by Adam KNIGHT
Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Evolving coding and traceability to meet the new opportunities in pet food

Wellness! It’s the consumer word of our times and the noun that has sold a thousand products: from vitamin supplements to fitness products and snacks. Whilst the shift over the last decade to personal wellness and hypervigilance of what we put in our bodies is well documented, less well known is the growing trend for wellness in pet products. 

At Markem-Imaje we have been working with our customers in the rapidly growing pet food segment to evolve our marking, coding, and traceability solutions to adapt to this emerging trend.

Evolving coding and traceability to meet the new opportunities in pet food

Pets are beloved members of any family, and it stands to reason that we would take as much care with their diets are we do of our own. So naturally, the demand for healthy products made from ethically sourced ingredients, with transparent and traceable provenance, has transitioned to the pet food market. Running in parallel with this trend is a focus on sustainable packaging and processes. As a result, the packaging industry is moving away from conventional marking and replacing it with more sophisticated coding solutions. 

Pets are what they eat 

The breadth of healthy products in the pet food market is huge and growing! The availability of choice spans single portion packets boasting organic ingredients, right through to bespoke diet plans designed in partnership with a vet.

To supply such high-quality products and encourage consumer trust, manufactures are concerned with providing transparency about the sourcing of ingredients.  To achieve this, traceability is critical, and it is needed across the entire supply chain: from farm through to retailer. Closing the circle of the supply chain with full traceability is a complex process – our solution at Markem-Imaje is the Systech Brand Protection Suite which provides secure data exchange and enables end-to-end supply chain tracking. 

At the very sophisticated end of the scale, pet food manufacturers can work directly with vets who prescribe bespoke diet plans for pets which are then manufactured to this specification and delivered directly to the consumer. This opens a new world of late-stage customization in labelling and coding whereby bespoke information related to the pet and their diet plan needs to be printed on primary, secondary, and final stage packaging. To achieve this, integrated coding equipment and software is needed. Our CoLOS software together with the Systech Suite and our comprehensive range of marking and coding systems have proven to be reliable and simple to use solutions in this space – offering usability which helps minimize mistakes and optimizes the process. 

Healthy food packaged sustainably 

Much like all other markets, the pet food segment is moving rapidly towards more sustainable packaging and processes. As well as being the right thing to do – this approach forms part of the brand story. Supporting our customers in achieving carbon emission reduction targets, and other sustainability goals, is at the heart of our work. In the pet food market our range of MEK-free inks, which reduce the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC) by up to 50% is an important step forward. Equally important is working in partnership with our customers to trial our range of marking and coding solutions on packaging which has fewer environmental consequences. Working together in this way ensures that their coding continues to be compliant, fully traceable, and brand protecting whilst supporting more sustainable practices.

Consumer engagement 

The pet food market isn’t standing still, and with the growing demand for health-enhancing products, so the need for brands to engage consumers more closely with their story grows. Over the coming years, I expect this to become a two-way process with packaging and coding facilitating the exchange of information directly with the customer. Allowing them to feedback on a product in real-time. For the industry, this progress will directly improve brand engagement and traceability; for pets this can only mean even better mealtimes!
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