Monthly Archives: December 2015

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    Study Suggests Serving Size is Major Factor on Food Labels

    Redesigning Nutrition Labels For More Transparency
    The details included on product labels play a significant role in the purchasing decisions of consumers, especially when the information pertains to their health.

    An increasing number of customers have demanded more transparency and stricter regulations on food labels. And industry leaders are taking note.

    Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed making it mandatory for companies to include the percent daily value of added sugar on the labeling of food products. This proposal was an extension of the one made in March 2014, suggesting an overhaul of the Nutrition Facts label to make calorie and fat content information more noticeable.

    Another change the agency outlined in its proposed changes was to amend serving size requirements to better reflect the eating habits of people today. The organization stated that it believes these serving sizes should be representative of how consumers actually eat, instead of what it is recommended.

    German Researchers Reveal Serving Size Influences Consumers
    Now, there might be even more reason for regulators to take this suggested change to label requirements into consideration.

    The Daily Meal reported that a new study published in the Journal of the Association of Consumer Research,{citation wording a bit close to the source's found that the smaller the serving size listed on a label is, the more of it the consumer will buy.

    As the article explained, people often skim over nutrition labels to see how many grams of sugar or sodium the item contains. If the numbers are relatively low, they assume it is healthy and are more likely to buy it.

    "Smaller recommended serving sizes will let all nutrition values on the label appear smaller too, independent of the product's actual nutritional composition," Dr. Ossama Elshiewy, one of the German researchers who authored the study, explained to Cornell University Food and Brand Lab.

    Because the consumers tend to disregard the serving size the nutritional values represent, they are misled into believing the item is healthier than it actually is. They may also compare it to the label of another brand of the product. This is a problem, Elshiewy added, because "people are comparing calorie information that is not comparable."

    If the redesign of Nutrition Facts label is accepted, consumers can expect to see the numbers of calories, added sugar and serving sizes more prominently placed on the label.

  • December is National Fruitcake Month

    December is National Fruitcake Month

    Use Custom Labels to Spruce up Fruitcakes

    Does anything say "the holiday season" quite like fruitcake? Although it might appear to be somewhat of a cliche, it is a cliche for a reason, as individuals have shared fruitcakes during the holidays for decades, making it a delicious tradition of sorts. As such, December is National Fruitcake Month.

    If you manufacture or sell fruitcakes, as well as other items that are popular this time of year, consider leveraging custom holiday stickers to put a festive spin on your cakes, cookies, candies and more, as this will help your products pop off the shelves.

    Food labels will also need to be designed with care, as they must include all of the required information related to ingredients, allergens and other matters regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, custom food labels will make it easier to balance informative content on your stickers and product packaging with the imagery consumers respond to best in December.

    Customized Holiday Stickers Bring the Joy

    You do not necessarily need to take a cut-and-dried approach to the designs on your holiday labels. Doing so would actually not serve your business well, as so many other manufacturers and sellers of fruitcakes and holiday foods will be doing the same thing. Rather, you should work to conceptualize designs that are simultaneously reflective of the holidays this month, but defy the ordinary just enough to stand out from the crowd on the shelves and in the eyes of customers.

    One of the best ways to do this is to focus on the brand mission, voice and values. Your messaging is likely unique in some ways, and identifying the core differentiators of your business, then using them as the foundation for these custom food label designs, will help to drive your revenue higher. Additionally, working with marketing and quality assurance teams to make sure all of the required aspects of labeling are handled properly and accurately, while still putting a festive spin on the packaging, will protect your company from risks.

    Regardless of which types of products you sell, this can be a great time of year to freshen up the brand initiatives, as the new year is right around the corner.

    Maintaining Safety

    Custom food service safety labels are recommended for companies that produce items with common allergens, as the worst outcome possible would be ruining a holiday party due to undisclosed ingredients. Thanks to the customization aspect of these labels, though, it does not need to be a dreary endeavor, nor one that evokes concern in the eyes of your customers.

