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The Impossible Made Possible

impossible burger labelThis past May, we blogged about the fascinating Impossible Whopper, a totally vegetarian burger made of textured soy and plant-based heme. That last is the molecule that makes blood red and provides meat with much of its juicy flavor. At the time, Impossible Foods had just introduced its version of the classic Whopper at 61 Burger King locations in St. Louis, Missouri, and the reviews were very favorable. Most consumers were reporting that the Impossible Whoppers were indistinguishable from the regular beef Whoppers.

Now that Impossible Whoppers have been rolled out to other areas, I've been able to taste-test one … and based on previous consumption of beef Whoppers, this happy blogger can confirm that they really are indistinguishable, as far as I can tell. The look, mouth-feel, texture, flavor, and juiciness was Whopper standard, at least with the standard tomatoes, pickles, onions, lettuce, and mayo piled on. I must admit I haven't tried a plain-and-dry Impossible Whopper, but then, I haven't tried a regular Whopper that way, either. The vegetation and sauce are part of the experience!

The Impossible Whopper is unflinchingly vegetarian, though some have complained because it's prepared on the same cooking lines as the non-vegetarian Whopper. In combination with PETA accusations of animal testing, this may preclude it from vegan status. But after eating it and raving about the authentic flavor, I was reminded that because the Whopper was made completely with vegetable protein: 

  • ·I didn't contribute to the slaughter of a large animal that endured horrible suffering.
  • ·I didn't contribute to global warming as a result of methane gas produced by said beast. 
  • ·I didn't contribute to the use of thousands of gallons of water to raise that animal. 
  • ·I didn't contribute to unsustainable ranching practices.
  • ·I didn't contribute to the habitat destruction and environmental degradation caused by those practices.

Sometimes, what you don't do is as important as what you do; and when you can combine all that with great flavor to ensure you maintain those "don'ts," you've got a winning combination that should be included on every product label for Impossible Burgers, and every custom printed sticker used to seal an Impossible Whopper wrapper.

We've had vegetarian burgers for many years. Now we have one that has the meaty flavor that tempts some vegetarians back to meat, so they're less likely to give into temptation. And that's pretty neat.

The Taste of Whiskey on the (Artificial) Tongue

(Artificial) Tongue LabelsLike most label manufacturers, one of our favorite jobs is making custom beverage labels for various types of drinkables. There's such a wide variety of them, from someone else's tap water (which is what most bottled water is) to sodas, beer, and hard liquor of all types. All such labels require at least an immunity toward frozen and liquid water and handling (except beer bottle labels, which everyone knows you're supposed to peel) but that's pretty much it.

Speaking of labels, we're well aware that there are outlaw label makers out there who are willing, unfortunately, to create counterfeit bottle labels for various products. This has become a huge problem for makers of Scotch whiskey, which to be official has to be made in Scotland, aged for three years and a day in oak barrels, and appropriately labeled. Scotch enthusiasts know very well what Scotch should taste like, right down to the flavors of the various brands. But some less finicky drinkers, used to the taste of Tennessee whisky, Irish whisky, rye, and other types of this potent elixir, may be fooled by counterfeiters who'll bottle any old whisky and label it as Laphroaig, Macallen, or Glenfiddich. 

This practice can cost the manufacturers of quality Scotch millions of dollars annually in sales. That's why scientists at the University in Glasgow have invented a highly effective, reusable electronic "tongue" that can easily taste the difference between various brands of whiskey, to the point of telling its age, brand, and differentiation between batches aged in different barrels. 

We think this is an excellent way to prevent bad guys from putting the wrong beverage labels on their whisky, or just refilling old bottles. But the best thing is, the 500+ aluminum and gold taste buds in these little rectangular "tongues" can also be used on any chemical mixture, so it can detect explosives, poisons, and water pollutants. It can also be used for quality control of anything in liquid form. In time, this will probably prove to be an even more important use of this technology; and when that time comes, we'll be ready to provide custom labels for any use, whether for beer bottles, whiskey bottles, wine bottles, or laboratory equipment.

