Monthly Archives: January 2016

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    Study Indicates Front-of-Pack Labels Have Little Nutritional Relevance

    Front-of-pack labels are not a good representation of actual nutritional value of food products.

    Labels on Front of Food Packaging May Be Misleading There has been a lot of recent debate concerning what should be included on the labels of food products. For example, how much, or rather how little, detail should be offered to consumers? What requirements should a company have to meet before being allowed to make a certain health claim?

    It is important to many people that they can look at a label and easily find what they are looking for, whether that be the ingredients or amount of sugar an item contains or whether or not it was made using genetically modified organisms. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Even when these nutritional details are included on the product packaging, they can sometimes be deceptive, such as when the serving size has been strategically manipulated to present smaller values.

    Not all consumers turn to the nutrition facts label, often located on the side of packaging, to determine how healthy an item is. Some simply focus on the front of package, or FOP. However, recent research has indicated that the health claims made on this area of a food product may not be an accurate representation of its actual nutritional quality.

    Nutritional Value of Health Claims The Institute of Food Technologists conducted a study that was published in this month's issue of the Journal of Food Science which evaluated the FOP health labels of more than 2,200 food products. All the items are or had been on the market at some point throughout the past decade and included cereal and prepared meals products.

    In the research report, the authors said that "the results show that the FOP environment - the number and type of claims - are not good indicators of whether or not a food is healthy as defined by [the United States Food and Drug Administration]."

    The source also added that the findings indicated the regulations set by the FDA are limiting in the kind of comprehensive explanation these labels offer consumers about nutrition quality. Put simply, just because a packaged item claims it is healthy in huge letters across the label, that doesn't necessarily mean it is.

    However, although the researchers found that the claims made on front packaging don't offer a definite guarantee of nutritional value, the study did reveal that "certain types of FOP claims were significant predictors of higher or lower levels of key nutrients."

    Properly Understanding Food Labels Existing FDA guidelines recognize three main categories of FOP nutrition claims: health claims, nutrient content claims and structure/function claims.

    Terms such as organic, local and natural have become especially buzzworthy words over the past few years. According to Medical Xpress, these phrases are displayed on the front of packaging because they are classified under nutrient claims.

    A person may take notice of one of these words and assume it means the product is good for them. But, based on what the research study suggests, these FOP health claims are, essentially, just words. They don't actually reveal any concrete information about the nutritional value, which is what consumers should focus on if they are looking to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

    This is why, the Medical Xpress indicated, people should look to the Nutrition Facts panel, usually located on the side of the packaging, to get the real information they are looking for about how healthy a product is.

    As the food industry continues to examine and evaluate the influence certain aspects of product labeling have on consumer purchasing decisions, these findings could initiate a shift in what companies put on FOP labeling. It's possible that manufacturers will start including more nutritional values and fewer buzz-phrases that make vague claims open for interpretation.

  • Polar Bottle Case Study

    PolarCaseStudy

    CHALLENGE

    Polar Bottle® is tasked with creating customized labels and stickers that feature impeccable color-matching and fast turnarounds for organizations and companies engaged in private labeling worldwide. Its high-profile clients include the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), for whom Polar Bottle serves as an official licensee. With typically tight deadlines and strict budget parameters, there’s little room for “do-overs,” so Polar Bottle must do the job right the first time, and deliver it on time.

    SOLUTION

    Team up with Lightning Labels to handle high-quality custom label jobs —ensuring capacity to meet commitments for timely and cost-effective delivery. “We like their capabilities and equipment, the digitally produced colors, and how inks hold on to material and don’t scrape off,” notes Ray Nessler, Polar Bottle Purchasing Manager. This blends perfectly with Polar Bottle’s wide range of customization options for insulated bottles—which include promoting teams, businesses, brands, school groups, events, and expressing appreciation to clients, employees and other stakeholders. Plus, the expanded capability offered by Lightning Labels enables Polar Bottle to promote a wide variety of custom stickers in addition to labels, creating a “tangible connection” that can be used across a wide band of branding. Polar Bottle’s dedication to “lightning-fast turnaround times and practically non-existent minimums” blends seamlessly into Lightning Labels’ “prime directive” in place since the company’s founding in 2002.

    OUTCOMES

    Ray points out that, “Lightning Labels always follows through with what they promise regarding turnaround and quality of labels. They’re a class act. We tend to go to Lightning Labels for small-to-medium quantity custom jobs. We project that the relationship will grow as we grow.”

