,000 cases of their Unbleached All-Purpose Flour after a random inspection revealed traces of salmonella.
Despite continuous improvements and strict manufacturing processes, food recalls are inevitable and continue to be part of the retail landscape. With massive distribution across retail chains throughout North America, major food manufacturers like Chef Boyardee and Pillsbury - along with their parent companies - code their packaging for trace-ability purposes. These trace-ability codes ensure food quality, consumer safety and brand reputation by allowing them to identify where and when a particular product was manufactured in the event of a recall.
These codes are not only printed on the primary packaging seen by the consumer on the retail shelf, but also included on secondary and tertiary packaging used for transport and logistics of the product from the manufacturing facility through the supply chain. Food and beverage manufacturers must have a reliable means to be able to consistently code their packages that does not reduce efficiency or slow down production.
There is a wide variety of technologies and OEMs to choose from to meet these challenges and inkjet coding is easily the most common method used for this purpose in the food and beverage industry. Even within inkjet coding there are different types of print head technologies with varying complexities, investment and operating costs. The major manufacturers have extensive experience with many of these technologies and allocate large portions of their capital and expense budgets for this purpose every year.
However, the food and beverage landscape has changed significantly over the past decade as more and more small to medium sized businesses are becoming popular with changing consumer sentiments - consumer preferences for the younger generations entering the market skew towards the small, local and craft manufacturers for everything from beer to salsas and even soap products. These smaller, family owned business have smaller budgets and are often caught off guard by the many packaging regulations and requirements they encounter as they expand their retail sales and distribution.
The smaller, craft food manufacturers need a simple, easy-to-use and cost effective solution that can scale with their business as they grow. We have found that thermal inkjet technology is a great option for these manufacturers and our customers are thrilled when they realize the low investment cost and total cost of operation for these printers.
Have you ever been involved with a food recall? How does your company address traceability requirements? What is your preferred method and/or technology for coding and marking? We'd love to hear your thoughts and comments below!