Rolling out a new product is never easy. When businesses are designing a product to bring to market, there are a number of variables they need to account for, some of which may not be easy to identify. For example, packaging expert KC Boxbottom recently noted an instance in which a manufacturer was having a unique problem with its labels — out of the blue, they just started wrinkling. The company told Boxbottom that nothing had changed in the way products were produced, they were using the same equipment, bottles and labels. However, after some further digging, Boxbottom found that the company from which the packaging materials were purchased had recently changed the way the bottle was produced, which necessitated a stronger adhesive be used to prevent wrinkling. The moral of the story is that putting out a product — especially for the first time — isn't a cut-and-dry affair. There are a number of things that can go wrong, but manufacturers can avoid these issues by planning in advance. Using experts in the field, such as Lightning Labels, can also help minimize missteps.
Monthly Archives: September 2011
Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of artificial preservatives, which may pave the way for a new organic preservative, Food Navigator reports.
Many food manufacturers have traditionally used chemical preservatives for simple efficiency reasons — they last longer than organic ones. However, consumers are screening ingredient lists for chemical compounds more frequently and opting for products without artificial preservatives. This puts food manufacturers in a bind.
However, organic food brand Danisco has recently developed a new enzyme, called BioVia YM 10, that will provide other manufacturers with the best of both worlds. In initial tests, the product, which is composed of dextrose and plant extracts, provided the same results obtained with chemical preservatives such as potassium sorbate.
"Food manufacturers are well aware of consumer demand for more natural products with friendlier labels, but many have hesitated to choose a natural food protection solution because they wanted every bit of the effectiveness they could get from traditional chemical alternatives," said Brett Thompson, global product manager at Danisco.
Organic food companies have benefited the most from consumers becoming more label-conscious and now many brands are scrambling to ditch artificial ingredients, whether they are preservatives or other chemicals.
Key ingredients, such as wheat and gluten, were not cited on Prolab's product labels, an oversight that could cause complications for athletes with food allergies. Several different product lines were recalled, including the two- and five-pound containers of popular protein offerings. The brand's supplements are sold in 34 states throughout the U.S. and in Australia, Canada, Malaysia and Russia.
"People with an allergy or severe sensitivity to Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, eggs, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, tree nuts, sulfites and walnuts, or gluten allergens, may run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume some Prolab products," the news source notes.
Another supplement manufacturer, EHS, recently updated its labels to inform athletes that its products did not include any banned products that could get them in trouble with regulatory organizations.
On Wednesday, tobacco companies R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Lorillard Tobacco went to court to protest the graphic cigarette labels proposed by the FDA, which show disturbing imagery such as sewn-up corpses of smokers or lungs charred by years of smoke.
While the tobacco industry claims the labels violate their right to freedom of speech, health groups recently asserted that the general public's health and safety should come first over their First Amendment rights.
"It is difficult to imagine any product for which the government has a stronger interest in ensuring effective warnings to consumers. ... Tobacco products are unique among consumer goods: They kill up to one-half of the people who use them as they are intended to be used," a spokesperson told the news source.
The FDA approved nine warning labels in June that will need to be placed on all cigarette packages. Long-time smokers, however, doubt the efficiency of the stickers, with many admitting they already know the dangers of the habit.
According to the news source, there are several other considerations manufacturers should make before finalizing their designs. One common misstep businesses make is assuming retailers may use the same light sources as their office. Realistically, retailers can use a variety of lights to allow for better visibility, which could skew how the label looks.
Many product manufacturers also forget to compare their products to a competitor's. Shipping a product to retail with a label that looks exactly like a rival's may have a severe impact on the manufacturer's brand. Companies should always strive to create a look that is unique — this will help develop the brand, rather than looking like a low-quality knock-off of competing goods.
With consumers beginning to pay more attention to labels, whether they are looking for notional facts or the sustainability of packaging materials, it's crucial that businesses enhance their design process to give their products the best chance of being purchased.
Natural food company Bloom Microgreen is further establishing itself as a green brand through new biodegradable product labels and packaging.