     

    PolarCaseStudy

    About Polar Bottle

    Robert Heiberger and Judy Amabile founded Product Architects, Inc. (Polar Bottle®) in 1994 in a garage in Boulder, Colorado. As avid cyclists and budding entrepreneurs, they wanted to develop a bottle unlike anything else on the market that would keep liquids cool during long rides. Robert, a mechanical engineer with experience working with heat loss in the field of medical technology design, adapted his expertise to create the insulated Polar Bottle water bottle. From there, he and Judy began making the reusable insulated water bottles by hand with plastics sourced from Denver. Today, Polar Bottle has more than 50 employees and markets to a worldwide marketplace.

    The company is proud of producing an American-made product that reduces environmental impact and supports local and national economies by providing employment to local workers. Products are assembled in, and shipped from, a warehouse in Boulder with parts sourced from the US.

    PolarCaseStudy

    About Lightning Labels

    Lightning Labels uses state-of-the-art printing technology to provide affordable, full-color custom labels and custom stickers of all shapes and sizes. From small orders for individuals to the bulk needs of big businesses, Lightning Labels is equipped to handle and fulfill custom label and sticker projects of all types. Best of all, like the name implies, Lightning Labels provides a quick turnaround for every customer's labeling needs. Whether it’s wine labels, food labels, bath and body labels, promotional labels—or any kind of colorful label/sticker that needs to be custom printed—Lightning Labels can get the job done.

    Lightning Labels strongly supports the use of environmentally-friendly printing materials and technologies.

    To learn more about Lightning Labels, visit www.lightninglabels.com, email info@lightninglabels.com, or call 1.800.544.6323 toll-free

  • Prepare Now for Valentine's Day

    Prepare Now for Valentine's DayLovers Deserve the Care

    Valentine's Day is one of the first major retail events of the year, and is an exceptionally advantageous time for any company that produces chocolates, sweets, greeting cards, flowers or anything else romantic. Married couples, individuals who are dating and even men and women in the courting process will try to show their love for their significant others, and you can help them do so with the right Valentine's Day gift labels.

    Custom stickers can help to completely change the packaging of your products at a relatively low cost, thus allowing you to put a Valentine's Day theme on the items without breaking the bank. Since stores will soon be filled with pink and purple heart-laden products, now is the time to get rolling on your customized stickers for Valentine's Day.

    Plenty of Possibilities

    Now, the aforementioned obvious examples of Valentine's Day fare are far from the only ones, as candy, flowers, greeting cards and the like are often complements to other, bigger items. For example, if you make soap or other similar products that tend to be a bit more popular when gifts are being exchanged, consider using custom stickers for these ones as well.

    For manufacturers and distributors of goods that are popular throughout the year and a bit more highly valued than candy, the use of custom labels will help to avoid situations in which the whole packaging needs to be changed after the second week of February. You can also take an even more unique approach to brand packaging for Valentine's Day, potentially offering personalized candles, soaps and other items to maximize the aesthetic value of the products.

    At the end of the day, try to focus on what drives your core customer base to purchases, and align your packaging and marketing with their preferences this February.

    No Time to Wait

    Because you will be contending with so many other manufacturers for the attention of Valentine's Day customers, you should get moving on your designing procedures now and allow some time for revisions. Once the custom labels have been ironed out and agreed upon, though, you can partner with Lightning Labels to ensure speedy completion of orders and accurate printing of the desired designs.

    With the right custom and personalized labels and stickers on your products, you can get a healthy revenue boost this February 14.

  • Update Nutraceutical Labels for the New Year

    Update Nutraceutical Labels for the New YearCapitalize on the Month of Resolutions

    New Year's resolutions will almost always be at a peak in January, especially in terms of how many individuals are actually keeping to their plans to be fitter, happier and more productive. If you manufacture, distribute or sell nutraceutical and supplement products, now would be an ideal time to get moving on fresh marketing and product packaging strategies, as you might not see another month as active as this one until the beginning of 2017.

    As many business leaders know, a major portion of the battle to maximize revenues in a given year relates back to capitalizing on opportunities caused by higher traffic, greater demand and more attention paid to the lines of products. With custom nutraceutical labels in place, you can ensure that you are aligning your brand image with the desires of consumers to be healthier in the new year.

    Considerations of Note

    First and foremost, you will need to make sure that your nutraceutical product labels adhere to the best practices of the industry. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate these labels, manufacturers need to take ownership of the accuracy of their labels to avoid major problems down the road, such as consumers not knowing what is contained within the product.

    However, stopping there would likely doom the marketing and product packaging strategy to a poor reception and limited effectiveness in the stores. This is why customized nutraceutical product labels can be so advantageous for your business, as you can balance the informative aspects of packaging with attempts to capture the attention of prospects and current clientele.

    Catchy designs that also convey a sense of healthy living will tend to be the most effective, considering the fact that most consumers interested in these products want to use them for wellness purposes.

