October 16, 2009--In a seemingly unbelievable move to stamp-out imitation or counterfeit cereal, the U.K. Telegraph reports that Kellogg Company (Kellogg's; Battle Creek, MI) plans to use lasers to burn its logo onto individual flakes of the famous Corn Flakes cereal. Kellogg's plans to produce a number of trial batches of the branded flakes to test the system, and will consider putting a proportion of branded flakes in every box to guarantee the cereal's origins.
In addition to the 67 million boxes of Corn Flakes produced every year, other Kellogg's best-loved brands including Frosties, Special K, Crunchy Nut, and Bran Flakes could benefit from the process.
The laser focuses the energy within the beam, down to a very 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.
The article says that Kellogg's embarked on the project to reinforce the fact that they don't make cereals for any other companies and to fire a shot across the bows of makers of 'fake flakes'. Helen Lyons, lead food technologist at the company, said, "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 is possible to apply a logo or image onto food, now we need to see if there is a way of repeating it on large quantities of our cereal. We're looking into it."
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. The firm's Manchester, England factory is the biggest Corn Flake production line in the world and churns out cereals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
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For more information on Kellogg's, go to www.kelloggs.com.