Cannabis Labels — Not Just for Dimebags Anymore

Cannabis Labels Well, okay, few people ever used custom printed labels for their packaging back when cannabis products were of dubious legality, but what's a little poetic license among friends? The fact is, now that marijuana and other cannabis products are legal in much of the U.S. and Canada for medical and recreational use, cannabis has become just another commodity to be labeled. Now there are many types of packages that do need custom cannabis labels, with taxes to be collected, contents and ingredients to be declared, competition to deal with, and even special protections required for the packaging. Some states even need specific assurances of strength of the CBD or THC in the product. Because of those reasons, you can't just use any old label to ID or seal a package for many of these products; not to mention that cannabis oils can defeat many everyday product and sheet labels. This is true even for freezer labels, though ours are already prepared for this eventuality.

Nowadays, folks in most regions have at least some access to cannabis medications, creams, straight oils (for vape pipes, for example), candy and other confections, and even plain buds and other plant parts for making your own blunts. Many contain some level of oils that can erode not only paper substrates, but defeat the stickiness of adhesives. What you need is special plastic and metallic custom labels with oil-resistant adhesives that will still stick despite the inevitable spills and dribbles. It's a pain to be unable to tell your products apart just because a spillage made some labels slip off. 

At Etiquette Systems, we're fully aware of the needs for cannabis packaging, which we have provided since Nevada (and the rest of the West Coast) legalized recreational cannabis several years ago. We know exactly the kinds of substrates and adhesives you need to get the job done, whether you provide cannabis confections (including delicious baked goods), skin creams, or vape oils. We've also become aware of the need for labels with fold-over tabs to help you protect your products and ensure they remain sealed. Without them, some customers might open a jar for a free sample, which you definitely want to avoid. With these labels, we can help you tell whenever a package has been opened, protecting both you and your customers.

The cannabis label industry is fairly new, but we got in on the ground floor and can provide labels for every sort of product, including preparations for medical treatments. Even if your state has not yet legalized marijuana use at some level, we're poised to provide cannabis labels of all kinds when they do. Keep us in mind when your state finally gives you the option to use cannabis as medication, or for recreational use. We can have custom labels or blank labels for enterprising cannabis product manufacturers ready for you within days, at an excellent price.

No More Peanuts and Crackerjack

baseballpeanutsYou can still take yourself out to the ballgame, but anything with peanuts is now off the menu—at least in Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford, Connecticut. In a move some would call proactive precaution while others would label it protectiveness pushed too far, the park, home of Colorado Rockies AA team the Yard Goats, has banned all peanut products in a move to safeguard the health of people who, for literal fear of dying, have never set foot in a ballpark.

Peanut allergies are no laughing matter: just a little peanut dust, a small fragment of peanut, or a dab of peanut butter can cause an allergic individual to go into severe anaphylactic shock. The sufferer's own immune system attacks them, inflaming airways and closing them off in a matter of minutes, threatening suffocation. It's especially bad in young children, and while one can take precautions, a single Epipen—or even several—may not be enough to reverse the effect. It often takes hospitalization to save someone with an out-of-control peanut allergy reaction.

While I'm a big fan of peanuts and peanut butter, I understand the concern. Generally, allergy suffers are safe from most peanut products nearby (even in the next seat), as long as they don't ingest some of it—but dust from peanut shells can drift significant distances in an outdoor arena. That dust can be deadly.

For years, manufacturers have been required to create non-perishable food labels and freezer stickers warning consumers that products either contain peanuts, or were processed in a facility that also processed peanuts or tree nuts. While freezer labels rarely need the warning, it's common for baked goods, candies, and the like. 

While some minor and major league stadiums have peanut-free sections or peanut-free games (with thorough cleanings in between), Dunkin' Donuts Park is the first to outright ban peanut products. Some people think that going overboard, since the frequency of people with peanut allergies is somewhere about 1 in 100. But that works out to at least three million people in the U.S. alone —and the ban seems much more justifiable when it allows children to enjoy the great American pastime without risking their lives. 

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