Alcohol and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers anti-counterfeit measures

How alcohol and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers shield their brand reputation and margins with anti-counterfeit measures

Control Print Limited | January 5, 2023

India’s Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector is the fourth largest in the country’s economic system. The three major segments are the food and beverages products sector (19% share), the healthcare and hygiene products sector (31% share), followed by the household and personal care products sector (50% share). Urban consumers contribute about 55% of total revenues, while rural consumers account for about 45%. Rising rural demand is expected to drive India’s FMCG market further.

As always, the beverage industry has continued to be one of the most exciting sectors for innovation. Every year, it keeps evolving with new trends that continue to emerge within this industry. Creative advertising campaigns like Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign often influence the market and shape the industry. New technological advancements have enabled manufacturers to use thermochromic ink and QR codes on products, allowing for an interactive experience between brands and consumers.

Coding and marking to match the aesthetic appeal of premium and experiential beverage packaging

 A growing number of people are gravitating toward experiences instead of quantity. Many beverage manufacturing companies are focusing on providing an exceptional customer experience rather than just offering lots of products at low prices. It’s evident in the increased popularity of limited-release flavours and the growing interest in authentic ingredients that millennials’ decreased drinking habits are fuelling a shift towards premiumization, with craft beers and small-batch liquors becoming increasingly favoured.

Regarding premium beverages with premium packaging, the challenge lies in ensuring that the printed manufacturing and expiry dates, batch numbers, labels or barcodes don’t diminish the importance, value, or effectiveness of the appeal and aesthetics of the packaging. However, this must not be allowed to jeopardize the essential prerequisites of coding and marking to communicate information clearly and permanently.

Recommended: Benefits of innovative packaging in the FMCG sector

Product recalls can cause severe financial and reputational damage

 Recently, several major companies have suffered from costly recalls, i.e., Coca-Cola, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and Proctor & Gamble. Because of this, one of the most crucial coding and marking requirements for many beverage manufacturers is to have consistent, clear, and easy-to-understand code in their products and packaging, even when working in environments where condensate might occur.

Recently in the UK, a limited number of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar multipacks of 24 x 330ml cans packaged with Christmas cardboard were recalled because some packs had been wrongly packed and contained Coca-Cola Original Taste. This made the product a possible risk to consumers who need to manage their sugar intake, with The Food Standards Agency (FSA) issuing a “don’t drink” warning for affected multipacks carrying the batch codes 301WA1, 302WA1, 303WA1, 304WA1, 305WA5, 306WA5, 307WA5 and 308WA5 with a best-before date of 31 October 2023 and 30 November 2023.

In the possibility of a product recall, Control Print’s coding and marking systems and consumables play a critical role in helping manufacturers track and trace products through a series of variable information and barcodes printed on their products and packaging.

Sustainability is a growing concern among Indian consumers and beverage manufacturers

The four main types of substrate materials used by the beverage packaging industry include plastics, aluminium, glass, and multiple-layered packets. The functionality of these products is similar, but they have some differences. For example, they enable transportation, protect beverages from damage and leakage (although different types of bottles often fulfil the latter two functions), and may be reused for multiple purposes. However, the probable environmental impact associated with their use varies widely depending on how well they’re managed.

There has been an increased awareness of potential environmental issues related to improper management of packaging materials and poorly managed plastic waste in recent years, which has led to the adoption of new rules and regulations regarding their use.

Plastics are found in everything from bottled aerated drinks and processed foods to boxed ready-to-eat meals and even the wrappers that package them for doorstep delivery. An increasing number of consumers are worried about the impact these products and their packaging have on the planet.

A combination of better recycling infra­structure and the adoption of reusable glass bottles has been shown to be effective at reducing single-use plastic bottle use. And it can be supported by specially designed coding and marking ink that can be removed via a washing process. It means that far fewer plastic bottles and manufacturing processes would be needed, saving substantial energy, materials, and resources.

Some large corporations like Nestlé, Danone, Mars, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, Dabur, Unilever, and Kellogg’s are making efforts by eliminating single-use plastics from their supply chains. By 2022, the global biodegradable packaging market is projected to reach US$ 14.3 billion.