    To ensure the designs are properly, accurately and efficiently printed, consider leveraging the services of a reliable provider such as Lightning Labels. This firm can handle all holiday-related custom label printing needs in a hurry, and is a great partner to have throughout the year thanks to its expansive services and commitment to excellence.

  • Custom Durable Labels – the Best Way to Combat Harsh Winter Conditions

    Custom Durable Labels – the Best Way to Combat Harsh Winter Conditions

    Custom Durable Labels Help Prepare Your Business for the Cold and Snow

    Winter weather can be extremely disruptive when it comes to product manufacturing, distribution, transport, sales and more, as many businesses have learned the hard way throughout the past several years. However, regardless of how much precipitation falls this winter, or how extreme the cold becomes, you can ensure that your product packaging remains resilient in the face of harsh elements through the use of customized durable labels made from tougher materials.

    For example, durable vinyl labels tend to be far better-suited to outdoor applications and tough conditions, both in terms of when the products are being distributed and when they eventually make it to their final destination at a customer's abode. Do not allow your marketing and product management strategies to be defied by the winter weather - get on board with weather-proof labels and protect these important aspects of your company's image more successfully today.

    Custom Weather Resistant Labels

    Some products will necessitate weather-proof labels more than others, and they will tend to be a bit obvious. When a manufacturer is selling outdoor goods, even to warm-weather climate regions, they will want the brand mark to remain on the item throughout the windy and rainy days. Especially if the products are targeted at customers who are living in the northern parts of the country, where this winter is expected to be exceedingly snowy due to El Nino, the labels will need to be a bit more durable.

    Weather resistant labels will achieve this goal, and can be a great way to differentiate your products from those of competitors, especially around this time of year. When so much work and time has been put into the development and positioning of goods, it would be a shame to skimp on the labels and, as a result, not see the same success within revenues over time.

    In the coming weeks, you will have an opportunity to design weather resistant labels and get them printed and, as the cliché goes, the early bird will get the worm.

    Custom Durable Labels

    Just because you are using stronger materials does not mean that you will not be able to customize the labels in accordance with your unique brand messaging, objectives and needs. Rather, Lightning Labels provides the option to customize durable labels and ensure that they are both resilient to harsher weather conditions and still aligned with the voice and mission of the company.

    Because the winter has already set in across much of the nation, the time is now to get moving on these strategies and initiatives. Remember, custom durable labels present a different pallet to marketers and product managers, meaning it might take some time to land on the right designs. However, once these professionals have completed the work, you can reach out to Lightning Labels for exceptional turn-around times on orders, as well as accurate printing of all the designs desired regardless of which materials are in use.

  • How Custom Labels Can Make Christmas More Affordable

    Custom labels can help make holiday shopping more affordable.

    Using Custom Labels to Manage Holiday Spending

    With Christmas quickly approaching, people are beginning to scramble to finish their holiday shopping and think of last minute gift ideas. This time of year can be both stressful and expensive.

    The National Retail Federation recently reported that consumers plan to spend around $800 on items related to the holidays.That's a lot of money, especially for those on a tight budget.

    Furthermore, sometimes people spend a considerable amount of money on presents, even when they aren't entirely sure they are purchasing the right items that their family or loved one will be pleased to receive. This alone can cause unneeded worry.

    Retail Me Not revealed that 64 percent of consumers consider the cost of purchasing gifts to be the main stressor of the holiday season. And it's not just purchasing these goods that can be problematic for people; it's overwhelming even picking them out. The source also found that at least 41 percent of shoppers worry about finding the appropriate gift, Fountain of 30 noted.

    Everyone has certain people that seem to be particularly difficult to shop for. A poll conducted by Catalina Marketing found that people are becoming more selective about what items they want to receive and that shopping for a person known to be fickle can result in the shopper feeling discouraged and opting for a slightly impersonal or generic present, such as a gift certificate or cash.

