Monthly Archives: February 2015

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    How Custom Food Product Labels Can Compete with National Brands

    Custom Food Product LabelsHow Do Independent Product Labels Square Up Against Those of Big Brands?

    When shoppers are scanning grocery shelves, brand awareness can be a major contributor in terms of which items they pick, but independent product labels might actually have an advantage compared to the packaging used by national brands. Why? Products that people don't recognize represent a breath of fresh air amid the usual suspects with their well-known labels - and sometimes, an unfamiliar company name or packaging design turns out to be just the ticket for companies that are eager to set their products apart from the pack.

    The Effect of Small Production Labels on Customers

    Typically, small production labels are associated with small businesses. According to the United States Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, small businesses - defined as enterprises with a workforce of fewer than 500 people - made up 99.7 percent of employer firms in the nation in 2014. Given a statistic like that, chances are good that almost every shopper who walks down the aisles at the grocery store knows someone who works for a small business, is personally employed by such an enterprise or perhaps even owns one. So, what does this mean in terms of the effect that small production labels have on consumer choices? When a customer comes across an item with a custom label, he or she is likely to infer that it was produced by a small business as opposed to a big-name corporation. As a result, the shopper may be more amenable to the idea of giving the unfamiliar product a try. On a retail playing field that pits small enterprises' offerings directly against those put out there by the big guys, many people are inclined to root for the underdog, which is great news for companies that use independent product labels.

    Make Sure Custom Stickers and Labels Look High-Quality and Professional

    The wares sold by small businesses may have a certain appeal to them, but if the custom stickers and labels on these products leave a lot to be desired, that could be a turnoff for customers. After all, cheap-looking packaging doesn't exactly reflect positively on the quality of the food inside the box, bag or jar. With this in mind, how can small enterprises go about striking a balance in terms of leveraging custom labels that both set them apart from larger brands and assure shoppers that their products are up to snuff? Lightning Labels can help. Thanks to our state-of-the-art HP digital label printing technology, the stickers and labels that adorn your products will look as good as - if not better - than those of major national brands. Add this to the fact that your company's name and logo are probably unfamiliar to consumers, which will likely pique their interest, and before you know it, your items will be in shoppers' carts and rolling along the conveyor belt at the register.

  • 4 Aspects to Consider When Creating Custom Product Labels

    custom product labelsSo, You're in the Market for New Labels...

    Whether you're debuting a never-before-seen product or simply think it's time to give your current wares a fresh lease on life, creating new labels and stickers is a great way to attract consumers' attention and differentiate your offerings from those of your competitors. This rule holds true whether you sell wine, beer, hot sauce, bath and body items, nutraceuticals, food products…the list goes on. When it comes to producing high-quality, vibrant, durable labels, Lightning Labels has you covered - but before you're ready to print your new packaging, you need to come up with an eye-catching and informative design.

    Make Your Custom Labels the Best They Can Be

    Before you began the process of designing your own custom labels, you probably had no idea of the number of choices to be made. A label seems like such a small part of a product, but don't be fooled - it's actually a crucial marketing component that can make or break the success of your brand. Take these aspects into consideration to ensure your custom label designs are the best they can be. 1. Theme The theme of your label should correspond with the tone of your overall messaging. Do you position your brand as casual and fun? Chic and modern? Classic and vintage? Make sure your label echoes this. 2. Readability The effort you put into carefully crafting a witty product tagline and simple yet attention-grabbing company logo will all go to waste if your labels are illegible. Select an appropriate font, text size and color combination to highlight your design rather than obscure it. 3. Size, Shape, Material and Finish It's easy to get so caught up in the design of a label that you forget to think about its size, shape, material and finish. Due to the shape of wine bottles, go with portrait orientation rather than landscape. If you sell candles, your labels should be made of flame-resistant material. For bath and beauty products likely to be kept in close proximity to tubs and sinks, water-resistance is important. 4. Information Good design is vital in terms of attracting attention to your products, but don't forget to include the relevant information on your labels as well. Is there room for your company's contact information, the item's barcode and the list of ingredients? These are non-negotiables that the design needs to incorporate.

    What's the Next Step for Your New Product Labels?