Bloom Microgreen's new packaging is compostable and biodegradable because it leverages plant-based materials rather than petroleum-derived packaging. According to owner Kara Wood, the switch made sense to the company — it traditionally practiced organic growing methods, so it seemed natural to use plant-based packaging as well.
"Bloom Microgreens' pack redesign had three important aspects: Design, form and function. The form and function has been made sustainable with the addition of new labels and containers," Azom reports. The design has also been made to look exactly the same as the previous one, ensuring the brand won't lose any customers due to a new appearance.
Organic products have become more popular over the past few months, especially as more consumers take notice of the ingredients that are put into their food. Natural food growers made note of this at the Natural Products Expo in Maryland, citing better consumer recognition as a benefit of producing organic goods.
Unlike the makers of other goods, most makeup companies don't have to disclose what is included in their products, a practice Skin Deep is trying to raise awareness about.
Skin Deep is a part of the Environmental Working Group, which wants to show consumers how cosmetics and other personal care products can be dangerous to their health, the Kansas State Collegian reports. The website ranks cosmetics on a scale of one to 10 as to how dangerous they are and breaks down the ingredients used to make the finished product.
"Some of the risks people are exposed to while using [cosmetics] ... are organ toxicity, biochemical or cellular level changes, irritation of the skin, eyes or lungs and, finally, endocrine disruption," the news source observed. "This is not including all of the shampoo, conditioner, perfume, hair spray or anything else people use on a day-to-day basis."
Skin Deep encourages consumers to read product labels and online reviews before making any purchases. The stickers located on goods are key to determining what risks, if any, they pose to shoppers before buying them, and any warnings listed should be considered.
For athletes, using illegal performance enhancers can sideline their careers, which is why EAS has decided to label its products as being banned substance-free.
EAS Sports Nutrition, which produces a number of dietary supplements and powders, has launched a new product label that asserts the company's goods are "banned substance tested" and "tested and true certified." The brand utilized the services of two independent sports testing laboratories to validate these claims, Packaging Digest reports.
The new product label will be launched this fall. Transparency is key, the brand notes - while other dietary supplement manufacturers may include unlisted ingredients, EAS wants athletes to be able to trust products purchased from the company.
"[EAS parent company] Abbott applies its rigorous healthcare quality standards in the manufacturing of EAS sports nutrition products from raw ingredient to finished product. The company has now enhanced those standards to include independent testing of EAS products for more than 146 banned substances," the news source explains.
With Americans suffering mounting health problems, transparency has become more important for consumers trying to lead healthier lives. This is one of the reasons the Food and Drug Administration is revising the traditional nutrition labels found on food and dietary supplements.
According to an investigation conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, several illegal and potentially dangerous pesticides are being used in New York.
The 16 different pesticides were not registered by the EPA, which means consumers have no way of telling how dangerous they are, as they haven't been thoroughly tested. When applied, they could pose a significant risk to pets or children through accidental consumption.
Consumers can ensure they aren't purchasing these illegal pesticides by searching product labels for EPA registration numbers, which can direct users on proper use and storage.
"Illegal pesticides can and do poison people. When businesses sell these products, they put their customers at risk. I encourage all New York City retailers to check their shelves and make sure all their pesticides have the required EPA labels," EPA regional administrator Judith Enck said in a statement.
Consumers believe current nutrition labels can be misleading, and are urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expedite their redesign.
Food nutrition labels are designed to convey information about the healthiness of a certain product, providing potential buyers with information about fat, salt, sugar and nutrient contents. However, as the Kennebec Journal notes, food manufacturers can take advantage of current labeling regulations by manipulating serving sizes.
"For example, a 20-ounce soda bottle now lists 2.5 servings, but usually one person consumes a full bottle at a time," explains the news source.
Consumers want food manufacturers to be more transparent with their product labels. One step would be to emphasize calorie counts on packaging, the Kennebec Journal suggests.
"The agency is obligated to be fair to the food industry, but it has a bigger obligation to look out for the welfare of the American people," the media outlet asserts.
The FDA is also in the middle of another label redesign for cigarettes. The new stickers, which can cover up to 50 percent of a cigarette package, display graphic images and warn users of the dangers of smoking.