Monthly Archives: April 2015

  • LightningQuoteTM

    Get Your FREE Quote Instantly!
    Get Started

    Should Front Labels Contain Full Nutritional Information Tables?

    Don't Judge A Product by Its Front Label It's fair to say that shoppers browsing the aisles at the grocery store often don't take the time to pick up individual products off the shelves, flip them around and read the nutritional information listed on the back.

    Instead, these individuals tend to base their purchasing decisions on the front of the packaging. This is one of the many reasons why it's so important for brands to use high-quality, professional-looking labels with crisp, easy-to-read text and vibrant colors.

    The Limitations of the 'Front Label' Approach However, as we noted in a recent article, some of the claims made on brands' front-facing labels confuse or mislead shoppers. For instance, the labels on the front of Vitaminwater bottles display information about the electrolytes, minerals and vitamins contained in the drink, but you have to look at the back to learn about the product's high sugar content. Similarly, the front labels on Capri Sun pouches boast the drink's lack of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, but the full list of ingredients is relegated to the back.

    Traditionally, many companies have shied away from including full nutritional information tables on their front-facing product labels. One of the chief reasons for this is that they believe doing so will take up valuable design real estate that could compromise their ability to attract consumers' attention. However, particularly where health-focused shoppers are concerned, being upfront about what a product contains may actually have a positive effect.

    Study Finds Front-of-Package Nutrition Information May Spur Healthier Choices In fact, according to a study led by the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, front-of-package nutrition labels make it easier for health-conscious shoppers to choose their purchases wisely, without having to take the time to scrutinize back labels.

    As the British Journal of Nutrition detailed, researchers believe that applying this approach across the board could have a two-pronged effect, educating customers and holding members of the food and beverage industry to a higher level of accountability.

    "Front-of-package food labeling is an important tool in helping consumers to make healthier choices and to encourage the industry to provide healthier foods," noted study leader Monique Raats, director of the University of Surrey's Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre, in a statement quoted by Science Daily.

    Ultimately, whether companies decide to include full nutritional information on the front of their brands' packaging, they have a responsibility to accurately represent their products on the items' front labels.

  • Contemplating A Life Without Labels

    History of Product LabelsAn America Without Product Labels

    Can you imagine what the browsing and purchasing process would be like in the United States if product weren't labeled? To experience such an existence firsthand, you would have to travel back in time to the 1800s. As print and design blog Impressions explained, labels made their American debut in the 19th century as a tool that served two purposes: identifying different types of pharmaceutical drugs and instructing patients how and when to take them. However, it wasn't until the mid-1800s that printers began to change their focus from simply creating labels that imparted important information to doing this in a way that set their labels apart from the rest. They began to develop label books that offered examples of different printing, engraving and color options. If you've ordered stickers and labels from Lightning Labels, you'll know that we still use an approach like this today - although, of course, the printing options we provide are much more sophisticated thanks to the numerous technological innovations that have taken place over the past century and a half. The way labels adhere to products has also undergone an evolution over the years. Initially, according to Impressions, gum was used to stick them to pill bottles and vials. In the 1930s, R. Stanton Avery, a Los Angeles entrepreneur, invented self-adhesive labels that proved to be a game-changer for the business. The next red-letter decade for the label industry was the 1980s, when barcodes began to take off, revolutionizing the everyday shopping experience. Nowadays, virtually every product has a label of some kind. In the preceding paragraphs, we answered the question of how we got here from the world without labels that existed two centuries ago. The next question is why - why did labels not only grow in popularity over the course of the past 200 years, but become practically ubiquitous? The answer lies in their multiple uses and purposes.

    Delivering Information

    In the 1800s, pharmacists applied labels to containers with the intention of making it easier to distinguish between different drugs, and to ensure patients knew what to do with their prescriptions (shake liquid medicine, ingest pills with food, take their medication twice a day, etc.). The pharmacists of today - along with members of many other industries - still use labels for this purpose. Some of the information included on today's labels includes the name of the brand and the company behind it, ingredients and nutritional information, warnings (regarding side effects and toxicity, for instance) and details that might make the product more enticing to customers ("fat-free," "all-natural," "vegan-friendly").

    Meeting Diverse Needs

    Since the printers of the mid-1800s first began promoting different options, label design has taken off in a big way. Just look at Lightning Labels' offerings as an example. We can manufacture vertical labels for wine bottles, horizontal labels for tubs of nutraceuticals, heat-proof labels for candles, waterproof labels for bath products and more. We even have a special material that has been formulated to meet the unique requirements of labels affixed to tubes of lip balm.

