Monthly Archives: September 2015

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    Food label debates coming to a head

    Food distribution and relevant management frameworks have had to remain somewhat flexible in the past few years, thanks to the seemingly perpetual state of change taking place in federal regulations and compliance requirements related to labeling. This has been one of the more widely discussed debates for several years now, especially with consumers becoming more aware of potential hazards in their eating habits and a more robust landscape of health-conscious individuals. 

    At the same time, a range of federal efforts have worked to reduce the rate of improper or misleading labeling on behalf of food and beverage companies, as well as others in the clothing industry and beyond. Businesses need to not only ensure that their labeling strategies are in compliance with the law, but also work to reduce the threat of hurting their own reputations by misleading their clientele or allowing inaccurate information to mistakenly appear on their branded items. 

    A stranger assertion
    Researchers Steven Dallas, Peggy Liu and Peter Upbel recently argued in a Washington Post column that the new standards and practices released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration might not actually help consumers make healthier, smarter choices at the grocery store. According to the authors, this is related to the nutritional facts labels that are governed by the regulatory entity, and while there was certainly a need for modernization in relevant legislative frameworks, officials might be missing the mark. 

    Now, these types of matters are important to keep up with from competitive and compliance perspectives, as covered entities need to oblige the standards but also must ensure that they are best serving their customer bases. The researchers affirmed that the serving size adjustment might be the one matter that decision-makers should consider a bit more thoroughly, as some health professionals have argued that this will lead to individuals eating even more than ever. 

    This is due to larger serving sizes across a range of categories. 

    Having cake and eating it too
    Any food distributor knows the fine line that must be walked to oblige regulators and consumers in one fell swoop, and one of the only ways to have cake and eat it too involves the balancing of strategies to make everyone happy. With the right label provider, companies will be able to more efficiently handle these matters, and avoid the prospect of either falling out of compliance with the law or beginning to hinder their brand images in the eyes of consumers. 

  • Announcing Online Ordering Capabilities for Lip Balm Labels

    Online Ordering Capabilities for Lip Balm LabelsAnnouncing Online Ordering Capabilities for Lip Balm Labels

    We are proud to announce that it's now easier than ever to get your hands on some of our popular lip balm labels. They're durable, vibrant and now available to order online, not just over the phone or via email. You don't need to pick up the phone or type up a long message anymore - just head to LightningLabels.com and with a few clicks, your personalized lip balm label order will be placed. Just like our name, our turnaround time is lightning-fast: Following proof approval, you can expect a turnaround of just two to three days. In short, if you need your custom labels sooner rather than later, we've got you covered.

    3 Great Features of Our Lip Balm Label Product

    There's a lot to love about our lip balm label product, particularly the following aspects:

    1. Extended content: Lip balm containers are small, so their labels need to be as well - or do they? Our extended content labels fold out from the container, providing extra space for ingredient panels, directions, warnings and more. You want to make sure users have all the information they need, and we want you to have the space to say everything you need to.
    2. Flexibility and customization: Are you looking to print multiple designs on the same material without incurring extra costs? Do you only need a relatively small number of labels (as low as 50)? Is your brand's color scheme extremely specific? No problem - Lightning Labels can meet those requirements.
    3. Full and partial safety seals: A high-quality lip balm label needs to be eye-catching, durable and in complete compliance with safety standards, which is where our full and partial safety seals come in.

    Our Custom Lip Balm Labels Have Staying Power

    By its very nature, lip balm is a product that many people keep on or near them a lot of the time, and custom lip balm labels go along for the ride. Think about it: Lips tend to dry out in the heat of the summer, crack in the cold of the winter or need soothing after a lip-bitingly scary movie or a stressful day at work. Lip balm is carried in pockets and purses and stored in drawers and glove compartments, conditions that can all have a compromising effect on label quality. However, that's something Lightning Labels' customers don't have to worry about, as our lip balm labels are resistant to water and oil - not to mention that they're made of our durable BOPP material that won't wrinkle, smudge, peel or fade.