    Once you've come up with a label design that's legible, fits your overall brand messaging, includes all necessary information and is an appropriate size, shape, material and finish for the type of product you're selling, it's time for Lightning Labels to take over. Thanks to our state-of-the-art digital technology, customers won't be able to tell the difference between the custom labels on your products and the packaging of major national brands. Between your top-notch design and our high-quality printing, you can be confident your products will catch shoppers' attention.  

  • Use Labels to Promote Heart-Healthy Nutrition During American Heart Month

    use labels to promote heart-healthy nutritionClear Food Labels Are Especially Important During American Heart Month

    February is American Heart Month, so it's likely that a number of shoppers will be paying more attention than usual to food labels while browsing at grocery stores over the next couple of weeks. For some consumers, the heart-healthy behaviors they adopt during February will stick after the month draws to a close and they'll develop more long-term commitments to checking lists of ingredients before placing products in their carts. So, how should people in the food and beverage industry respond to shoppers' American Heart Month-fueled inquisitiveness about what goes into the items they're considering buying? Two words: clear labels. In order to attract the attention of consumers browsing the aisles, the stickers and labels on your products need to set your items apart from the rest. That often means coming up with a unique and eye-catching design, but the artwork on your packaging shouldn't come at the expense of imparting clear nutritional information to shoppers. After all, piquing consumers' interest is only the first step of the purchasing process - if the list of ingredients is too small or the printing is low-quality, customers may pass over your offerings in favor of a competitor's more clearly marked wares.

    Heart-Healthy Labels Can Help Your Products Stand Out From the Crowd

    Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans, and people who want to lower their risk of developing the condition typically begin by reducing their sodium intake, cutting down on sugary snacks and decreasing the amount of trans fats and saturated fats in their diet - so you can be sure they'll be on the lookout for healthy labels. If your products are low in sodium, low-fat, sugar-free or fat-free, be sure to declare this loud and proud on your packaging. Shoppers who don't have the time or patience to scan ingredient lists will be more likely to choose your offering over a competitor's if you incorporate information about its heart-healthy status into the design on the front of the label, rather than relegating this important detail to the full list of ingredients on the back.

    Product Labels Are A Crucial Part of Consumers' Healthy-Eating Efforts

    Customers' desire to know exactly what's in the food and beverages they consume has prompted a number of restaurants and other eateries to emulate product labels by posting nutritional information on their websites and listing calorie amounts next to items on menus and in display cases. Many have elected to take this step voluntarily, but those that haven't will soon be required to under the menu labeling law. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, "restaurants and similar retail food establishments covered by the menu labeling final rule will have one year after the menu labeling final rule publishes December 1, 2014, to comply with the rule's requirements."

  • California Bill Proposes Adding Warnings to Sugary Drink Labels

    California State Senator Rallies Behind Healthy Label Legislation
    Inspired by the labels on cigarettes that alert consumers about the dangers of smoking, California State Senator Bill Monning is pushing for the inclusion of similar warnings on the packaging of soft drinks and other sugary beverages.

    Monning's crusade began last year, when he introduced Senate Bill 1000 to mandate the inclusion of such labels on soda, sweetened tea, sports drinks and energy drinks. His goal was to ensure shoppers were aware that these types of beverages can contribute to certain health problems. After being passed by the State Senate, the proposed legislation was halted by the State Assembly Health Committee, but the Carmel Democrat was undeterred. This year, he's making another attempt in the form of Senate Bill 203.

    SB 203 Would Mandate Inclusion of Warnings on Sugary Drink Product Labels
    Monning's proposed legislation would require the containers of beverages that have 75 or more calories per 12 ounces to include the following warning on their labels: "STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay."

    "Given the rock solid scientific evidence showing the dangers of sugary beverages, the state of California has a responsibility to inform consumers about products proven to be harmful to the public's health," said Monning in a statement. "This bill will give Californians the at-a-glance information they need to make more healthful choices every day."

    As TIME magazine noted, previous efforts to regulate the public's consumption of sugary drinks elsewhere in the nation have not been successful. Last year, Illinois lawmakers' attempt to tax the beverages was vetoed. Meanwhile, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's highly publicized - and controversial - effort to ban the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces was deemed unconstitutional by the highest court in the state.

    New Labels Would Set A Precedent
    Although the outcomes of the two examples outlined above are not exactly encouraging for Monning's cause, research has shown that voters are becoming increasingly concerned about how drinks with added sweeteners impact their own health, as well as the well-being of their children. A Public Health Advocacy release pointed to the findings of a 2014 Field Poll that revealed three-quarters (74 percent) of voters are in favor of adding warning labels to sugary beverages, and members of the health care industry have also voiced their support for the measure.

