Strict specifications and legal guidelines; total precision and exacty hygiene are important in the food industry. Inotec LLC, headquartered in Neumünster, Germany, can look back on more than 40 years of expertise on this. Label materials and adhesives from their own production are ISEGA-certified, making them suitable for direct and indirect contact with food. This is the only way to meet the requirements of today's food trade with absolute reliability. We spoke to Technical Sales Director Stefan Meyer (pictured below) about the latest solutions for labeling reusable containers.
Clean, hygienic, sensible - these are the three key words that are inevitably part of everyday practice at inotec.
In its early days, after its founding in 1978, inotec mainly specialized in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors. Later, it gradually expanded its portfolio to include other areas such as logistics and the labeling of reusable containers for fruits and vegetables. "Hygiene is the top priority in the food industry. The packaging process is almost identical for fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, meat or fish. In addition to product hygiene, traceability of the entire supply chain is a recurring issue. Accordingly, the need for innovative labeling technology has increased, especially in times of Corona," Meyer explains.
Thanks to barcodes or RFID, customers of online delivery services can track the status of their order in real time or via Track & Trace.
Barcode and RFID labels
Basically, there are two different methods for labeling fruit and vegetable batches, namely barcode labels (such as Diobond, Diocard, Diotac, etc.) and RFID technology (InoTag). "The commercially available barcode system is still the most in demand and best suited for numerous purposes. Meanwhile, however, RFID technology is also rapidly gaining ground. Proportionally, RFID products can store more information than a barcode. Whereas a barcode simply designates the type of product, an RFID tag can display much more precise data." Another advantage of rewritable RFID tags is that they can be read without contact.
Relatively new to the portfolio is the InoSpector for monitoring temperature-sensitive products. Unlike other similar solutions, this label with sensor technology has its own active energy source. "Many online services - such as Picnic and Hello Fresh - have a need for a sophisticated temperature detection system to ensure an uninterrupted cold chain. With the InoSpector, we enable users to read the data via smartphone," Meyer outlines.
RFID inmold solutions from inotec
Further development potential for reusable systems
Even in the past year, which was dominated by Corona, inotec LLC was able to record great growth rates. Two companies were acquired, namely identytag (a manufacturer of RFID labels) and Winckel, a consultant for RFID solutions. In the longer term, there is obviously further development potential within the food industry from the supplier's point of view.
"In the to-go sector, a fast-growing market segment, there will be a reusable obligation in the future. Up to now, these items have often been packaged in plastic, but there are already initial approaches to a customized, innovative reusable system. So, durable reusable systems and corresponding identification technology will continue to be a major topic in the industry in the near future," Meyer concludes.