FOOD PACKAGING LABELS
With food packaging labels the uppermost consideration in the mind of the food manufacturer is that the label on the product conveys the value and experience that is contained in the food and beverage contents.
Secondly, and in some sense, more important is that the label or labels contain clear and concise information relating to regulatory issues, such as nutrition information, ingredients, allergy information and sell-by dates.
Thirdly, is that the food packaging label, adhesive and print are food safe and that the label won’t spoil or fall off until the product has been opened and consumed.
Food, along with the labels, are subject to extreme temperature conditions, and it is a legal obligation that food labels do not obliterate or fall off anywhere in these processes and the food is effectively spoiled. Examples would be; direct thermal labels turning black in the oven and freezer labels not sticking because they were applied at the incorrect temperature.
These factors lie behind the important decisions of competent label manufacturers to provide the best material, adhesive and print to satisfy the food manufacturer’s needs.
Labels detailing allergens are not only important but are now a legal requirement in the food industry. With Natasha’s Law now in play, food labeling laws are there to ensure that any of the 14 top allergens contained in foods are clearly highlighted & legible for the consumer.
Labels designed for frozen foods have a specially formulated adhesive to adhere to pre-frozen surfaces, and to survive the extreme conditions of blast freezing.
Chilled Food Labels
The majority of standard labels are suitable for chilled conditions. It is recommended that labels to be used in chilled environments would have a coating (e.g. semi-gloss) so that moisture isn’t absorbed, these are considered to be splash-proof.
Fruit And Veg Labels
The majority of standard labels are suitable for direct contact with food; however, this is important and should be checked with the manufacturer prior to use as some adhesives are only suitable for indirect contact.
Meat, Fish And Poultry Labels
The most common labels used in the meat, fish and poultry industry are thermal labels as this is the most effective way to print variable data. Thermal printers usually only print 1 colour at a time so meat processors would mostly have the labels pre-printed with their branding.
Day Mark Labels
These labels are widely used in the food industry to manage stock rotation & control. These labels are printed with the days of the week and often colour coded so they can be identified easily. The date would be printed using a thermal printer or written on by hand.
Heat Resistant Labels
Labels used on the packaging would generally be standard labels as these labels are very versatile and can mostly withstand service temperatures ranging from -20˚C to +80˚C. Therefore, they can be used on all kinds of packaging including microwave ready meals, jar & bottle labels, chilled foods etc…