    "California's city and county physician health officers ... are tired of watching their communities get sick because of sugary drinks," said Kat DeBurgh, executive director of the Health Officers Association of California, which is cosponsoring the bill. "A warning label would go a long way to getting the word out about which drinks have the most risk."

    With voter support on the rise, SB 203 may become the precedent-setting legislation that sugary drink warning label advocates have been waiting for.

  • Promote Your Brewery with Standout Beer Bottle Labels

    promote your brewery with standout beer bottle labels

    Certain beer brands are as renowned for their bottle labels as they are for the taste of their brews. Consider Rogue Ales' distinctive historic and occasion-themed stickers, Anchor Steam Beer's hand-drawn motif (with, of course, the company's namesake anchor front and center) and Magic Hat's trademark psychedelic designs. In short, if your brewery wants to attract attention from shoppers at retail locations, you'll face stiff competition from rival drinks.

    The Ingredients of Standout Beer Labels

    So, what qualities make for great beer labels? To enjoy optimal results, you need to find a balance between attracting consumers' attention and getting across all the information they're looking for in a format that's as easy to digest as the beer itself. In this sense, coming up with a solid sticker design is a two-step process: First, reel in shoppers with an eye-catching design, then impart everything they need to know within the time span of a casual glance. If you fall short during the first part of the process, they'll never make it to Step Two. Fail to provide all the relevant details in a sufficiently streamlined manner, and they'll lose interest.

    Take Your Home Brew Label to the Next Level

    Home-brewing is a labor of love, and a home brew label design should reflect that. All too often, however, delicious home brews get overlooked due to lackluster labeling, but Lightning Labels can change all that. We offer a range of different finishes - a high-gloss finish, a matte finish and old-style textured paper - and provide the option of wraparound labels or separate stickers for the back and front of the bottle according to your preferences. Whichever choices you select, you can rest assured that the printing will be high-resolution and of great quality, so the colors of your carefully chosen design will truly pop.

  • Give Off A Professional Vibe With High-Resolution Quality Labels

    Quality labels can make one product stand out above the rest.Don't Let Limitations Compromise Your Custom Labels

    Small-business owners and hobbyists who sell their products on the side typically don't need an enormous quantity of custom labels, nor are they working with the seemingly unlimited budgets enjoyed by their larger competitors. Limiting factors like these often result in entrepreneurs taking DIY approaches to packaging that may leave their wares appearing a little lackluster on the labeling front. Whether consumers are browsing shelves in-store or meandering past stalls at their local farmers market, good-quality, high-resolution labels will always stand out above the rest. With this rule in mind, traveling down the DIY path could put sellers at a disadvantage. After all, despite the old adage, people do judge books by their covers - and products by their packages.

    Skimping on Custom Stickers Could Disengage Consumers

    Sometimes, entrepreneurs try to keep the designs of their custom stickers as simple as possible so the associated printing costs don't spiral out of control, but taking this approach - however thrifty it may be - could turn out to be a mistake. Craft beers in particular are known for the unique, detailed and sometimes whimsical illustrations that adorn their labels, so brewers who drop the ball in this regard should be prepared to see a negative effect on their sales. Last year, Creative Bloq showcased some of the most original craft beer labels out there. These included cats, robots, donkeys and daisies (in the case of Chicago-based Half Acre Beer Company), fairytale-esque offerings befitting of the Grimm Brothers Brewhouse name and the legendary Lucha Libre wrestler masks translated into sticker form for Mexican craft beer Cerveceria Sagrada. With such stiff competition out there, why sell yourself short just to save a buck?

    Quality Labels, Low Prices

    With Lightning Labels, you can get the best of both worlds: quality labels at an inexpensive price, in as large or small a quantity as you need. Whether you're in the market for craft beer and wine labels, bath and body product stickers or even lip balm packaging, Lightning Labels can deliver a professional-looking result without breaking the bank. If you need to meet a deadline, that's no problem either, as our typical turnaround time is between 48 and 72 hours.