    With custom lip balm labels from Lightning Labels, buyers can rest assured that their message will remain crisp, readable and vivid for weeks and months to come. Given how often people handle and use lip balm, there are few better ways to ensure your brand stays at the forefront of these individuals' minds than by emblazoning it on lip balm labels. Why not place an online order with Lightning Labels today?

  • Kick off Autumn Craft Fair Season with Custom Labels

    Kick off Autumn Craft Fair Season with Custom LabelsGet Ready for Fall Craft Fairs with Customized Labels

    There's a lot to love about fall. Pumpkin-flavored everything, leaves changing color before falling off trees, the heat of the summer slowly giving way to the crisp air and slight chill that constitute what the kids call "hoodie weather" and, of course, craft fairs. Kick off autumn craft fair season in style with customized labels to help make your handmade wares pop. At even the smallest of local craft fairs, competition can get fierce, with artwork, jewelry and assorted tools and trinkets everywhere you look. Give yourself every advantage in terms of standing out from the crowd by making sure your stickers and labels are eye-catching and unique - just like your products.

    What Goes Into Designing the Perfect Craft Fair Labels?

    Handmade products are much different from the mass-produced items that line the shelves of retail and grocery stores, but craft fair labels have a lot in common with the packaging deployed by big-box brands. For instance, edible items need nutrition panels, bath and body products should come with ingredient lists and directions for use and, as any good small-business owner knows, the company logo should be front and center. In addition to the contents of craft product labels, sellers should also pay attention to the labels themselves: What material should they be made from? Could they benefit from a particular finish or laminate? What size and shape best fits the product? Do several different designs need to be ordered, or will one suffice? In short, although preparing labels may not seem like a major part of getting ready for a craft fair, there are a lot of important questions to be answered - and these could affect key aspects like sales numbers and the reputation of the business.

    Why Choose Lightning Labels for Craft Fair Products?

    Lightning Labels understands that when it comes to labels for craft fair products, the smallest decisions can have the biggest impact. Craft fair attendees are big on customization and personalization, so the labels and stickers on wares should reflect this. Lightning Labels offers an impressive array of materials, finishes and laminates, ranging from our durable BOPP labels to our eco-friendly Kraft and EarthFirst PLA labels, and even the paper-free BioStone. Shore up products' ability to weather the elements with our UV outdoor gloss, and select heatproof and waterproof options for candles and bath and body products, respectively. Whatever your craft fair labeling needs, Lightning Labels is here for you.

  • Legendary Recall Due to Inaccurate Labels

    All in the Details
    The fine print tends to be far more important than many individuals would give it credit for, including business owners. When leaders begin to lose sight of the smaller aspects of their corporate responsibilities, the chances of experiencing significant instances of financial loss and brand reputation damages will be inherently higher, as small details are so critical in the modern economy. 

    When looking around the national and international news headlines, it never really takes long to see one major story about an otherwise beloved company taking one step - no matter how big or small - in the wrong direction. The information regarding the mistake travels more quickly than ever before thanks to social networks and similar technologies, and the business will likely have to spend a large sum of money and time fixing the issue. 

    Lately, the onus has been placed on labeling in retail, food and beverage, design and other sectors, as public outcry has fueled regulatory investigations across the United States and overseas. One of the more recent recalls to have been caused by faulty labeling systems might be enough evidence to back the assertion that firms need to become far more focused upon the accuracy of their practices in these areas, or stand to lose enormous quantities of money. 

    A 2 Million-Pound Mistake
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service recently forced one of the largest food distributors in the country, Kraft Heinz Food Company, to recall more than 2 million pounds of turkey bacon because of inaccurate labeling. Now, while many of the headlines of late have been directed at issues that involve misleading the public or misbranding items, such as when ingredients - notably those that are known allergens - are not listed on labels, this situation is a bit different. 

    According to the FSIS, this firm botched the sell-by date on packages of several different products ranging from 36 ounces to 56 ounces in weight. Investigators felt as though this was a Class II Recall, which comes with fewer health risks but is still enough to warrant both the rescinding of the products from the shelves and the communication of the problem to the general public. 