    Attracting Attention

    When consumers are standing in front of an entire shelf filled with the same product, how are they expected to choose one brand over another? Labels are the answer. If they're fond of a particular brand, they can easily identify it by its label. If they're looking for something organic, free range or low-fat, they'll be drawn to the labels that tell them which products have these attributes. If they're ambivalent about which brand to choose, a bright, eye-catching, well-designed label may well pique their interest and seal the deal. Whatever your motivation for procuring labels, Lightning Labels' state-of-the-art printing technology can provide you with affordable, full-color custom labels and stickers of all shapes and sizes.

  • Prepare for Mother's Day with Custom Labels for Candles, Cosmetics and Beauty Products

    Happy Mother's DayAre Your Product Labels Ready for Mother's Day?

    Mother's Day is less than a month away, so if you sell candles, cosmetics and beauty items, now is the time to kick off the process of decking out your product labels ahead of the big day. More often than not, moms are the glue holding households together. They ferry their kids to school, play dates and sports games, hold down the fort at home and, as if this weren't a full-time job in its own right, many even have their own careers on top of all that. There's no doubt about it - moms are busy people. So, when Mother's Day rolls around this May 10, the best gift families can give their matriarchs is relaxation.

    Optimizing Your Custom Labels

    If relaxation is the name of your marketing game for the second Sunday in May, be sure to integrate soothing colors into your custom labels. You can't go wrong with pastel shades, especially soothing blues, tranquil greens, glowing pinks and sumptuous purples. Did you know that purple is a traditionally regal color? Around this time of year, shoppers are looking for items to make their moms feel like queens, so a little purple can go a long way. For a splash of decadence, try using gold trim or silver highlights - but don't go overboard, or else you may cross the line from tasteful and elegant to gaudy and over the top.

    Bath Product and Candle Labels Should Hold Up Under Pressure - Just Like Mom

    Keeping candles and bath products near the sink or the tub sounds great in terms of easy access, but as any mom knows, sometimes accidents can happen. A splash of water, an unplanned dunk, contact with bath oils or the extreme heat generated by hot wax shouldn't ruin bath product or candle labels. That being said, if the wrong material is used, your carefully designed labels may very well get ruined. Don't take the risk - make sure your labels are water- and heat-resistant by ordering them from Lightning Labels. In addition to ensuring safety, Lightning Labels also offers high-quality, professional-looking custom stickers and labels than can stand up to major national brands' packaging at a fraction of the cost. Catch consumers' attention in the weeks leading up to Mother's Day without breaking the bank!

  • Stand Up to April Showers with Weather-Resistant Labels

    Weather-Resistant LabelsDon't Forget Waterproof Packaging When Designing and Ordering Labels

    You might think that once you've locked down the information you want to include on a label and the format in which this will be presented, you're good to go - but if you forget to consider the importance of waterproof packaging, you could be in for a soggy, unpleasant surprise down the road. Especially at this time of year, the weather can be unpredictable, with the sun shining one day and the rain pouring down the next. After all, they're not called "April showers" for nothing. Failing to take this aspect into account when designing labels could lead to quality issues that don't exactly cast your company in a great light. Avoid inadvertently cultivating a reputation of being that enterprise with the delicate labels by making robust packaging choices.

    Why Use Weather-Proof Labels?

    Beyond the ability to stand up to April showers, weather-resistant labels are generally more durable, which widens the scope when it comes to storage options and use scenarios. When consumers see that a label is weather-resistant, they don't only associate this moniker with the idea that the packaging will stand up to hot sun and pouring rain. Rather, they assume it will hold its own in a range of less than optimal conditions, whether these are directly caused by the weather or not. Consider water bottle labels as an example. You don't see many paper water bottle labels in this day and age, and that's for a good reason: Manufacturers understand that bottles get jammed into bags, held by sweaty hands, stored in cold places and more - in short, they need to be durable, which means standing up to heat, cold and moisture as well as being hard to tear or rip.

    What to Expect From Lightning Labels' Weather-Resistant Stickers

    At Lightning Labels, we've made enough labels over the years to understand and accommodate the special requirement of weather-proofing. Our standard White BOPP polypropylene sticker is waterproof and durable, able to withstand everyday exposure to everything from torrents of rainwater to intense sunbeams. In other words, they're not so much weather-proofed as April-proofed! Whatever this month brings in terms of weather, you can be confident that our labels will be up to the task of handling any conditions that come their way.

  • Earth Day is Coming - Do You Use Sustainable Stickers and Labels?