    Fortunately, there are ways to nail the season of giving without breaking the bank or stressing yourself out.

    Versatile Labeling Options If you can't find what you're looking for, why not create it yourself? Custom labels have the power to transform a bland gift into a personalized present, without looking like an amateur craft project.

    Tailor-made labels allow consumers to take a product, such as a bottle of wine, or create one themselves, such as homemade jelly or baked goods, and add a personal touch. The labels used for food items can be customized to include important information, such as recipes, ingredient lists and nutrition facts on the product labels.

    Between all the holiday parties and gift exchanges, you may be facing the need to produce more goods than you have ideas. Custom product labels make creative production easy.

    These types of labels allow gift-givers the leverage of optimizing generic holiday party offerings, such as a case of beer or bottles of wine, with engaging and unique aesthetics. In addition to virtually unlimited styling and print options, people can also order them by the batch to make checking presents off the list that much easier.

  • How to Interpret Food Label Expiration Dates

    Misinterpreting expiration labels could be contributing to food waste in America.

    Clarifying Expiration Labels May Reduce Food Waste Given the amount of food-related illness outbreaks this year, it's no surprise many consumers are especially cautious about checking the expiration dates listed on food labels.

    Most consumers are becoming more attentive to the foods they eat, not just because they fear food-borne sickness, but also because they want to lead a healthy life, which means purchasing "real," whole foods. However, usually these fresh vegetables and produce have shorter shelf-lives. If a consumer suspects a product has exceed its expiration date, naturally, he throws it away.

    Frivolous Food Wasting Unfortunately, this doesn't help the existing issue of food waste in our country. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 30 to 40 percent of all food, a total worth of about $161 billion, is wasted every year. Of course, not all of this percentage can be definitively blamed on domestic households, but research has indicated we may be contributing to it.

    The Food Marketing Institute recently conducted a survey that revealed nearly 50 percent of consumers who see a product has reached or surpassed the sell-by or best-by date will most likely dispose of it, The Wall Street Journal's Anne Chaker noted.

    Better safe than sorry, right?

    While it is wise to be careful what we consume, which includes trying to avoid food contamination, our misinterpretation of these labels may result in unnecessary levels of food waste.

    When it comes to understanding these labels, Americans are generally missing the point, Natural Resources Defense Council Scientist Dana Gunders suggested to Chaker.

    "The manufacturer is not trying to tell you to throw a product out at that date," she clarified.

    Real Meaning of Expiration Labels One of the most important things for consumers to understand, Gunders indicated, is that these expiration dates are not so much mandatory regulations for consumers as they are mere suggestions. Furthermore, they aren't there to indicate the safety of a food product past a certain date, but rather the quality of it.

    Gunders highlighted the three common expiration terms used on food product labels: sell-by, use-by and best-before. The sell-by date, the source explained, is used more as a form of communication between manufacturers and stores so retailers have a reference point that allows them to manage inventory and sell food at peak quality.

    It is the best-by label that is aimed directly at the customer, but only as a manufacturer recommendation, Gunders explained. Many consumers fail to realize that this label is not indicating the food goes bad or that it automatically becomes unsafe to eat after that date. And this is where so much, perhaps too much, is left for individual interpretation.

    This is one issue The Food Recovery Act aims to alleviate. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree introduced the bill to Congress this week in an effort to reduce the amount of wasted food in America. The bill proposes that it should be required for manufacturers to include "Manufacturer's suggestion only" alongside the expiration-related date on food product labels.

    "Currently there are no federal laws regarding expiration dates," stated Pingree. "Manufacturers can go overboard with the dates they put on food and it can lead to consumers and retailers throwing out perfectly good food."

    Pingree explained that, since the amount of food wasted in America equates to approximately $125 per family of four, this bill could help not only save money, but feed families as well.

    "The Food Recovery Act takes a comprehensive approach to reducing the amount of food that ends up in landfills and at the same time reducing the number of Americans who have a hard time putting food on the table," she also said.