Through strategic partnerships, many companies are developing new ways to minimize waste, cut down on their environmental impact, and reduce their reliance on plastic by switching to eco-friendly materials, i.e., paper packaging, corn starch packaging, clay bottles, bamboo straws, reusable containers, biodegradable bags, bio-based polymers, bio-nano composites, non-toxic bioplastics, advance antimicrobial packaging, etc. Such changes extend the range of products and substrates that require coding and marking.

Control Print aims to contribute to building a sustainable future in harmony with the environment by partnering with eco-friendly packaging manufacturers for direct printing on packaging to eliminate the wastage of pre-printed cartons and the costs of labelling, inventory, and storage.

Recommended: 20 ways coding and marking solutions empowers the FMCG sector in India

 Why beverage manufacturers must protect their brand integrity with anti-counterfeit technology

 Coding and marking solutions also help protect against another scourge of the beverage industry – counterfeiters. It’s not just high-end alcohol that counterfeiters have impacted; soft drink companies have also been hit hard.

Recently, a factory in Delhi was found to be producing fake products under the Pepsi label. It’s not the first case where fake Pepsi products have been caught in India. Previously, police raided another factory in Delhi, producing thousands of counterfeit soft drinks of famous brands, including Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Sprite.

Another incident reported in the media involved a Noida-based factory producing and distributing fake products of popular household goods that were busted by the police, and around 3,500 bottles were confiscated.

An international police joint operation effort by Interpol and Europol known as “Opson IV” involved checking stores, marketplaces, airports, seaport facilities and industrial parks in 47 countries and led to the arrest of several people. The total quantity of illegal alcohol seized by police was 275,000 litres (almost double the volume of contraband seized in the previous year’s operation), including whiskey, vodka, and beer, as well as tonnes of possibly dangerous food items.

Control Print has developed reliable methods to combat counterfeiting by creating unique markings to identify genuine products. With our indelible laser printer markings and special security inks of Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) printers, manufacturers can protect their brands by using anti-counterfeit technology. Since 1991, integrating Control Print’s permanent coding and tamper-proof marking technologies across production lines has helped manufacturers solve complex safety, counterfeiting, and traceability problems.

Here are three primary reasons why leading alcohol and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturing companies trust our coding and marking solutions to boost anti-counterfeit standards.


  1. Durable coding, marking and labelling on product packaging

 Quality coding, marking, and labelling are vital for beverage manufacturers to comply with regulatory requirements and ensure they maintain their brand integrity. With Control Print’s industrial printing systems that can print clear, long-lasting codes even on wet surfaces, beverage manufacturers can track and trace their products after leaving the factory.

Our Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) printing technology and condensation-proof inks allow for marking both glass and plastic bottles with an indelible marker. They’re beneficial for cold-filling applications or where containers are stored outdoors before being filled indoors, resulting in condensation.

Control Print’s inkjet printing technology has made it possible for manufacturers to print their information onto any surface without having to worry about storing different ink cartridges for each application. Our inks work just fine with or without condensation on the substrates, allowing our advanced inkjet printing systems to save companies from having to buy multiple inkjet printers for each product they produce. Our range of pigmented inks can be used for coding onto dark surfaces such as coloured plastics or glass, thus enhancing contrast and readability.

Even small businesses can guarantee they meet government regulations, retailer standards and customer requirements with an entry-level coding printer and get rid of obsolete roller coders, stampers, or removable labels. Suppose you’re printing labels at a high volume for secondary packaging. In that case, beverage manufacturers can save time and money on label pre-printing and storage expenses by uploading their logos, imagery, and variable data into our Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) printer and printing directly on cardboard boxes instead of printing labels separately.

Control Print’s laser printing systems are also widely used by beverage manufacturers for their high precision and accuracy. Our laser coding systems permanently mark objects with high-quality codes and are well-suited for a range of substrates, i.e., plastics, glass (including tempered), coated metals, and even paper. Our laser printers offer a wide variety of font options to enhance your product’s visual appearance. Manufacturers can easily create custom codes to match their product packaging and brand identity, strengthening the consumer’s perception of the entire package.

Due to its permanence, the use of laser coding makes for an effective anti-counterfeit measure. Their added ability to create intricate logos and circular texts on a wide variety of substrates and packaging material makes these traceability codes and markings especially difficult to duplicate.