    The FSIS feared that the items might go bad before the date listed given a slight inaccuracy, while the firm now faces a significant challenge given the fact that the products were manufactured over such a long period of time - between the end of May and beginning of August. What's more, 2 million pounds of turkey bacon lost is a monstrous figure to have to deal with, as the company will not simply be able to bring the items back into the warehouse, relabel them then sell them again. 

    Getting It Right
    There is no doubt that marketing departments have to do a ton of work to get their labels to stand out on the shelves and boost purchases, but companies cannot believe that this is the only matter in need of attention. Rather, quality control that specifically focuses on the accuracy of labels - regardless of what type of product they might be describing - needs to be the highest priority among firms in the food industry. 

    Investing more in a team or service that will handle quality control can save companies from significant financial losses and damaged reputations among their current and prospective clientele. 

  • Use Custom Labels and Stickers to Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    Use Custom Labels and Stickers to Support Breast Cancer Awareness MonthRaise Awareness of Breast Cancer with Custom Labels

    October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual initiative intended to raise awareness of not only the disease itself, but also methods of early breast cancer detection that could ultimately help save the lives of those affected. As you plan for a sponsored walk or run, prepare for a bake sale or get ready for another function in observance of this time of year, don't forget that custom labels are an inexpensive and effective way of getting the word out. In fact, you can use customized labels for everything from making sure people know pertinent details about an upcoming event to sharing facts and useful resources related to breast cancer. Speaking of facts, according to a statistic from the American Cancer Society cited by Early Detection Plan, the five-year relative survival rate of breast cancer in the localized stage is 100 percent when the disease is detected early. Including a hard-hitting piece of information like that on stickers and labels could be just the thing to give people a push to get examined.

    Think Pink with Custom Stickers

    For many people, the breast cancer awareness and support movements are inextricably linked to a particular shade of pink, so it's important to be able to replicate that color on any custom stickers produced as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Failure to do so may discredit the associated materials, ultimately damaging outreach strategies and potentially scuppering attempts to supplement people's knowledge of the disease. With this in mind, it's critical to ensure custom labels and stickers feature the pink hue associated with the cause.

    Get Durable, Eye-Catching, Vivid Customized Stickers Through Lightning Labels

    At Lightning Labels, we understand that when members of our client base order customized stickers, everything needs to be exactly how they pictured it - or, even better, to exceed their expectations. Our wide color palette, high-quality printing technology and diverse range of label materials, laminates and finishes will ensure that customers eager to make a real impact this Breast Cancer Awareness Month have everything they need to do so. A cause as important as getting the word out about breast cancer detection shouldn't be compromised by low-quality stickers and labels, and Lightning Labels is committed to providing bright, robust, attention-grabbing labels that maximize efforts to raise awareness this October.

  • Lessons from the Headlines: Do Not Mislead Customers with Labels

    Bottom Marks
    Over the past few months, there have been relatively constant reminders that mislabeling food products will land a brand in hot water in the form of recalls demanded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration. Increased public outrage regarding misrepresented products - largely the result of expanding food allergies and plenty of communications tools to get the word out about subpar business practices - is fueling regulator activity with respect to investigations and penalties. 

    In many ways, a lack of accuracy and consistency in labeling strategies can hurt a company from several different angles, including the immense costs of a recall, the fines associated with being found to have misled the public and the damage to brand reputation that can last for years. However, all these issues are highly avoidable, as companies can leverage custom labels and quality control measures to ensure that every ingredient is listed properly and negligence is mitigated. 

    Because it only takes a matter of minutes for a major faux pas to be well known by virtually everyone on social media, the time to iron out labeling policies is now, especially for food producers and similar businesses. The FDA is at it again with one popular company for its lack of accuracy - and potentially intentional misleading of customers - in the labeling of the products from which it sees the greatest revenue generation.

    Mayo Fail
    Fast Company recently reported that burgeoning mayonnaise giant Hampton Creek, based out of San Francisco, has been targeted by an FDA investigation because it might be including eggs in what is marketed as a vegan condiment. Although the company's advertising department appears to be bearing the brunt of this particular dilemma, the labels on the packaging have been called into question for the product, named Just Mayo.