    Fear of Food Illness One of the most surprising aspects of expiration labels Gunders mentioned to Chaker is that, contrary to popular belief, it is not eating food past its suggested date that causes illnesses like food poisoning, salmonella or e coli. Most people get these sicknesses from bacterial contamination that takes effect on the farm, or in the beginning stages of production.

    Consumers are more likely to get sick from the improper handling of food or the growth of bacteria in food processing than they are because they eat food five days after its expiration date.

    According to Gunders, the best way for consumers to avoid food-related illnesses and reduce waste is to simply follow their own senses. If it has an unusual odor or tastes strange, throw it away. But don't solely rely on the expiration date of the product label to guide you.

  • Making Waves this New Year's Eve

    Making Waves this New Year's Eve

    Personalize New Year's Celebrations

    The time of the year for celebration has arrived, and individuals and businesses from across the country are likely ironing out the details of their plans to ring in 2016 in fun and unique ways. If you manufacture or distribute products that are popular for New Year's festivities, including wine and champagne, you might want to consider the merits of customizing your labels for these items to ensure that they fly off the shelves at the end of December.

    Personalization has been a key to success for businesses of all types in the past few years, and one of the best ways to keep these strategies fresh is to align custom labels with specific events or campaigns, in this case those related to New Year's. With custom wine labels, you will be sure to please the average consumer and become a part of their celebration, thus boosting the brand's image in the eyes of current customers and building stature among prospects who are also in attendance at the parties.

    Custom Champagne Labels

    There is perhaps no beverage more popular on New Year's Eve than champagne, with many parties only having bottles of this decadent item available for patrons to enjoy. If you distribute or manufacture champagne in the United States, you can customize the wine bottle labels in accordance with the preferences of your target market. For example, if you want to recognize them right on the product packaging, customized wine labels that say "thank you" or some similar form of gratitude will do just that.

    You could also take a more extreme angle on these processes, personalizing the wine bottles for individual customers, especially if they have been loyal to your brand for long periods of time. This could include putting their names on the bottles or allowing them to order the product and make their own decision as to how it will be personalized. Either one of these methodologies will likely improve the relationship between you and your customers, all the while showing the merits of becoming a loyal client among your prospects.

    Above all else, though, make sure the designs are festive and not boring, as they need to pop to have these desirable impacts.

    Use the Right Provider

    Custom labels, when not acquired from the right service provider, can be inaccurate, not aligned with the original design schemes or returned long after they are needed. However, once you get the ball rolling on your custom wine and champagne bottle packaging initiatives for the new year, you can use Lightning Labels, a leading vendor of personalized stickers, decals and labels, to ensure the projects are completed properly and in a timely fashion.

    Hitting the ground running in 2016 should be a priority for all brand managers this December, and unique, engaging and fresh customization efforts in product packaging can be just what the doctor ordered to do so.

  • National Poll Reveals Majority of People Prefer Print Labels Over Electronic

    New National Poll Suggests Majority of People Prefer Print GMO Labels Rather Than Electronic.

    GMA Introduces SmartLabel Technology as GMO Labeling Solution The United States Congress has faced a great deal of food industry-related controversy this year, especially pertaining to the labeling laws of products containing genetically modified ingredients.

    On one side of the GMO debate are groups of labeling supporters who believe labeling regulations should operate in a way that reflects complete transparency, disclosure and honesty between producers and consumers, leaving no room for misinterpretation.

    On the other end of the spectrum are those who believe mandatory labeling should be prohibited, and GMO labeling should be an option left to the manufacturer's discretion.

    This week, the Grocery Manufacturers Association announced the SmartLabel Initiative, which, the group indicates, is a compromise solution.

    If passed, this technology would make it so Quick Response, better-known as QR codes, would be placed on product labels. Consumers would be able to access ingredient lists, product details and information by scanning the codes with their smartphones.

