Despite over 25 years producing color changing inks and labels for a literal who’s who of brands like Frito Lay, Coke, and Heineken, Chromatic Technologies Inc. (CTI) is probably most known for helping purchasers of Coors Light know that their beer was cold. While the marketing push from what is now Molson Coors opened many doors for CTI, its technologies ensuring food safety in the supply chain brought Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Patrick Edson to speak at the Cold Pressure Council’s (CPC) Annual Conference, held concurrently with ProFood Tech in March.
Edson took attendees through CTI’s journey from first hearing about high pressure processing (HPP) — his admitted only frame of reference for psi was car tires and basketballs — through understanding the industry’s difficulty in ensuring the receipt of adequately processed products.
“Our customer said, ‘Right now, I have no idea whether I’m inspecting my cola or I’m inspecting my entire operation’s system,'” Edson explained. “'If I look at a package, I have no idea if it bypassed the system, if it was successfully completed through the HPP system, or somewhere in between.’”
Two-and-a-half years later, CTI scientists created color-changing ink that darkened as HPP pressure was applied, with different shades indicating insufficient or target pressure reached.
Having solved the HPP verification challenge from a processing standpoint, Edson and CTI recognized that as HPP becomes more well-known — and retailers and even consumers learn about its application — a new market will emerge.
“In the next 12 to 18 months, you’re going to start having retailers that write specifications that basically require verification on the package that confirms a product has been successfully ‘HPP’d,’” Edson said. In other words, the Walmarts and Krogers of the world are going to demand proof that the product it is putting on their shelves was properly high pressure processed. Color-changing labels using CTI’s BlindSpotz HPP Verification Technology offer CPGs a way to ensure quality control of the technology.
Currently in use in the United States, Mexico, Chile, France and Spain, Edson provided real-world examples of BlindSpotz printed directly on films for proteins and sauces, allowing easy integration into existing package designs.
The technology also offers CPGs the opportunity for additional use in the perishable supply chain to indicate whether a product froze or became too warm in transit to ensure cold chain compliance.
Learn more about high pressure processing at PACK EXPO Las Vegas Sept. 23-25 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Register by Aug. 30 to save 70 percent off the registration fee.