    According to the news provider, the label actually has a picture of an egg in clear view to show that the mayonnaise does not use this product, and somewhat humorously, the FDA also believes that the product should not be called mayonnaise if there were no eggs among its ingredients. So, this is not just a matter of a simple mistake or even a cut-and-dry issue that can be quelled with a little adjustment to the label, as the product's name itself has been called into question. 

    "The name 'Just Mayo' and an image of an egg are prominently featured on the labels for these products," the FDA explained, according to Fast Company. "The term 'mayo' has long been used and understood as shorthand or slang for mayonnaise. The use of the term 'mayo' in the product names and the image of an egg may be misleading to consumers because it may lead them to believe that the products are the standardized food, mayonnaise, which must contain eggs."

    Furthermore, the source noted that this is a somewhat widespread problem, in that companies which offer alternative options to popular foods will need to be increasingly careful about how they label their products in the coming years. 

    More Problems
    Raw Story, discussing the same topic, recently explained how the FDA is concerned about several other components of this particular company's labeling of its mayonnaise - or alleged mayonnaise - products. 

    "Your Just Mayo and Just Mayo Sriracha products are misbranded ... because the labeling for these products bears nutrient content claims, but the products do not meet the requirements to make such claims," the FDA wrote in a letter to Hampton Creek founder Joshua Tetrick, as quoted by Raw Story. "The use of the term 'Just' together with 'Mayo' reinforces the impression that the products are real mayonnaise by suggesting that they are 'all mayonnaise' or 'nothing but' mayonnaise."

    Business leaders must recognize their responsibility to ensure and uphold label accuracy to avoid these issues. 

  • Ensure High-Quality Political Labels and Stickers with Lightning Labels

    Ensure High-Quality Political Labels and Stickers with Lightning LabelsGet Political Stickers Ready Sooner Rather Than Later

    Despite the fact that the next presidential election is still more than a year away and the first state primaries and caucuses won't take place until February, campaigning is in full force, with political stickers and other material already being snapped up by supporters eager to declare their allegiance to a particular candidate even at this early stage. This represents an important lesson for individuals involved in smaller elections, from gubernatorial campaigns to bids to join the city council and even take local positions in a town or village. To put it simply, it's best to be prepared for campaigning sooner rather than later, as the path to the White House - or the governor's office, or a chair on the council - is longer than candidates might think.

    Use Custom Labels to Give Campaigns an Edge

    Human beings love to align themselves with causes, candidates, movements and the like. Custom labels are a great way to stoke the "us vs. them" mentality, simultaneously making people feel they are part of something and getting the word out about whatever it is they're supporting - in this case, a political candidate. Of course, there are some instances in which custom labels can actually have a negative impact rather than a positive one. For example, if political labels are low-quality, this could reflect poorly on the candidate, leading people to infer that quality is not a priority for him or her, or simply to think that the candidate is too cheap to invest in labels that are bright, durable, readable and eye-catching.

    High-Quality Printing for a High-Quality Candidate

    A political figure eager to maintain existing supporters' commitment and attract new advocates at the same time will want to make sure to turn to a company able to deliver high-quality printing that sends a positive message about who the candidate is and what he or she stands for. Lightning Labels is a compelling choice for these individuals, as our state-of-the-art United States-based facility has the cutting-edge technology needed to print a wide range of vivid colors, reproduce images and integrate text of all sizes onto stickers and labels. For stickers likely to be exposed to the elements (window decals, for example), consider our cost-effective and durable BOPP labels, which are available in white, chrome or clear and can be ordered with a removable adhesive to ensure they don't leave unsightly residue behind. For a candidate with an environmental platform, our Kraft or EarthFirst PLA labels are the perfect way to tie promotional materials into the campaign.