    Sustainable Stickers and LabelsCelebrate Earth Day With Recyclable Stickers

    Every year on April 22, people across the globe acknowledge Earth Day in a variety of ways, from planting trees to making sure the recyclable stickers affixed to the products they buy actually get recycled. United States Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day in 1970 with the goal of making environmental protection part of the national political agenda. As a result, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created and two pivotal laws were passed: the Clean Air, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Over the past four decades, the movement has grown and evolved, spreading across the globe and taking new forms every year. In fact, according to, it is the largest civic event in the world with more than 1 billion participants.

    Do Your Part With Sustainable Packaging

    You don't have to be a senator to drive environmental change - in fact, you'd be surprised by the size of the impact that switching to sustainable packaging can have, even for a small company. Think about it: Every item you sell is branded with a label, sticker or some other kind of packaging, and all those materials can quickly pile up. Of course, you want your custom labels and stickers to be high-quality, professional-looking and durable for the duration of your products' life span, but what about after that?

    Why Use Recycled Labels?

    The benefits of recycled labels go beyond helping to conserve the Earth's resources. Today's consumers are becoming more and more environmentally conscious, so letting them know that sustainability is important to your company might attract green-minded shoppers to your brand. "Consumers around the world are saying loud and clear that a brand's social purpose is among the factors that influence purchase decisions," Amy Fenton, global leader of public development and sustainability at Nielsen, asserted in a statement. "This behavior is on the rise and it provides opportunities for meaningful impact in our communities, in addition to helping to grow share for brands." Indeed the Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility released last June revealed that more than half (55 percent) of online consumers are willing to pay more for goods if the companies from which they're purchasing are committed to making a positive social and environmental impact.

  • Research Finds Beverage Labels Mislead Parents

    Do Sugary Drink Labels Encourage Misperceptions?
    Last month, we reported that the watchdog group Truth in Advertising had filed a class action suit against Vitaminwater, based on the claim that the company's name and labeling were misleading to consumers. Recent research conducted by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at University of Connecticut and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that Vitaminwater isn't the only brand with product labels that confuse shoppers.

    The study, titled "Parents' beliefs about the healthfulness of sugary drink options: Opportunities to address misperceptions," revealed many parents buy flavored water, fruit drinks and sports beverages for their children with the belief that they are making healthy choices. Almost all (96 percent) of the 982 survey participants said they provided two to nine different categories of sugary drinks to their kids in the four weeks preceding the poll. Fruit drinks came out on top, with 77 percent of parents reporting that they had selected beverages such as Capri Sun and Sunny D for their children over the previous month, citing their health benefits. In the flavored water category, more than half (56 percent) of respondents said they thought Vitaminwater was healthy.

    "Although many parents know that soda is not good for children, many still believe that sugary drinks are healthy options," said study co-author Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center, as quoted by USA Today.

    However, this isn't exactly the case. Pointing to analysis from Harvard University's Nutrition Source, Fox News noted that one Capri Sun pouch contains 125 calories and 8 grams of sugar. Meanwhile, most flavors of Vitaminwater contain approximately 30 grams of sugar per 20-ounce bottle. To put this into context, the World Health Organization recently lowered its sugar intake recommendation to less than 50 grams per day.

    Why the Disconnect?
    "The labeling and marketing for these products imply that they are nutritious, and these misperceptions may explain why so many parents buy them," said Harris.

    For instance, the labels on the front of Vitaminwater bottles tout the vitamins, minerals and electrolytes that the drink contains, while details about the beverage's sugar and carbohydrate content are hidden on the back.

    "If they wanted to be honest with us and not deceive us in the labeling, they would have to call this 'Sugarwater,'" quipped Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising, as quoted by WTIC-TV.

    In the case of Capri Sun, the front of the pouch highlights the fact that the drink doesn't contain artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, but shoppers have to look at the back for the full table of nutritional information. Fox News noted that parents often make purchasing choices based on a quick scan of grocery store shelves. This means that although they see the healthy claims that brands wish to promote, they miss out on getting the full picture.

    What's the Solution?
    It could be argued that consumers need to dedicate more time to researching brands and studying nutrition information before purchasing beverages, but the beverage industry needs to contribute as well.

    "I think one of the most important takeaways from the Rudd study is that companies can play an important role in being part of the solution," observed Tina Kauh, research and evaluation program officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as quoted by USA Today. "[Companies should] not employ marketing strategies that imply beverages are healthier than they really are."

    The main takeaway from this situation is not just applicable to enterprises operating within the beverage industry: Labels should accurately represent products in order to avoid misleading consumers.

