Many companies outsource their product labels to save on costs and maintain production efficiency. But when you break it down, is outsourcing really the most efficient route? Depending on your business size and needs, it could be more beneficial printing prepared food labels in-house.
Here are our top four reasons why taking label production in-house can be the better option:
1. Outsourced Printing Comes at a Price
While using another facility to produce your prepared food labels might seem like a giant weight off your shoulders, it may not necessarily be the case.
Outsourcing can end up severely delaying your labeling process, costing your business valuable time and money.
For example, if an outsourced label shipment becomes delayed, so will the orders your company was scheduled to have in stock and on the shelves. These delays will happen, as do errors.
Misprints can cause setbacks and affect the use by/sell by dates on your products. This is especially true for made to order businesses and prepared foods.
The best way to avoid these dilemmas is investing in a small, short-run digital label printer to easily bring production in-house.
On implementing short-run digital label printers in-house, Impression Technology Europe reveals, “Not only is the initial investment much more affordable but the cost per print is extremely low. After doing the math, most clients will find it will be much more cost effective than outsourcing and based on the output.”
Our main alternative to outsourcing, investing in an in-house digital label printer will not only save you time, but also reduce cost-per-label.
2. NOT ALL ENVIRONMENTS ARE CREATED EQUAL
Printing prepared food labels in-house has its benefits when varying environmental requirements come into play.
Just because some prepared foods need to be frozen, doesn’t mean the quality and appearance of your packaging should suffer. It’s important for your store’s frozen foods to remain cohesive with the rest of your prepared food line. After all, it is your brand.
However, using the wrong label for the products environment can lead to wrinkles due to condensation, fading due to exposure or loss of adhesion and labels falling off.
If your business is using regular pre-printed labels, chances are, the labels won’t hold up in your storage environment.
Ultimately, finding the correct label material is just as important to your printed results as your design. QuickLabel has developed special materials that are capable of absorbing the inks so that printed labels do not smear and reproduce the most accurate colors possible.
The ability to maintain complete control over your label materials and printing process will allow your business to have a streamlined, efficient process with branded labels that look the part.
One example of easy in-house printing solution is QuickLabel’s flagship Kiaro!, Kiaro! D or wide format QL-800 inkjet label printers. These printers are known for printing frozen food labels that are extremely durable and still generate high-quality 1200 – 1600 dpi imagery.
With the right in-house printer, you’ll have professional frozen food or beverage labels printed instantly and can be applied to products that are already frozen, or before they go into the freezer.
3. It’s Not Easy to Keep Up with FDA Regulations & Demands
Keeping up with the FDA’s changing regulations and formats can greatly affect your product labels. If standards are not met, your entire product line could suffer from massive recalls.
This intimidating process includes font restrictions, mandatory statements, allergen alerts and stringent calculations for daily values.
As a food manufacturer or grocer, you want to spend your energy on your recipes, production, branding and sales – not on interpreting FDA labeling mandates.
While it is absolutely necessary to adhere to FDA regulations to avoid recalls and present your customer with the quality and transparency they deserve, you can make it easier on your business.
This is where an in-house label printer truly shines. For every change in date, rule, format, etc., you have the ability to immediately customize your labels on the spot.
Printing prepared food labels in-house gives you the ability to print the exact number of labels you need for what’s in-stock, on-demand. Meaning no more wasted labels, no more overstock and no more falling short.
This gives you more flexibility in your printing process, as well as introducing the option for seasonal or promotional packaging.
4. Things Are Better When You’re in Control
Your labels are the face of your brand, so you always want to maintain professionalism and put your best foot forward.
If you want to be in control of your business and remove exterior dilemmas, it may be time to consider printing prepared food labels in-house.
If you’re interested in high-quality, short-run label printing in-house, feel free to view our line of complete labeling solutions, including software, media and a wide range of digital label printers from monochrome barcode printers to photographic inkjet color labeling systems and presses.
Or, if you’d like to speak with one of our field sales engineers or media specialists, feel free to contact us for more information! They would be happy to work with you to find the right solution for your application.
Have you ever noticed that serving sizes don’t seem to reflect package sizes? It’s like the nutrition label and the food package are from two different products! Serving size may seem like just another number on a food product label, but it’s actually the most important number, in my opinion. Why? Because it’s directly connected to the calorie count!
One mom in Indiana who thought she understood the calorie count for her pack of Pop Tarts was taken by surprise when it was pointed out to her that she hadn’t correctly accounted for serving size. It easy to assume that when you read that a serving size of Pop Tarts is 200 calories, each individually wrapped package has 200 calories between the two pastries. That, sadly, would be wrong. There are 200 calories PER pastry – equaling 400 calories for each pack.