  • Prepare for Oktoberfest with High-Quality Custom Beer Labels

    Prepare for Oktoberfest with High-Quality Custom Beer LabelsCelebrate Oktoberfest with Custom Beer Labels

    Since its humble beginnings in Germany in the 1800s, Oktoberfest has grown to become a festival celebrated across the globe, which makes this time of year perfect for brewers based in the United States to start thinking about producing custom beer labels for the event. But first, some statistics. According to its website, the original Oktoberfest, which is held in the Theresienwiese area of Munich every year, is the world's largest folk festival. Figures provided by Oktoberfest Tours revealed that the 2014 event attracted approximately 6.3 million visitors who downed an impressive 6.4 million liters (1.7 million gallons) of beer between them. The all-time record of 6.4 million guests and 7.7 million liters (more than 2 million gallons) of beer was set in 2013. This year's festival, the 182nd of its kind, is set to kick off on September 19 and draws to a close on October 4. As the Oktoberfest website explained, the mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, will tap the first keg of beer at the opening ceremony, and for the next two weeks, attendees will enjoy taking a spin on the rides at the fairground, browsing through the stalls of merchandise in the various halls and tents spread across Theresienwiese, sampling the vast array of local cuisine, listening - and maybe even dancing - to traditional German music and, of course, celebrating the main attraction: beer.

    Get A Taste of Oktoberfest with Custom Bottle Labels

    Many would-be revelers are unable to get to Munich to experience the festival in person, but that doesn't mean they have to be left out in the cold. With custom bottle labels, companies that brew and sell beer can help customers feel as if they're in Theresienwiese. It's also helpful to know that a number of municipalities across the U.S. hold their own Oktoberfest celebrations. Last year, USA Today listed some of the best, including:

    • Leavenworth Oktoberfest (Leavenworth, Washington)
    • Oktoberfest by the Bay (San Francisco)
    • Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (Cincinnati)
    • Wurstfest (New Braunfels, Texas)

    Whether beer makers are planning to sell their wares at festivals like the ones listed above or simply looking for a way to pique grocery store shoppers' interest as these individuals wander down the aisles, using bottle labels from Lightning Labels is a great way to help beverage products stand out.

    Why Choose Beer Bottle Labels from Lightning Labels?

    Beer bottle labels need to be able to stand up to the heat of an Indian summer and the cold of an ice bucket or cooler, so material quality is imperative. With Lightning Labels, soggy, illegible labels won't be a problem. Our high-resolution, quality custom labels come with crisp, vibrant colors and small yet easy-to-read type, meaning your logo and other design features will be front and center but customers can still find any and all the nutritional and ingredient information they need - and that companies are required to include by law.

  • Get Ready for National Honey Month

    Get Ready for National Honey MonthRevamp Jar Labels in Honor of National Honey Month

    September is a banner month for a number of different industries and causes. According to Holiday Insights, the ninth month of the year is a time to safeguard the youngest members of the population (Baby Safety Month), cheer on those who are growing up way too fast (Little League Month), have some fun on the dance floor (International Square Dancing Month) and become better people (Self Improvement Month). It's also National Honey Month, which is a great thing for honey-makers to showcase on their jar labels.

    What's the Buzz About Honey? Offer Insight Using Food Labels

    Beyond the (admittedly very cool) fact that honey comes from nectar and is produced by bees, most people don't know a lot about this humectant, so why not include some information about the product on food labels? First question: What's a humectant? As the National Honey Board's Honey.com website explained, humectants are compounds that not only minimize moisture loss but actively attract moisture as well. To put it another way, honey isn't only great for sweetening tea or spreading on toast - it's also a powerful beauty ingredient that makes skin glow. What's more, its soothing properties make it an effective remedy for coughs and sore throats.

    Use Honey Jar Labels to Highlight Product Varietals

    Did you know there are more than 300 varieties of honey available in the United States? Honey-makers that offer multiple types should be sure to indicate which is which on their honey jar labels. According to the National Honey Board, you can tell some kinds apart from their color: Light-colored honeys tend to have a mild flavor, while their darker equivalents have a stronger taste. The varietals are made using nectar sourced from a range of flowers and plants, including avocado blossoms, eucalyptus, sage and tulip poplar. Many have different applications - for instance, Sourwood honey makes a mean glaze, while you can often find orange blossom honey in baked goods like cookies and cakes.

