Laser coding, marking and printing system allows a safe, high contrast image to be formed onto products such as pills and capsules. The process uses a unique chemistry which reacts with a beam of low power laser light, changing color, and thereby creating an image. This ‘on demand’ digital imaging process, allows variable text and images to be printed sequentially in real time. The additives, which come in the form of a dry powder or water-based solution, are applied to the surface of the confectionery or tablet, as part of an existing or additional coating process. The coatings are often applied in a spray system/tumble coating and then marked by a low power CO2 marking laser. The coating undergoes a chemical color-change, creating a high contrast, stable image that is 100% edible. Due to the sensitivity of the coating to the laser light, only a fraction of the normal laser output is used, preserving the integrity of the surface of the edible material being marked.