    Setting up for Success

    The beginning of the year can be a difficult time for product-centric companies, as spending tends to contract following the holiday season. However, since resolutions have always been largely attached to health, nutraceutical firms are in a unique position to hit the ground running this year and set themselves up for profitable performances in the next 12 months.

    By leveraging a service provider like Lightning Labels that offers custom options and rapid order fulfillment, you can bolster the aesthetic value of your products in no time.

  • The Emergence of New Product Labeling Technology

    Digital watermarking codes may eventually replace traditional barcode labeling on product packaging.

    Digital Watermark Labels May Transform Traditional Barcodes Today, the inclusion of barcode labels on product packaging is a normal occurrence. These scannable stickers provide businesses across all industries with a way to significantly improve manufacturing and distribution operations, track and manage inventory faster and more accurately, and enable quicker transaction processing.

    Now, a new innovation is being introduced to the market that has the power to take global supply chain capabilities to a whole different level.

    The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Digimarc Corp., the manufacturer of invisible identifiers, is partnering with GS1 US to create digital watermarking codes that can be printed over the entirety of a product packaging, but can't be seen by the naked eye.

    This label technology utilizes image-based devices with specific software that allows a person to interact with the item without actually having to directly scan a barcode label, the source explained. To identify the product, the code just needs to be in the general vicinity, which will ultimately help increase operations and production processes.

    In its announcement, Digimarc indicated that the product identification will enhance engagement and build stronger relationships between retailers and consumers.

    The Digitalization of Product Packaging "A conventional package may have one bar code, or multiple bar codes in a high-volume retail environment," Bruce Davis, a Digimarc executive, told The Wall Street Journal. "So instead of having six bar codes ... you can have hundreds of bar codes on a package, all imperceptible to the consumer, and readily identified to the scanner."

    To put it simply, the advanced capabilities of these watermark labels would provide companies with larger amounts of information on each product. But this isn't the only advantage that differentiates them from traditional counterparts.

    Companies interested in using these digital codes on their products will have to be approved by GS1, the unit responsible for handling business registrations for UPC barcodes, the source said. Before now, registering global trade identification numbers, also known as GTINs or serial numbers, was not required. This caused a lack of consistency, which led to variations in item details as they traveled along supply chains.

    The Wall Street Journal added that this new system will provide business owners with better control and consistency throughout different channels. And it won't just benefit companies, either. Consumers will also be able to "scan product packaging through smartphones and look up the information originally registered by brand owners or manufacturers."

    However, it is unclear how soon this labeling technology will be adopted by mainstream markets since, as the source pointed out, there are a number of adjustments businesses will need to make to support the effective implementation of the digital watermark, including software and hardware updates and special scanner devices.

  • Elevate Your Business in 2016

    Elevate Your Business in 2016Custom Stickers Can Boost Your Brand

    Business leaders will always need to find ways to keep their respective brand images fresh, and the new year tends to be the best time of all to get moving on projects related to revised marketing strategies and approaches to customer engagement. When firms are product-focused, they can begin to leverage custom labels and stickers that reflect the company's new look and brand voice, and this can work wonders for revenues throughout the next 12 months.

    On the other hand, when product managers and marketers allow their practices and strategies to become stale, the chances of keeping customers and prospects interested in the business at large will be inherently lower. To ensure that 2016 is a profitable and successful year financially, the time is now to get moving on fresh custom stickers and labels that will bring your company into the new year with style.

    Customized Labels Soar

    Plenty of organizations will not put much effort into their product packaging, specifically in terms of the aesthetic aspect of the items, and this presents other firms with an opportunity to step outside of the box and differentiate their brands. Although the most important time of the year to stand out from the crowd is the holiday shopping season, putting the work in now to perfect custom packaging and product branding efforts will almost certainly bode well for end-of-year sales.

    Additionally, building a relationship with customers and prospects throughout the year will tend to stabilize corporate image and reputation, potentially leading to more consistent sales for all 12 months. Because there are so many manufacturers, retailers and other product-related companies out there, the importance of differentiation has never been greater than today, and customized labels might be the most straightforward method of making a change in this regard.

    Use the Right Service Provider

    Be it the accuracy of printing the designs or the speed with which orders can be completed and returned, marketers and product managers will likely need reliable performance from a trusted provider of custom label and stickers. Lightning Labels is an industry leader with respect to turnaround times, order fulfillment and accuracy of the designs on the customized labels and other items.

    Partner with Lightning Labels to get the most out of custom marketing efforts in 2016.

  • KIND Company Petitions for FDA to Amend 'Healthy' Labeling Laws

    Snack food company is petitioning to have FDA update its labeling laws.