    Warning: Crystallization! Include Storage Instructions on Honey Labels

    Honey is best stored at room temperature. As the National Honey Board explained, putting it in the fridge speeds up the crystallization process. While crystallization doesn't lead to spoilage or indicate low quality, nobody wants to eat crunchy honey. Consumers can avoid crystallization by storing honey in a pantry or simply leaving it out on the countertop, but they may not necessarily know that they need to do so, which is where honey labels come in. As well as detailing information about the product's manufacturer, its varietal, its nutritional benefits and the like, labels on containers of honey should also include storage instructions and advice about what to do if the honey crystallizes (heat up the jar until the crystals dissolve). Crystallization is a harmless, reversible process, but consumers who don't know what it is may end up throwing away perfectly good honey - and denying themselves the associated health and beauty benefits in the process.

  • Get Ready for Baby Safety Month with Hazard Labels

    Get Ready for Baby Safety Month with Hazard LabelsUpgrade Hazard Labels for Baby Safety Month

    As September approaches, manufacturers and retailers will likely be updating and checking the hazard labels on products, while consumers should be paying particularly close attention to the warning messages on their purchases. Why? According to Holiday Insights, as well as being a time to become a better person (National Courtesy Month and Self Improvement Month), enjoy favorite foods (Chicken Month, Honey Month) and celebrate passions (Classical Music Month, National Piano Month), September is also Baby Safety Month. Every Baby Safety Month has a particular theme, and this year, it's A Room with A Safe View. Even the most eagle-eyed of babyproofers may overlook a household element that seems completely benign to them but could prove dangerous or even fatal to an infant. With this in mind, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association is working to protect babies against the hidden hazards lurking in the home, according to its Baby Safety Zone website.

    Use Safety Labels to Highlight Dangers Hiding in Plain Sight

    There are some babyproofing basics that are no-brainers - covering electrical outlets to keep tiny fingers away, padding hard surfaces and sharp edges, moving low-to-the-ground storage receptacles or ornamentation to safer heights and installing locks on ground-level cabinets and other things that can't be moved. Of course, if you can't recognize that something poses a danger, you won't take steps to neutralize it, which is where safety labels and the Baby Safety Month campaign come in.

    2 Products That Should Definitely Include Baby Labels

    The JPMA listed 10 hazards that can be tricky to identify on your own, including batteries, hot mugs, loose change, magnets and pot handles sticking out from the stove. We took a closer look at two of the risks and detailed how baby labels can help alleviate danger:

    1. Detergent pods: Bright? Check. Packaged in something that resembles plastic? Check. Looks like the contents might taste delicious? Check. Candy? Far from it. Citing a statistic from the American Association of Poison Control Centers, Consumer Reports Magazine reported that poison control centers across the country received more than 6,000 reports pertaining to young children and detergent pods in the first six months of 2015. The detergent contained within the pods can cause harm if it comes in contact with the skin or eyes - and when it's inhaled or ingested, the consequences can be fatal. How can labels help? Laundry product packaging should clearly state the dangers of detergent pods - and given the fact that detergent and water can compromise the legibility of warning messages, using durable, waterproof labels is advised.
    2. Cords and wires: In many ways, cords and wires run our lives. Without them, we wouldn't be able to charge our laptops and mobile devices, watch TV, play video games, keep food cool and warm it up later. However, if they're not properly secured, they can also take lives - young lives, at that - as they are a major choking hazard. Yes, even the fabric cords you use to draw your curtains can become a dangerous weapon if left within reach of a baby. How can labels help? Many products come with cords and wires, but even if these only compose a small part of the item, the associated dangers still need to be highlighted via packaging. When parents buy a new appliance or install a new set of blinds, the risk that wires and cords pose to their young children may not be top of mind, and it's up to warning labels to draw their attention to the issue.

    September is here, but it's not too late to prepare for Baby Safety Month. Lightning Labels typically turns around product orders in 48 to 72 hours following proof approval.

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