And serving size doesn’t seem to reflect the portion of food you actually eat or drink! How about when you buy a 20oz bottle of Mt. Dew and read that there are 110 calories in a serving. Doesn’t seem so bad right? Well, those 110 calories only pertain to 8oz of that 20oz bottle. There are 2.5 servings in each 20oz bottle of Mt. Dew. So if you drink the whole bottle, you’re actually consuming 290 calories. Confusing isn’t it? Luckily, Mt. Dew now sports a dual column nutrition panel to help make understanding the nutritional information easier.
The Importance of Serving Sizes
A serving size is the recommended serving for a particular food or drink product, and it’s the amount for which the calorie count is calculated. Serving sizes are an important part of maintaining healthy eating habits, especially for those who are on a strict diet and have to be conscious of “measuring” the correct serving size.
Even when you do something as simple as pouring yourself a bowl of cereal, you probably think you’re taking in the listed calorie count. Again…wrong. The serving size for cereal is typically a cup, not a “bowl.”
Serving sizes can get confusing from one product type to another. For example, bulk products generally measure their serving sizes in units of measurement such as a cup or tablespoon (i.e. rice, cereal, granulated sugar) but products such as a frozen pizza or pie give their serving sizes in the measurement of a fraction of the whole product (i.e. one slice)
A lot of people find these serving sizes to be absurd, and I don’t disagree. Plenty of times serving sizes do not represent the actual amount of food most people eat.
Are Serving Sizes Going To Change?
There has been a lot of speculation about whether or not the FDA is going to revise nutrition labels, including serving sizes. As we stated in a previous blog, “Are Nutrition Labels Going To Change,” it is likely that serving sizes will see some sort of change…
Serving Size: The FDA defines serving sizes on Nutrition Facts Panels. Serving sizes must be presented in realistic amounts that are typically eaten by the normal person and in a common household measure. Serving sizes are determined by RACCs (Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed).
It is likely that serving sizes will end up being increased because food consumption surveys show that larger amounts are eaten today than were eaten the last time serving sizes were evaluated.
Foods for Which Serving Sizes are Likely to be Increased:
- Baked Goods
- Bottled Water/Water Beverages
- Energy Drinks
- Ready to Drink Teas
- Soft Drinks and Diet Soft Drinks
- Sports Drinks
It is not unusual these days for products to contain two servings instead of just one (often found in the products above.) If you do not carefully read the labels on these larger-volume foods, you may not realize that your “personal size” bottle of soda is actually 2 servings.
Some questions about serving size include:
- Should there be certain criteria for serving sizes?
- Should it differ for each type of food?
- How about container size?
It seems we’re always talking about the confusion with understanding nutrition labels. Yes, there is a lot of information on those labels. It becomes overwhelming and frustrating when you’re trying to make healthy choices. And just when you think you have finally grasped what the information in portraying, you find out that you’re really not. Does that sounds familiar to anyone?
There has been a lot of recent debate about nutrition facts labels. The question is: are they really useful and effective for consumers who are trying to make healthy eating choices? Or should they be changed?
This issue is that many of us don’t really read or understand the nutritional information that is presented to us. (Yes, it’s ok to admit it, because I’ll admit that even working for a label company, I still get confused by nutrition facts panels). Right now one of the biggest concerns with Nutrition Facts Panels is that they are outdated – the Nutrition Labeling Education Act (NLEA) which created nutrition facts labels as we know them today was passed in 1990.
To help me – and you – get a better understanding of the nutrition facts label changes that could be coming our way, I participated in a webinar put on by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), an association of 300 leading food, beverage, and consumer product companies. Here are some highlights:
Label Reform Options Being Evaluated:
- Nutrition Label Format Changes
- Serving Size Changes
- Calorie Declaration Changes
- Required and Permitted Nutrients Statement Changes
- Daily Values Changes
- Dietary Context for Trans Fat Declarations
- Impact of Changes on Nutrition Claims
Label Reform Options in Detail:
Nutrition Label Format: The FDA conducted an experimental study on nutrition label formats this past summer (2011). According to the GMA, there were 3 specific focuses to the study:
- Consumers’ ability to use the modified Nutrition Facts Panel to calculate calories and estimate serving sizes for their needs
- Consumers’ judgments about the overall healthfulness of the food product
- Consumers’ preferences for the updated Nutrition Facts Panel
This study was web-based and had 10,000 participants. The breakdown of the survey was under 40 conditions.
Findings of the Nutrition Facts Panel Design Study:
Potential changes to nutrition labels were suggested by the FDA’s study of nutrition labels this past summer. The changes are broken down as follows:
Serving Size: Law requires the FDA to define serving sizes on Nutrition Facts Panels. Serving sizes must be presented in realistic amounts that are typically eaten by the normal person and in a common household measure. Serving sizes are determined by RACCs (Referenced Amounts Customarily Consumed).
