Learn About Food Packaging Labels

Learn About Food Packaging Labels

Custom food labels are among the most common labels used in manufacturing—one might say they're the "bread and butter" of every busy label printer, if you'll pardon the word play. They're constantly needed, and so endlessly variable that they represent both a challenge and a source of fascinating, fulfilling work for those of us who make labels for a living.

One of the primary uses of custom printed food labels is to create shelf appeal – that is, to make products on crowded shelves "leap out" at consumers. Competition is fierce in the consumables industries, so it's vital for food labels to generate interest, to set apart the products they grace from similar products, and to give new users reasons to try them out. Most people get into buying habits, you see, and look for the same produce labels, honey labels, or whatever goody and brand happens to be their favorite. Vibrant colors and crisp text are just as crucial for custom food labels as clear instructions and nutritional information, or they're not doing their jobs.

Whatever you're dealing with—beer labels, spice and seasoning labels, wine bottle labels, hot sauce labels, bakery labels, whatever—the consumer has to be able to recognize at a glance what they're looking for, so they can get it and go without wasting time. Consumers are often in a hurry, so the easier something is to find, the happier they are. That's why bright fluorescent labels are such a good idea these days. Day-Glo colors can announce the product to the consumer nearly as well as the name of the product itself—sometimes even better.

One of the greatest challenges of providing decent custom food labels is their great variety, not just of uses but of types. To a certain extent, food labels of all types have to be sturdy, so they'll remain on the packaging until removed by the customers after the point of sale. Some have to stand up to moisture, especially food labels used for liquid products— beer bottle labels, wine bottle labels, hot sauce labels—and any food labels used for refrigerated products. Labels that are exposed to moisture may need to be resistant to other factors as well, like fading in sunlight or abrasion from handling. Custom printed spice labels are a good example of the latter, because they may have to stand up to spice spills (and sometimes abrasion from the grains of the spice) and light exposure. They also have to be long-term labels, since spices and seasonings may sit in a spice rack for months or years before being used up—and consumers tend to become fond of the same brands, so spice and seasoning labels have to remain readable the whole time, so people know what to rebuy. To a lesser extent, the same can be said of honey labels, coffee labels, and wine bottle labels, since they all label consumable products that are unlikely to be used up all at once.

Mix and Match

Depending on the product needs, then, custom food labels can be made of a wide variety of substrates, adhesives, and inks in different combinations. Manufacturers also have occasional need for warning labels, to caution consumers about how NOT to use the products: for example, a warning label or area on an existing can or bottle of jalapeño peppers cautioning the user not to rub their eyes after handling the peppers. (Believe me, that really hurts.) Manufacturers also find it handy to include bar-codes on their existing labels so they can also serve as inventory labels, and the vendors have long since learned to use the same bar-codes as identifiers and price indicators at the check-out stands.

Food labels are usually made of either paper or BOPP (a form of polypropylene). Most are designed to be discarded at the point of use but to last until then. Custom food labels must also be inexpensive. If the product is to be refrigerated or exposed to any form of moisture, it will need custom printed food labels equipped with adhesives that won't deaden and fall off when they get cold or wet. But freezer labels are another topic altogether, and we discuss them in more detail here.

Etiquette Systems is very experienced at printing custom food labels; in fact, it's one of our specialties. We've printed everything from hot sauce labels to produce labels to naughty labels for "adults only" ice cream, and just about every type of food product in between. Here's a list of the labels we can easily produce for you:

  1. Bakery Labels
  2. Beer Bottle Labels
  3. Custom Beverage Labels
  4. Custom Coffee Labels
  5. Honey Labels
  6. Hot Sauce Bottle Labels
  7. Jar Labels
  8. Produce Labels
  9. Spice & Seasoning Labels
  10. Wine Bottle Labels

If you don't see the kind of food labels you need on the list, just let us know what you're looking for. After reviewing the art and taking your needs into consideration, we'll give you a competitive quote for some great custom food labels.