The beverage market is a huge global business. In the UK alone the value of the soft drinks market in 2012 was almost £15 billion,1 while for wine and spirits the figure was £38 billion.2
As margins become tighter due to competition, pressure from customers and increases in costs, every stage of the production process comes under scrutiny.
In addition to these traditional market pressures, customer research conducted by Linx found that especially manufacturers of high sugar drinks face further challenges on two fronts – the increasing cost of sugar and government campaigns to tackle obesity.3, 4 The alcohol drinks industry is also under pressure from health bodies as well as government initiatives to curb binge drinking.5
The combination of all these factors means that bottlers need to maximise efficiencies throughout their operations – and this includes avoiding errors or waste such as that stemming from poor quality codes or machine stoppage. Only an individual business can truly calculate the specific costs incurred through the downtime of its equipment, but all commentators agree that the impact of wasted production time can be significant.6
At the same time, brand owners are increasingly seeing the benefits of adding value to their product labelling, for example through the introduction of interactive content which can be accessed through QR codes linking to audio or video content hosted on the web.
These developments are creating a demand for coding equipment which is capable of marking everything from simple use-by dates to complex graphics on primary, secondary and on-shelf packaging. An effective code can therefore become an integrated part of the pack design, not just a necessary add-on to convey basic information.
As pack designers increasingly exploit this capability, coding and marking equipment is evolving to keep up. Future-proof coders, which allow add-ons to be integrated at any time, mean users can react to changing trends quickly.
And with regulatory pressure in mind, effective coding and marking technology can help the owners of valuable beverage brands both resist counterfeiting and ease the traceability of products.