  • Personalized Wedding Favors Will Help Guests Remember Your Big Day

    If you're looking for a way to separate your wedding from the rest, consider favor stickers.Make Your Wedding Stand Out with Favor Stickers

    If you're looking for a way to separate your wedding from the rest, consider favor stickers. According to the latest statistics from XO Group, which created well-known wedding website, couples are spending more per guest in order to create an experience to remember. In 2013, nearly one-third of the 13,000 brides and grooms who took part in XO's annual Real Weddings Study reported providing "additional guest entertainment." That being said, don't think you have to break the bank with expensive pre- and post-ceremony events to make your wedding stand out from the crowd - a small yet meaningful touch like affixing custom labels to favors can also do the trick.

    Wedding Favor Stickers Tie Into Rising Personalization Trend

    Couples who are eager to inject their personalities into their weddings hardly represent a new trend, but this kind of personalization is on the rise, and can be seen in everything from wedding favor stickers to signature cocktails. According to the Real Weddings Study, now more than ever, couples want to offer a unique guest experience that truly reflects who they are. Some of the most common means of achieving this aim are:

    • Offering signature wedding cocktails: One in five couples did this in 2013, compared to just 12 percent in 2008.
    • Hosting interactive food stations: These were seen at 15 percent of weddings in 2013, a modest rise from 13 percent in 2010.
    • Inviting a family member or friend to officiate: Fewer than two-thirds (57 percent) of couples hired a professional ceremony officiant to oversee their ceremonies in 2013.

    Wedding cocktails, food stations and non-standard officiants certainly help events stand out, but while they make great memories, these aspects aren't something that can be taken home by guests and kept for years to come. On the contrary, wedding favor stickers fit the bill perfectly.

    You Can't Have Wedding Favor Stickers Without Wedding Favors

    If you're sold on the idea of wedding favor stickers but aren't sure which wedding favors to go with, your event type can help narrow the field. Will your wedding be a classy, elegant affair? Bottles of wine with custom labels could serve as perfect take-home gifts. Are you planning a more casual beach ceremony? Lip balm with you and your new spouse's names printed on the container is a perfect choice.

  • Supplement Labels Spark Controversy for Major Retailers

    Retailers in Hot Water Over Supplement Labels
    Accuracy is an important element of all product labels, but it is especially critical with regard to the packaging of items intended for human consumption, such as food, beverages and nutraceuticals.

    It's the last category that has presented some trouble for four big-name retailers: Target, GNC, Walgreens and Walmart. As The New York Times reported, the New York State Attorney General's Office recently sent cease-and-desist letters to the quartet, demanding that they stop selling a number of their dietary supplements. Why? A series of tests conducted by the AG's office revealed that some of the supplements were missing contents listed on their labels, while many also included undeclared allergens.

    "Contamination, substitution and falsely labeling herbal products constitute deceptive business practices and, more importantly, present considerable health risks for consumers," the letters stated, as quoted by the news source.

    An 'Unbelievably Devastating' Revelation
    The testing found that Walgreens-brand ginseng pills actually contained only powdered garlic and rice, while Walmart's ginkgo biloba was determined to be primarily composed of powdered radish, houseplants and wheat. To add insult to injury, the label on the latter product claimed the pills were wheat- and gluten-free, effectively reassuring people allergic to wheat and gluten that they were safe to ingest.

    Moreover, although Target's ginkgo biloba, valerian root and St. John's wort didn't contain the herbs on their labels, the testing revealed the presence of powdered legumes, a class of known allergens not included on the supplements' lists of ingredients. GNC's pills featured similar unlisted allergens.

    "If this data is accurate, then it is an unbelievably devastating indictment of the [nutraceutical] industry," supplement safety expert Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, told the Times. "We're talking about products at mainstream retailers like Walmart and Walgreens that are expected to be the absolute highest quality."

    Accuracy of Testing Comes Into Question as Retailers Respond
    As Cohen alluded, some parties have cast doubt on the validity of the results. The news source explained that the testing process involved a form of genetic fingerprinting called DNA bar coding, but it's possible the manufacturing process prevented some of the herbs' DNA from showing up. That being said, this doesn't explain the presence of allergens such as soybeans and peanuts in the products.

    According to the Times, the four retailers responded to the findings in the following ways:

    • Walgreens will remove affected products from its stores across the nation.
    • Walmart will contact its supplement suppliers and "take appropriate action."
    • GNC agreed to cooperate with the AG, but defended the quality of its wares.
    • Target did not comment on the issue.

