A Guide to Laser Engraving and Marking Food Packaging

For years, manufacturers have been laser engraving food packaging with logos, nutritional facts, barcodes, and other identification marks. This process eliminates the need for stickers and other materials, which creates a more sustainable approach. It also ensures the integrity of the enclosed food product.

Laser engraving and marking food packaging will continue to be a common practice for manufacturers, regardless of the type of food product being produced. Keep reading to learn about how laser marking is changing the future of food packaging.

What Are the Benefits of Laser Marking Food Packaging?

Prevents Counterfeit Labels

As disturbing as it is to think about, food counterfeiting and adultering are real issues. The FDA estimates that 1% of the global food industry is affected by fraudulent attacks; don’t underestimate the strength of 1%—that could be up to $40 billion a year.

Fraudulent food infiltrates the market with doctored labels and misleading packaging. Because of this problem, the US uses a serialisation method. Serialisation gives each food product a unique identifier that’s approved at each step in the supply chain. The serialisation is a barcode that stores information like the company the food is from and its progress in the supply chain.

Laser marking food packaging makes doctored serialisation a harder task for counterfeiters. Not only can the mark not be altered without ruining the package, but it also cannot be mimicked. Adding laser marking to serialisation makes it easier to spot counterfeits and stop them in their tracks.

Reduces Label Waste

Food packaging is often made from plastic, glue, rubber, and other polymers—not to mention that standard label printing requires consumables like ribbons. But when consumers buy food, the packaging is thrown away and wasted.

Since packaging goes through a quick life cycle, it’s beneficial to use laser marking to limit waste.

Marking directly on food labels removes the use of plastic stickers or labels that quickly build up as pollutants. Likewise, laser engraving food packages do not require any consumables like ribbon or paper.

Improves Recall

Not only does serialisation combat counterfeiting, but it also gives a seamless channel for recalls.

As mentioned with counterfeiting, standard labeling made from stickers or ink is easily doctored—by accident or on purpose. If a label is accidentally removed, smudged, or altered, it can provide incorrect information for the recall process. Without correct serialisation, the recall process is inefficient and potentially threatening to consumers because companies can’t gather all the defective food.

Since laser marking is permanent and cannot be altered, it solidifies the recall process.

Why Use Laser Marking for Food Packaging?

Besides the benefits of laser marking, choosing to laser mark evolves your business’s revenue, production speed, and compliance. Here are a few other reasons to use this advanced technology.

Precision and Speed

Laser marking packaging has proven to be a fast, reliable, and precise process for food manufacturers. Accurate and intricate marks can be applied to several materials, offering consistent, high-quality results.

No matter what you’re marking, laser marking always takes the cake for its impressive marking speed. Laser marking food packaging is extremely quick and eliminates additional cost required for consumables like ink or labels. There’s no additional material preparation or processing. A laser marking machine only needs the food or package and a mark can be achieved.

Environmentally Friendly

It’s no secret that excess plastic and energy use is bad for the environment. Using a laser marker for packaging is a green choice that lowers energy use, plastic use, and overall waste.

Lasers do not use any consumables and also use less energy because there are fewer steps in the process.

Curate Your Brand

Laser marking food packaging works for your brand in two ways. You can attract consumers with branded designs or highlight your commitment to sustainability.

Laser marking attracts consumers with its ability to add unique designs to your packaging. Furthermore, a 2023 survey by McKinsey & Co. found that 60% of consumers would pay for a product with more sustainable packaging. As mentioned above, laser marking food packaging is a sustainable process, so using laser marking can leverage your business to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.

Laser Marking Food Packaging Made Easy

Laser engraving and marking food packaging can be done in an environmentally friendly and efficient manner. KEYENCE offers a CO2 laser called the 3-Axis CO2Laser ML-Z Series. It features 3-Axis control that can accommodate for shapes and moves the laser’s focal point to mark without distortion. Even a lopsided potato or egg carton can be marked without distortion by the ML-Z.

If you’re ready to take the next step into laser marking, we have the products and expertise to assist. Let our skilled team answer questions about integrating a laser marking machine and using it efficiently. Don’t fall behind against new regulations and changes in the food packaging industry; contact us today to get started.