Carst and Walker

Thwarting counterfeit Corn Flakes

In a bid to stop counterfeiting, Kellogg is testing a high-tech laser branding process to emboss its logo on individual Corn Flakes.

The company will then consider inserting a proportion of branded flakes into each box to guarantee the cereal’s origins and protect against imitation products. If the system is successful, it could be used on Kellogg’s other brands, such as Frosties, Special K, Crunchy Nut and Bran Flakes.

The laser uses a concentrated beam of light that focuses the energy within the beam down to a small spot on the Corn Flake. Mirror galvanometers are then used to steer the beam, creating multiple vectors that reflect the laser from different angles and ultimately make up the image. The energy density within the laser spot diameter is sufficient enough to give the surface of the flake a darker, toasted appearance without changing the taste.

Kellogg’s embarked on the project to reinforce that it doesn’t make cereals for any other companies, and to pre-empt and uncover those who manufacture ‘fake flakes’.

Helen Lyons, a Kellogg’s food technologist, said: “In recent years, there’s been an increase in the number of own brands trying to capitalise on the popularity of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. We want shoppers to be under absolutely no illusion that Kellogg’s doesn’t make cereal for anyone else.

“We’re constantly looking at new ways to reaffirm this and giving our golden flakes of corn an official stamp of approval could be the answer. We’ve established that it’s possible to apply a logo or image onto food, now we need to see if there’s a way of repeating it on large quantities of our cereal. We’re looking into it.”

The company also released figures that show sales of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes have risen in 2009, as shoppers with limited budgets opt for recognised, reliable brands.

A staggering 128 billion bowls of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are eaten worldwide every year in countries as far afield as Guatemala, Japan, Argentina and India. And an incredible 2.8 million bowls of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are eaten in the UK everyday – that’s one billion a year.

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes were also the first cereal to land on the moon – as the breakfast of choice for the crew on board Apollo 11. Read more here….

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