Multi-Color Corporation (MCC), a provider of label solutions, and Digimarc Corporation, creator of the Digimarc Platform for digital identification and detection, announced a partnership to serialize 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 utilizing an additional application of Digimarc — non-serialized digital watermarking identities — with its client Orkla, a supplier of branded consumer goods in Europe and India, to improve the sortation of plastic and promote a circular economy.
According to the U.S. 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.
Plastic clamshells containing berries, for example, can be serialized with a Digimarc-enhanced label produced by MCC's hybrid printing process. Quality control procedures are designed to ensure Digimarc is scannable throughout the supply chain. And when consumer brands combine serialized products with an IoT management platform, individual packages can be traced back to their origin at a specific farm, as well as across the entire supply chain.
"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 centers," says Matthew Thomas, business development manager, MCC.
Plastic Sorting Application
In addition to using serialized Digimarc Barcode, MCC Verstraete IML is working with Orkla to introduce Digimarc's digital watermarking identities into packaging for one of its product lines. The interactive IML (Injection Moulding Labels) with Digimarc can enable accurate and reliable scanning to improve plastic sorting and return more plastics back into the recovery stream.
"With Digimarc digital watermarking, we can alter how people view waste. For example, when a bottle is empty, it becomes unwanted — something to be discarded. Now imagine if, instead of just throwing this away, the consumer could scan the bottle with their smartphone and be shown new possibilities," says Pavel Komurka, packaging innovation and sustainability coordinator, Orkla. "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."