Low migration inks are used in packaging, wherein undesirable migration of chemicals from inks to materials is considered harmful. Passage of inks from the printed side to the unprinted side of the package can occur due to physical or gaseous migration. Physical migration is defined as penetration of the ink through a substrate from the printed layer to the unprinted side of the package. Substrates include paper, plastic, and metal. Gaseous migration includes evaporation of volatile materials in the ink by heating, especially in case of food products, in their original packaging. Low migration inks should not have chemicals that affect appearance, taste, odor, or safety of the product present inside the packaging.
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Low migration inks are used in various applications such as food & beverages, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. The food & beverages application segment accounts for major share of the global low migration inks market. Rise in awareness about issues surrounding migration of inks in packaged food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical product is driving the demand for these inks. Low migration ink is a part of the graphics and packaging ink market. SVHC (Substance of Very High Concern), CMR (Carcinogen, Mutagen or Reproductive Toxin), heavy metals, and toxic or very toxic substances should not be present in low migration inks. Different processes are used to apply low migration inks such as flexography and gravure process.
Regulations on printing inks have been in place in order to protect consumers from possible health risks involving contamination due to printed food materials and other substances. Authorities in developed regions such as Europe and North America have implemented regulations to monitor food packaging. In these regions, printing inks on the packages of food and beverages is one of the critical terms. Food safety standards are followed across the globe. Europe follows EuPIA Guideline on Printing Inks to the non-food contact surface of food packaging materials and articles. Regulations not only control the inks used for printing, but also the substrate suitable for printing process. Low migration inks are expensive; hence, the high cost is a constraint in the global market. However, printers for food & beverage, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry in North America and Europe use low migration inks owing to the stringent regulations in these regions. However, conventional inks are preferred by local players in other regions of world.
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Europe dominates the global low migration inks market in terms of revenue. Demand for these inks in Europe is expected to rise at a fast-paced CAGR during the forecast period. Printers in Europe not only have to adhere to European Union laws of printing on food materials, but also specific regional laws laid by countries such as Switzerland. Switzerland has a law named Ordinance of the FDHA on Materials and Articles which notes that all raw materials for inks in food packaging have to be listed and comply with specific migration limits (SMLs). Increase in end-use industry applications such as food & beverages, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals coupled with implementation of strict regulations is driving the demand for low migration inks in Europe.
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