In the world of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), brand image is everything. For the food and beverage industry, competition is fierce and the quality associated with a brand is critical to a company’s success.
The growth of social media has been near exponential over the past decade. However, despite offering companies numerous advantages, it has the potential to ruin a brand’s reputation within seconds as information about food scares can spread rapidly. A product recall is no longer just a note on a supermarket notice board. The media are quick to latch onto negative stories, and the resulting social media storms from consumers could see loyal customers switch brands without a moment’s hesitation.
Reputation Damage is a Top Threat
Meeting consumers’ expectations is a challenge that’s taking on increasing complexity. A 2015 survey by global risk management firm AON reveals that the threat of reputational damage is now as big a concern to the food and drink industry as the price of raw ingredients. According to Executive Director at AON Norman Andrew, ‘food and drink companies view their brands as a prized asset and without them they cannot trade profitably’.
Implicit in almost every brand is a promise to deliver correctly sized, shaped and visually-appealing product to each consumer every time. But is this achievable? Yes!
Quality and Consistency Across Every Production Run
X-ray inspection technology can enhance a company’s brand image by simultaneously:
- Detecting physical contaminants
- Measuring mass
- Counting components
- Identifying missing or broken products
- Monitoring fill levels
As well as detecting abnormalities, x-ray systems are capable of rejecting products that don’t meet requirements, reporting information to process control and communicating to filler machines. In fact, a direct return on investment (ROI) can be accumulated through controlling the amount of waste due to fill level inaccuracies. By reducing product over fill and under fill, manufacturers can make substantial savings.
Regulatory Compliance Nailed
In addition to food safety recalls, fill levels and product weight inaccuracies can also result in costly recalls if undetected, leading to negative brand perceptions. The Three Packers Rules in the UK and the US Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (Part 500) both stipulate that packages shouldn’t be less, on average, than the nominal quantity stated on the label. Allowing under filled packages to enter the retail supply chain can have grave repercussions. In the US, fines for non-compliance have been in the tens of thousands of dollars for nominal units of product.
By enabling manufacturers to set mass measurement parameters, as well as minimum and maximum fill levels x-ray equipment ensures that products falling outside acceptable levels are rejected from the line and won’t end up on supermarket shelves.
No Loss of Productivity
For manufacturers keen to achieve consistent quality levels, being able to identify contaminants and carry out quality control checks is crucial. X-ray systems can be tailored to meet specific inspection requirements and are capable of checking one hundred percent of product on the line – regardless of whether it’s packaged, unpackaged or in bulk format.
By enabling all contaminated and/or defective product to be identified and removed before it reaches the retail supply chain, x-ray inspection can play a key role in helping manufacturers avoid costly recalls and brand damage with no loss of productivity or production speed.