It is likely that serving sizes will end up being increased because Food Consumption surveys show that larger amounts are eaten today than were eaten the last time serving sizes were evaluated.
- Baked Goods
- Bottled Water/Water Beverages
- Energy Drinks
- Ready to Drink Teas
- Soft Drinks and Diet Soft Drinks
- Sports Drinks
It is not unusual these days for products to contain two servings instead of just one (often found in the products above.) If you do not carefully read the labels on these larger volume foods, you may not realize that your “personal-size” bottle of soda is actually 2 servings. Some questions about serving size include: Should there be certain criteria for serving sizes? Should it differ for each type of food? How about container size?
Trans Fat: The addition of Trans Fat to the Nutrition Facts Panel became a final rule in 2003 and went into effect in 2006. Trans fat labeling is now required on all FDA-regulated foods. Although the USDA/FSIS works in conjunction with the FDA to create nutrition facts panels for the meats, poultry, and eggs that come under USDA/FSIS regulation, they do not require that these products list Trans Fat information on their product labels.
Calorie Prominence: Should Nutrition Facts Panels be updated to give more prominence to the calorie declaration? The visibility of calorie counts seems to be one of the biggest issues when it comes to revising nutrition labels. The FDA’s Obesity Working Group (OWG) is charged with developing a new approach to better to improve the Nutrition Facts Panel in the case of calorie declaration. The goal in improving calorie prominence is to help consumers make better choices to avoid weight gain and reduce obesity. Right now, calories from fat and all calories are both listed on Nutrition Facts Panels.
One new change to the calorie statement may be the declaration of calories from Saturated Fat. The statement of calories from Saturated Fat is currently permitted on Nutrition Facts Panels but is seldom included. One of the biggest considerations is the current letter type size used to print calorie declarations. Right now calories are listed in the same type size as everything else, but making a change that so that the count is more prominent (bold face, bigger type size) is under consideration.
One thing that has become clear during research by the FDA Consumer Facts Group is that consumers don’t observe changes in calories until the change is pointed out to them. So, to improve the visibility of calories, the following ideas are being considered:
- Increase the font size for calorie statements
- Provide daily value percentages for calories
- Eliminate calories from the fat declaration
There are many questions about what should be done to better emphasize the amount of calories in food and beverage items:
- Would consumers’ awareness of calorie counts increase if the declaration was more prominent?
- How should it be made more prominent? Bold type? Different placement? etc.
- Would a percent daily value for calories be helpful or confusing?
- Do consumers actually use the “calories from fat” declaration? What do they think it means?
- Would putting more emphasis on the calories declaration cause the food and beverage industry to reformulate or repackage their food items?
- Should foods be reformed to reduce calories?
- Should packaging be “calorie controlled” (i.e. 100 calorie packs)
- Should “front of pack labeling” be mandated?
% Daily Values: Some of the details being looked at for Daily Values (% DV) are:
- What kind of metrics should be used to measure %DV?
- Can any items currently required on nutrition labels be made voluntary or removed completely?
- What sort of effect would removing or making certain facts voluntary have on consumer understanding of %DV?
- How will changes to %DV apply to nutrition and health claims?
Nutrition Claims: Right now there are 4 required micronutrients on Nutrition Facts Panels. Should there be additional nutrients on the label?
- 1. Vitamin A
- 2. Vitamin C
- 3. Calcium
- 4. Iron
Now Under Consideration to be Added:
- Vitamin D
6-Months Away from Proposed Changes to Nutrition Labels?
There is no “set-in-stone” timeline for these changes to go into effect, and no firm proposal for change yet. But it is expected that the FDA will make its proposal within the next 6 months.
When the FDA publishes their proposed rules, they will open up a 60-90 day period for public comment. Since this is such a complex subject and since there are a lot of areas under consideration, the GMA estimates that the FDA would most likely take a minimum of one year to review the public comments and determine final rules.
When final rules are decided upon it is predicted that there will most likely be a 2 year period before compliance is required. Two years may seem like a long time but the FDA would likely be considerate considering there would be a complete overhaul of food and beverage packaging. A longer compliance period would also reduce the cost of label changes for manufacturers.
Proposed Rules: Mid 2012
Possible Label Changes & Final Rule: 2014
Estimated Effective Date: January 1, 2016
As you can see we still have a ways to go before food companies need to change their labels and before consumers see different information on the shelf. I’m glad there’s plenty of time to comment on the changes!
Some Questions for you:
- Do You Look at Nutrition Facts Labels?
- Would Changes to Nutrition Labels Change the Way We Eat?