  • Promote Community Gardens with Custom Labels and Stickers

    Liquor Labeling TrendsGet the Word Out About Community Gardens Using Custom Stickers

    Community gardens are advantageous to neighborhoods in a whole host of ways, so why not promote them with custom stickers? According to the website for President Barack Obama's nationwide service initiative United We Serve, the benefits of community gardens are numerous, and include:

    • Providing a place for families and individuals without gardens of their own to grow plants, flowers and produce.
    • Facilitating local access to fresh and nutritionally rich foods.
    • Offering members a chance to give back to their communities by donating what they grow to soup kitchens and food banks.
    • Giving green-thumbed individuals the opportunity to share their knowledge and bond with their neighbors.
    • Partnering with schools and after-school organizations to teach children about gardening and nutrition.

    Event Promotion Can Help Take Community Gardens to the Next Level

    Event promotion can be a great way to raise awareness of local initiatives, and community gardens are no exception in this regard. The events in question can be anything from tours of plots to dinner parties featuring dishes made with ingredients sourced from the garden - whatever the details, using custom stickers and labels to get the word out is a surefire way of increasing turnout. The more people who know about a community garden, the more are likely to get involved, so hosting and promoting events is an important way to bolster membership and local interest.

    Take Advantage of Event Stickers from Lightning Labels

    At Lightning Labels, we have extensive experience printing custom stickers and labels in just about any shape, size and material you can imagine. As well as helping with promotion, we also offer event stickers that can be used during occasions themselves. Say you're planning to sell produce grown at a community garden for a good cause - professional and high-quality labeling can go a long way. Small operations like community gardens typically don't have high budgets, which is where Lightning Labels' custom sticker printing in small amounts comes in useful. If you only need a small number of stickers or want a selection of different designs, take advantage of our short-run roll stickers, which can be printed in small enough quantities to make them financially viable and help you avoid breaking the bank.

  • Are Soda Warning Labels on the Horizon?

    Soft Drink Warning Labels May Come to California, New York
    Shoppers in California and New York may soon see warning labels added to soft drinks - that is, if the efforts of the Golden State's Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning and Empire State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz are successful.

    In an interview with NPR's food blog The Salt, Monning underscored the importance of making sure members of the public are aware that drinking beverages with added sugar puts them at risk of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

    "We're just saying if we know about these health problems, it's also good for the consumer to know," Monning told the media outlet. "It might mitigate how often [shoppers] would buy these products."

    Monning is an established crusader against sugary beverages, having previously authored bills to instate a soda tax that fell short of garnering the required two-thirds approval from each house in the California state legislature. As The Salt noted, the standard necessary for the warning label bill to pass is lower - the legislation only needs to earn a majority in the Senate and Assembly.

    'Simple Warning' More Palatable Than Outright Ban, Assemblyman Asserts
    On the other side of the country, New York Assemblyman Dinowitz is also using past failures to spur his soda warning label campaign. In 2013, Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, attempted to ban super-sized sugary beverages, but the law was overturned in court. Dinowitz, a proponent of Bloomberg's effort, is attempting to pass similar legislation to Monning's, which he believes is more realistic than pushing for an outright ban. 

    "We're not banning anything, we're not telling anyone you can't have cups," said Dinowitz, as quoted by The Salt. "It's a simple warning."

    Dinowitz isn't the first New York politician to attempt to mandate the inclusion of warning labels on sugary drinks. Last year, State Assemblyman Karim Camara introduced Assembly Bill 10172, asserting, "As a society, we have a moral obligation to educate people so they can make healthier choices." The bill was never passed.

    Knowledge is Power
    Although the beverage industry is objecting to the proposals, claiming current product labels are sufficient, many public health experts are in favor, ascribing to the idea that knowledge is power.

    "It's really a libertarian solution: Give consumers the information and let them make the choice," said Harold Goldstein, the executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, as quoted by The Salt.

  • Demand For Nutrition Transparency Fuels New Alcohol Labeling

    Liquor Labeling TrendsDiageo Move Drives Industry-Wide Rethink of Packaging Content, Branding