    "People want more information and are asking more questions about products they buy, use and consume, and SmartLabel puts detailed information right at their fingertips," GMA President and CEO Pamela Bailey said.

    But some argue these scannable codes would be the opposite of convenient and only add to, not solve, the problem of consumer confusion.

    Poll Suggests People Prefer Print GMO Labels Just Label It recently announced the results of a new national poll that was commissioned by a handful of environmental and food safety groups, including Consumer Union, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth and Center for Food and Safety.

    And the results don't look so good for the SmartLabel Initiative.

    The analysis report from The Mellman Group, which conducted phone interviews with 800 voters, revealed that most people, or 89 percent of participants, think it should be mandatory that genetically modified products are labeled as such.

    The poll results also showed that people have a strong opinion about what type of label should be used, with 88 percent of voters saying they would prefer printed rather than electronic labels. There are various reasons for this, including privacy and discrimination concerns. Many indicated they would be uncomfortable with the level of personal information electronic labels would provide companies with, such as purchasing behavior and location, with 82 percent voting in favor of prohibiting this kind of data collection.

    Another anti-QR code argument is that it favors the wealthy.

    "GMO labeling via QR code technology is unworkable, threatens privacy and is discriminatory since more than a third of Americans, many of which are low-income or live in rural areas with poor Internet access, don't own smartphones," said Friends of the Earth Food and Technology Program Director Lisa Archer in a statement to Just Label It.

    Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food and Safety, agreed. He stated that scannable labels would be "a completely unacceptable substitute for clear, concisely worded on package labeling."

    More than 30 major food companies have already joined and are in support of the SmartLabel Initiative, including Hershey Co., PepsiCo Inc. and General Mills, Agri-Plus Communications reported. The source also added that some of these companies believe that if GMO labels were mandatory, the labels would scare consumers into believing a product is unsafe, even if it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

  • December is Worldwide Food Service Safety Month

    December is Worldwide Food Service Safety Month

    Helping Food Service Industry Professionals

    Each December, an international awareness campaign seeks to ensure individuals in the food service industry are safe and successful. Worldwide Food Service Safety Month can be a great opportunity to launch more personalized product packaging and labeling strategies given the increased attention placed on the matters involved, especially for manufacturers, distributors and retailers in the industry.

    One of the best ways to strike the right chords with these endeavors is to leverage food labels that at once bring attention to Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, include all of the proper information on the packages and align the brand with the campaign. Manufacturers and others will be better off using custom food labels for these particular projects, as the information will need to pop off the package and include a range of special components to recognize this month's big event.

    Customized Food Labels

    Personalization has been a central theme across marketing and product placement strategies for several years now, as companies of all types work to ensure that their brand image is properly crafted and executed at all times. Given the transformations that have taken place in the consumer landscape, customization might be the only way to truly retain loyal clientele while simultaneously converting new prospects in a profitable and progressive fashion.

    When campaigns such as Worldwide Food Service Safety Month arise, the opportunity to put a different spin on custom labels will be more prevalent, and December is among the best times to make a major push in the brand management arena. With custom food service safety labels included on all the products that are being distributed and sold this month, your company can make waves in several areas, including among your restaurant clientele and consumers themselves.

    The fact remains that the most creative and responsible food manufacturers and sellers will tend to be the most powerful and successful today, and grabbing any opportunity to align the brand with these core requirements of the industry is essential to enjoying the highest possible returns on investment. Focusing on creative, unique designs for the labels while still getting the word out about food service safety will be a great step in the right direction for industry players going into the new year.

    Execution is Key

    Creative departments and marketing professionals will need to play a major role in the development of the custom labels for this campaign, while quality assurance must be involved to ensure that all of the information is accurate on the stickers, decals and other items included on the product packages. Then, you will need to execute the plan properly by getting the labels printed in a timely and accurate fashion.

    Lightning Labels can provide some of the fastest turnaround times on these orders while maintaining high-quality printing, making the company a helpful support for any business operating in the food industry.

