• Image: MCC Labels.
    Image: MCC Labels.

Multi-Color Corporation (MCC) and Digimarc Corporation have partnered to serialise product packaging and labels with Digimarc Barcode in support of food safety and traceability initiatives.

MCC is also a member of the HolyGrail 2.0 project, and the company is using an additional application of Digimarc – non-serialised digital watermarking identities – with its client Orkla, a suppliers of branded consumer goods in Europe and India, to improve the sortation of plastic and promote a circular economy.

“Orkla wanted to work with and utilise Digimarc’s digital watermarking identities on HolyGrail 2.0, but also was interested in Digimarc because the possible applications go far beyond just plastic sorting,” Jay Sperry, platform evangelist at Digimarc, tells PKN.

Jay Sperry, platform evangelist at Digimarc.
Jay Sperry, platform evangelist at Digimarc.

“They include scanning technology and augmented reality apps that have the potential to provide information/data in novel ways.”

According to the US Department of Agriculture, recalls in the food industry cost approximately $29 million per occurrence.

To help mitigate the impact of these recalls, MCC and Digimarc have co-developed a hybrid printing method in which Digimarc Barcode can be printed in large volumes.

“Traceability is essential for consumer brands and food manufacturers to promote consumer safety, mitigate risk and gain real-time insight into raw materials and product locations in farms, warehouses, logistics and distribution centres,” says Matthew Thomas, business development manager, MCC.

“MCC’s rich expertise in digital and hybrid printing brings Digimarc’s serialised identities to life and at scale. It’s a partnership that is perfectly positioned to impact the food supply chain of today and the future.”

The key benefits of the Digimarc Barcode include:

  • Better traceability throughout the supply chain can help with food safety efforts and stem the cost and impacts of recalls.
  • Brands and retailers alike can reap the benefits of more accurate and efficient scanning to help with inventory tracking, order replenishment and direct to consumer fulfillment.
  • Consumers can take advantage of more ready access to product information driving deeper, more loyal connections to brands.
  • Optimising packaging for a circular economy, reducing food waste and improving recycling rates.

“Digimarc Barcode is an imperceptible, unique identifier that contains industry-standard GTIN numbers, which are also found in UPC barcodes,” explains Sperry.

“Digimarc is repeated many times throughout product packaging artwork, making scanning much more efficient than traditional visual barcodes. The application of Digimarc involves making precise adjustments to the intensity of colours in the package artwork, resulting in a unique machine-readable identifier.

“The artwork is the barcode, easily scanned, and providing brand managers with more space on the product to promote their products and marketing communications.

“When it comes to identifying, sorting and recycling more plastics, we all stand to gain – from manufacturers knowing their product packaging will enter a circular economy to consumers feeling better about the products they purchase that contain plastic.”

In addition to using serialised Digimarc Barcode, MCC Verstraete IML is also working with Orkla to introduce Digimarc’s digital watermarking identities into packaging for one of its product lines.

The interactive injection moulding labels with Digimarc can enable accurate and reliable scanning to improve plastic sorting, while returning more plastics back into the recovery system.

According to Pavel Komurka, packaging innovation and sustainability coordinator at Orkla, with Digimarc digital watermarking, the company can alter how people view waste.

“Imagine if, instead of throwing this away, the consumer could scan the bottle with their smartphone and be shown new possibilities,” asks Komurka.

“We could present ideas and provide examples, from reuse options to new products created at the end of a recycling stream. With Digimarc, we’re able to explore an exciting new world of opportunities.”

MCC recently published an original white paper that highlights the challenge of food safety, outlines the benefits of Digimarc Barcode, and details how MCC is working with Orkla to support its sustainability goals.

MCC also recently held a webinar on Intelligent Food Labelling with panellists Matthew Thomas, Jay Sperry, and Nico Van de Walle, product and circular economy manager at MCC Verstraete.

“Our partnership with MCC provides a tangible way for consumer brands to get started on their traceability and recycling initiatives,” says Scott Wilcox, vice-president, client services, Digimarc.

“By partnering with the intelligent labelling experts at MCC and MCC Verstraete IML, we can work to serialise packaging and labels, and help support brands and retailers eager to modernise their supply chains, and gain more control, safety and insight into their product workflows.”

MCC has extensive operations in Australia, and Digimarc has also previously done work in the country. This technology solution is available in the Australian market.

Food & Drink Business

The Australian Food Pact is the latest addition to the arsenal of projects and R&D working to halve the country’s food waste by 2030. Simplot Australia, Woolworths Group, Goodman Fielder and Coles Group are four of the founding signatories, joined by Mars Australia, Mondelēz Australia, ARECO Pacific, and McCain Foods.

With the removal of restrictions across states and transitioning into a COVID-19 norm, Woolworths has announced all team members must be vaccinated in the coming months to keep working.

Asahi Beverages has expanded its initiative to buy barley direct from farmers, with seven New South Wales growers now supplying the company’s Yatala brewery in Queensland.