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icon Clock  27/2/2014

The counterfeit drinks market has grown in recent years, in particular with high-end alcohol being targeted by product counterfeiters. It is estimated that these fakes cost the UK Treasury £1.2 billion every year, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs, with many trying to avoid steadily rising alcohol taxes.

However, the costs are also very high to the manufacturer, with surveys suggesting that almost one in five UK consumers having bought counterfeit alcohol in 2013. Whilst the trade of counterfeit alcohol has been highlighted, it continues to be sold at a loss to the manufacturer, as there is often little for the consumer to do to tell the products apart.

What Can Be Done To Combat Anti-Counterfeiting?

There are things steps that can be taken on the bottling line to ensure that brands can take control of their products. Many look for effective and unobtrusive ways to track products throughout production and packaging, whilst also assuring to the end customer that the product they have purchased is what they are expecting and will not be harmful.

Coding machines offer a range of solutions to solve this growing problem, using a number of different technologies depending on the bottler’s requirements. The different coding and marking products each have their own advantages to deliver depending on your set up, helping bottling lines to deliver the codes that brands need.

Coding Technology & Anti-Counterfeiting Measures

For example, when printing onto secondary packaging, high definition digital graphics and codes may be required to ensure that cases of bottles can be effectively tracked and authenticated in the process of distribution. These can be achieved both through thermal inkjet printers and large character printers, delivering codes up to a height of 70mm.

Continuous Ink Jet printers, perhaps the most versatile of printing technologies available, can help to deliver a wide range of codes to bottlers to help tackle counterfeiting. The use of security inks, for example those that only show up under UV light, is just one of the methods available to the beverage industry to make their products more secure. However, as serial numbers can easily be duplicated, they also give you the option to deliver encoded Data Matrix information that is difficult for counterfeiters to reproduce.

These codes can also be delivered by laser coders, which mark the products indelibly, meaning that codes cannot be changed once they have left the bottling line.

Which technology you choose depends on your requirements, that could either be permanent or semi-permanent codes, meaning that the choice between laser marking machines (permanent) or CIJ (semi-permanent) would need to be carefully made.

If you want to find out more about the problems facing the beverage industry and the relevant coding solutions available, then why not have a read of our industry white paper?


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