    All companies that manufacture or sell nutraceuticals can learn from this situation, from the smallest business to the largest retailer. Including pertinent, accurate information on stickers and labels can prevent adverse health effects, legal action and damage to brand reputation.

  • Undeclared Peanut Allergens Prompt Product Recall

    Chicken and Beef Products Recalled Following Label Snafu
    Food manufacturer Sentry Food Solutions recently implemented a recall affecting several of its chicken and beef products. The announcement was made following the discovery that a known allergen was not listed on the items' labels, which constituted a contravention of the labeling laws set by the United States Department of Agriculture.

    According to a press release from the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, the Tucker, Georgia-based company first became aware of the misbranding as a result of a notification from its spice supplier. According to the supplier, the cumin used to make four Sentry Food Solutions products - Sabor Latino Pepper Steak, Sabor Latino Beef and Potato Stew, Sabor Latino Chicken Fricassee and Sabor Latino Beef Picadillo - may have been contaminated by peanut allergens.

    Class I Designation Underscores Seriousness of Mislabeling
    The issue affected more than 14,000 pounds of products produced between Nov. 20, 2014, and Jan. 7 of this year, which can be distinguished by the establishment number "P-19031" or "Est. 19031" located inside the USDA mark of inspection on the labels.

    No adverse reactions have been reported to FSIS or Sentry Food Solutions, but the recall was categorized with a Class I designation, meaning there is "a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to a violative product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death," as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As the Mayo Clinic detailed, allergic reactions to peanuts can run the gamut from relatively mild symptoms such as hives and itchiness to the considerably more serious anaphylaxis, which may manifest itself in life-threatening ways including difficulty breathing, a severe drop in blood pressure and loss of consciousness.

    Pennsylvania Manufacturer Stricken by Similar Recall
    An almost identical incident came to light earlier this month involving nearly 36,000 pounds of chili produced by Freedom, Pennsylvania-based Fresh Food Manufacturing. The affected products - Giant Eagle Market District Firehouse Chili with Beans, Good Cents Chili with Beans and Market District Firehouse Chili with Beans - were manufactured between Nov. 21 and Dec. 30 last year, according to an FSIS press release. Like Sentry, Fresh Food Manufacturing was alerted by its spice supplier about the potential contamination of cumin by peanut allergens.

  • 3 Tips for Labeling Your Bath and Body Products

    A nice, long bath represents a well-deserved and restorative treat any time of year, whether it's snowing outside or the sun is beating down on your bathroom window.Cosmetic Labels Should Change With the Seasons

    The bold, vibrant hues on your cosmetic labels that were responsible for grabbing shoppers' attention in the summertime are unlikely to have as positive an effect in the bleak midwinter. Why? Consumers aren't exactly looking for bright colors to complement their summer glows at this time of year - they're more preoccupied by the basics, such as making sure the cold doesn't dry out their skin or chap their lips. With this in mind, consider using restorative colors like soft, warm pastels to catch customers' eyes in the winter months and set your products apart from the rest.

    Luxury is the Name of the Game with Bath and Body Labels

    In contrast to their cosmetic equivalents, bath and body labels aren't too seasonally sensitive. Think about it: A nice, long bath represents a well-deserved and restorative treat any time of year, whether it's snowing outside or the sun is beating down on your bathroom window. So, how can the labeling of these kinds of products best get across the idea of luxury and relaxation, regardless of the season? It's all about color. When you're choosing the palette for your bath and body labels, you can't go wrong with dark reds, deep purples and resplendent gold, which give off exactly the right vibe of opulence while also catching shoppers' attention on the shelves.

    Make Sure Your Product Labels Hold Up to Wear and Tear

    Some product labels need to be more robust than others. Cosmetics are used over and over, jammed into pocketbooks and slipped into purses, while bath and body products risk being splashed by or even dropped into water. There's no point in lovingly putting together a label design that features the perfect palette if the colors fade - or, even worse, if the sticker peels off altogether - after the item undergoes just a few uses. With Lightning Labels, wear and tear isn't something you need to worry about, as our high-quality custom labels and stickers are printed on waterproof labeling materials that will stand up to water and oils without the risk of peeling or smudging. But don't just take our word for it - request samples of our offerings so you can test them out for yourself.

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