  • WTO Claims US 'Dolphin-Safe' Labeling Program Restricts Trade

    WTO rules against U.S. in 'dolphin-safe' tuna labeling dispute.

    WTO Declares U.S. Tuna Labeling Regulations 'Unfair' to Mexico For years, Mexico and the United States have been in a trade dispute pertaining to fishing industry trade regulations.

    Last week, The Associated Press announced the World Trade Organization ruled against the U.S. in the U.S.'s use of dolphin-safe tuna labels.

    The AP explained that the WTO reviewed a dispute settlement first made by Mexico in 2009, which argued that the U.S. trade label regulations were unfair to fishermen, restricted trade and violated international trade agreements.

    According to the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act, established in 1990, the U.S. is banned from importing tuna that was caught using unsafe practices, including harming or injuring any dolphins in the process. Unless these standards are met, the U.S. prohibits tuna products from being sold with a "dolphin-safe" label.

    Tuna Label Regulations Create International Trade Restrictions Many animal advocates and marine protection organizations are not happy with the WTO ruling.

    Following the WTO announcement, llana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club's Responsible Trade Program, released a statement revealing that the "dolphin-safe" label can be attributed to the decrease of nearly all dolphin deaths caused by tuna fishing. The Sierra Club's press release also noted that this is the fourth time in the last four years that the organization has ruled against the U.S. label.

    "Americans want to know that the food they purchase and serve to their families does not come at the expense of wildlife," Solomon said. "Today's WTO decision limits environmentally friendly choices for Americans, puts dolphins at risk and opens the door to further trade deal limits on consumer protections and environmental safeguards."

    Solomon also added that this decision indicates a major issue with international trade deals that could create potential harm for marine life.

  • Preparing for New Year Weight Loss Resolutions

    Preparing for New Year Weight Loss Resolutions

    Nutraceutical Manufacturers are Up

    The new year is coming quickly, and this means a fresh round of major resolutions that will often include matters related to weight loss. Manufacturers of nutraceutical products and other healthy items will have a great opportunity to get the word out about their brands with the help of some fresh marketing and product packaging schemes. For example, nutraceutical labels can be used to ensure that individuals in stores understand the merits of the items for their weight loss goals.

    Although the busiest shopping days of the year are now behind the retail sector, the coming weeks will still be highly opportunity-rich given the continued traffic most stores see through the end of the year. What's more, as soon as the new year hits, returns and new purchases - including those related to resolutions and weight loss goals for 2016 - will kick into high gear. Custom labels for nutraceutical products can be just what the doctor ordered to get profits moving in the right direction.

    Customized Labels

    As most manufacturers and retailers involved in the industry know already, the market is highly saturated given the immense rises in demand for healthy products and services. This can make it exceedingly difficult to separate the image of one brand from the other, while the giants in the field tend to grasp at the majority of the market share year in and year out thanks to plenty of recognition among consumers across the nation and around the globe.

    However, when companies begin to use customized weight loss product labels and put solid effort into the design and execution of the plans, they can indeed ensure that their items will stand out from the crowd and make waves among prospects and current customers. Because of the nature of this particular industry subset, nutraceutical manufacturers will want to ensure that their labels are professional, creative and informative, as likely buyers of the products will want plenty of information related to the benefits and contents therein.

    This can be achieved through the use of custom labels, stickers and decals that put the entirety of creative control in the hands of a given company's marketing, quality assurance and product positioning staff members.

    Get Moving Soon

    With only a few weeks left in 2015, the time to launch these initiatives is now. Companies that wait too long to deploy these new year-themed weight loss product packaging labels might miss the boat and have to wait another 12 months to get the job done. Considering the fact that all firms need to hit the ground running in January for solid profit performances in 2016, leaders will need to identify a labeling service provider that can give quick turnaround times on orders.

    Lightning Labels is one of the industry's leading providers of these custom services, and can help nutraceutical firms strike the right chords in their product packaging and marketing programs for 2016.

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