    Consumers want transparency in their alcohol consumption, and we’re not talking about see-through bottles. Responding to growing demands to know nutritional content of both food and beverage, the world’s largest distiller, Diageo, will begin showing nutritional information on Guinness stout, Smirnoff vodka and Tanqueray gin packaging, according to a Bloomberg News article published on in March. That trend is likely to grow, putting beer, wine and hard liquor makers large and small on notice to ready themselves for packaging and labeling changes that will include nutritional content. Those that move quickly may capture a competitive edge, while companies lagging behind could start to see consumer support lag as well. Niche brands such as beer microbrewers can use smaller scale to their advantage. Notes a March 2015 article, “…it will likely take some time before labels will feature such information as it is a costly endeavor for such big brands to change the labels on their packaging.” In contrast, once they receive TTB label and packaging approval, small brands can print digital labels and packaging in as few as 1-2 days and be ready to roll out very quickly. Branding and relabeling changes, however, may not all be about adopting the new standard. Until or unless regulatory authorities mandate such nutritional disclosures, some liquor producers may opt for the “counter-culture” approach with messaging and graphics proclaiming adherence to the basics (e.g., “our smoothness and taste speak for themselves-that’s all you need to know”). While this sorts itself out, London-based Diageo, active in 180 countries, already has received US approval for product labels from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which regulates alcohol. The Bloomberg article notes, “‘Consumers are increasingly discerning about what’s in their glass,’ the distiller’s chief executive, Ivan Menezes, said in an e-mailed statement. ‘We are committed to ensuring our consumers have the best possible information from which to make informed choices.’” At this point, the TTB is making inclusion of nutritional information voluntary except for some existing narrowly defined requirements--unlike the Food and Drug Administration, which mandated nutritional listings decades ago. No matter how liquor makers view it, change is afoot and companies need to be responsive and agile in every area from creative brainstorming and desirable messaging to new label and packaging printing. Many companies may experiment to see where the right messaging lies. For example, baby boomers on up will tend to be less motivated by nutritional disclosures, perhaps following the “ignorance is bliss” philosophy, while millennials generally will prefer more transparency and clarity. Obviously, Diageo is betting that the latter mindset will prevail. The Fortune article notes, “Diageo, the world’s largest liquor company, has led the charge to change misconceptions about what exactly can be found in alcoholic beverages…it will begin adding nutritional information — including protein, fats, calories, and carbohydrates — to labels in the U.S., Diageo…has fought for such approval for more than a decade.” No doubt, much of the rationale for Diageo’s strong support lies in health issues. According to a March report, “‘Many adults take in a tremendous amount of calories from alcohol, and they have no idea,’ says Sara Bleich, a public-health researcher at Johns Hopkins. She has found that the average American who drinks regularly takes in 400 calories daily from alcohol — not a huge surprise, given that average beer or glass of wine has about 150 calories.” The Vox article adds, “[Bleich] and colleagues have previously found that the particular information on nutrition labels can have a dramatic impact when it comes to consumption of soda and other sugary drinks. Though she hasn't yet looked at the potential impact of labeling alcohol specifically, she imagines the effect would be similar. Regardless of how and when all this plays out, there’s no doubt that liquor labeling and packaging change is on its way. This well may be a dramatic case of early adopters gaining major competitive advantage in the marketplace.

  • Show Your Spring Sports Spirit with Team Stickers

    Team StickersTrumpet Team Pride with Youth Sports Stickers

    For kids who are participating in spring sports this year (that is, assuming the snow finally melts in certain regions of the country), showing off their baseball, soccer and lacrosse team spirit with youth sports stickers is almost as important to them as actually being on the team in the first place. Not only do they tend to emblazon their lockers, folders, cork boards and pretty much as many belongings as they can with the proud declaration that they're part of the team, they'll likely do their best to persuade Mom, Dad, and even aunts, uncles and cousins to display the stickers on each and every car they own.

    What Makes Team Decals So Important?

    Most kids - and adults, too - are eager to feel part of something bigger than themselves, and team decals are the perfect way to trumpet this sense of belonging to the world without having to say a single word. Joining spring sports teams is a great way to meet like-minded people, make new friends and get some exercise - all while developing a tight-knit, deeply exclusive community in the process. Spring sports teams come with so many positive associations, and given this, it makes sense that team members and their parents would be eager to flaunt their involvement all season long. What's more, for parents who are watching their recreational activities budgets, team decals are a lot cheaper than matching T-shirts - and much less likely to fall victim to pasta sauce or chocolate stains.

    Making Custom Decals User-Friendly is Key

    Chances are that parents have had a bad experience or two related to scraping outdated decals off the surfaces upon which they were so triumphantly stuck just a few short months earlier. Luckily, Lightning Labels offers alternative materials with less aggressive adhesive. Our removable BOPP material and our ultra-removable window decal offer a superior alternative to the traditional static cling, so team decals will stay firmly attached to whatever smooth, non-porous surface they're applied to for as long as you wish, and not a second longer. Once they're removed, you'll never know they were there, as they don't ghost, stain or leave an unsightly residue. After all, five years from now, you're unlikely to get excited by the sight of the remnants of your kid's sports team decal from spring 2015 on the rear window of your car. Now, however, you're all about showing team spirit, and custom decals from Lightning Labels can help you do just that.

1-10 of 15