  1. Engineered to perform in extreme environments with minimal maintenance

 Quality control is crucial to ensure customer satisfaction in today’s competitive market. In order to deliver consistently in the fast-paced beverage industry, reliability is paramount. Control Print’s coding equipment is designed to withstand extreme conditions that cause most other printers to fail, including high temperatures, humidity, condensation, sugar dust and water.


Through self-service capabilities that allow line managers to schedule service around their production schedules, our range of coding and marking solutions ensure minimal downtime and maximum uptime, so they don’t need to worry about any technical issues. Longer service intervals, self-cleaning printheads and automatic nozzle maintenance systems help keep our printers working reliably for years ensuring reliable printing performance with minimal intervention.

Apart from servicing, some of our printers offer a seasonal shutdown function, which ensures the printer is ever ready for printing when needed, even after a prolonged period of non-use. This feature eliminates the need for costly ink tank flushing and saves downtime. It helps ensure reliable printing and continuous operations even when the printer is not frequently used. It is handy for seasonal beverage productions or small batches for limited editions.

Control Print’s industrial printers deliver reliable performance even when operating in wet bottling environments. Our IP54 and IP65-grade stainless steel enclosures on the printers enable continuous printing operations even during a washdown. You no longer need to cover or remove the printer during Cleaning-in-Place (CiP) or worry about water damage, saving time.


  1. Exceptional flexibility and ease of operations

 Control Print’s easy-to-use coding and marking systems allow production managers to concentrate more on production. Incorrect codes can cause manufacturers to be forced to recall their products, resulting in high costs. We designed our printers with intuitive, smartphone-like user interfaces, coding fields with prompts and image-based message selection for a quick and straightforward setup that helps lower human errors and saves time during production changes.

IoT-enabled systems offer greater flexibility for production managers by allowing them to monitor and operate the coders remotely.

Our multi-functional industrial printers can print primary and secondary codes, making them easier to use because operators don’t need to learn two types of interfaces allowing for quick production.

Similarly, if you want to add extra speed and convenience, consider opting for Control Print’s compact and portable inkjet printer that can be easily moved from one production line to another, as and when necessary.

Recommended: Increasing demand for anti-counterfeiting solutions in the food and beverage packaging industry in India

 What factors to consider when selecting a coding and marking system?

When choosing the ideal coding and marking solution for beverages, there are several important considerations to keep in mind:

Code complexity

 What would you need to code currently, and what requirements might change in the future that require support from the printer you choose? For example, increasing the variable information on the code or the ability to print in various directions?

 Different types of substrates and colours

Take into account the variety of materials and colours you might need to use when coding on products and packaging.

Production line speed

Will the coding solutions be able to keep up with your production line speed requirements? Can the printed code be compromised if not?

Manufacturing facility environment

Ensure that your coding and marking solution has a suitable IP rating to perform reliably in damp or dusty environments.

The total cost of ownership

You shouldn’t just look at the initial purchase price when buying a coding system; you should also consider its overall cost of ownership, i.e., the reliability of the product, the costs of consumables over its lifespan, along with the cost of maintenance and the number of times the printer needs to be serviced. If frequent breakdowns occur, then the benefits of a low purchase price may be negated. Renting and leasing options may also be worth considering.

Before you decide which printer to buy, it is vital to sample-print codes on different packaging materials and substrates to see how they perform. It’s worth trying out the coding and marking system on the actual manufacturing line to ensure it works appropriately under real-world conditions, i.e., dust, moisture, or production speed.

Discover India’s top-rated coding and marking solutions for the alcohol and non-alcoholic beverage industry, i.e., Breweries & Distilleries | Bottled Water | Tea, Coffee & Powdered Beverages | Juices, Aerated & Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Explore India’s most reliable anti-counterfeit measures for the beverage industry

Control Print manufactures a variety of coding technologies, each of which has its strengths in various applications. Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) Printers, Laser Coders, Thermal Inkjet Printers, High-Resolution Printers, and Large Character Printers are the most widely operated coding and marking systems for anti-counterfeit measures in the alcohol and non-alcoholic beverage industry in India.

After thoroughly researching all the different printers, ensure they meet your exact needs before choosing one. If you need assistance in deciding, talk to our industry experts or schedule a demo for practical insights by calling +91 8097-466-782 today.