    CEO Lubetzky Argues Label Regulations Are Outdated and Counterintuitive Just because a food product isn't labeled as healthy, doesn't mean it isn't good for you. At least that is what snack-bar company KIND, with help of nutrition and health experts, is arguing.

    In December 2015, KIND announced a citizen petition requesting the United States Food and Drug Administration amend labeling laws regarding its definition of "healthy."

    The company insists that the FDA's current guidelines, which were initially developed over 20 years ago, are outdated and fail to coincide with modern scientific findings.

    "Our goal is to highlight the importance of following a healthy diet that includes foods made with wholesome and nutrient-dense ingredients," KIND Founder and CEO Daniel Lubetzky said in the statement. "The current regulations were created with the best intentions when the available science supported dietary recommendations limiting total fat intake. However, current science tells us that the unsaturated fats in nutrient-dense foods like nuts, seeds and certain fish are beneficial to overall health."

    Regulations Unfair in Fat Content Requirements The idea that the FDA's guidelines are counterintuitive isn't too farfetched, especially considering recent reports have revealed a number of cases where labeling practices are having adverse affects rather than achieving what they're intended for, such as the study that found that the smaller a serving size is, the more of the food a person will eat.

    According to current FDA regulations, to be considered, and therefore labeled as, healthy, all food products, aside from meat and fish, must contain no more than 3 grams of total fat and no more than 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.

    In a recent interview conducted by Marc Gunther of The Guardian, Lubetzky argued that the existing regulations don't make any sense because consumers already know "that all fats are not created equal."

    The petition was initiated in response to the warning issued to KIND by the FDA in March 2015. The agency said that the health claims made on four of the company's bars, Fruit & Nut Almond & Apricot, Fruit & Nut Almond & Coconut, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein and Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants, violated industry laws.

    Lubetzky told the Gunther that he was bothered by previous media headlines indicating he was starting a fight with the FDA. After the warning, KIND complied and made the necessary changes, but Lubetzky now thinks the FDA needs to make some changes of its own, which is why he "respectfully" asked the organization to amend its labeling laws.

    Argument Against FDA Labeling Violations How effective the company will be in its efforts is hard to predict.

    Food policy expert and lawyer, Michele Simon, told Gunther that she agrees with the stance KIND is taking but thinks it would be more effective if it was a unified effort with more businesses across different industries.

    "FDA is unlikely to take action based on one company's request," she explained. "If they had teamed up with the rest of the nut industry, or the olive oil or avocado industry, they'd have had a better chance."

    In his article, Gunther also noted that Scott + Scott is representing two clients who have filed a law suit with the federal court claiming they purchased KIND bars "under the mistaken belief that these products were healthier" than other options. The plaintiffs are requesting a minimum of $5 million in damages due to "deceptive labeling, packaging and marketing."

    The company stands behinds its position of offering essential nutrients through ingredients such as nuts, whole grains and fruit. Its petition is currently being reviewed by the FDA.

  • January is National Hot Tea Month

    January is National Hot Tea MonthCelebrate Hot Tea Month with Custom Labels

    Is there anything quite as relaxing as a cup of hot tea at the end of a long day's work, or even before setting out to begin the weekday grind? Many Americans appear to think not, and January marks the annual National Hot Tea Month. If you manufacture or distribute hot tea, now is a great time to create high-quality custom labels for your products to engage current and prospective clientele and build a bit more loyalty for your brand.

    Tea labels, much like those that are placed on micro-brewed beers, will often be a major factor in consumer purchasing decisions, and the right designs can go a long way toward differentiating your products from those of competitors. custom labels are always a great tool to get the job done in this regard, and by using them for your hot tea products, you will be setting yourself up for success.

    Ride the Wave

    Any time there is a national event that is relevant to your products, you should view it as an opportunity to support your industry, reach more clientele and ride the wave of public awareness. Seeing as January is indeed a month in which tea lovers and manufacturers observe these products, you have a nice window to celebrate the event and ensure that you are reaching as many potential customers as possible to fuel your revenues.

    Tea product labels will often be pretty bare-bones, with little more than the name of the flavor and the ingredients contained within the product. This can work for simple in-store sales, but should not be viewed as a marketing and branding scheme. Rather, customized labels will allow you to take care of the basics such as the name of ingredients, but also add a bit of flair to the items for greater visibility on the shelves.

    Act Now

    January is nearing its end, and while individuals will surely be drinking tea come February and beyond, now is the best time to get moving on custom designed labels for your products. Because you will likely need a very quick fulfillment of orders and assurance that the designs are printed as expected, consider leveraging the support and services of Lightning Labels, which is a leader in this field, today.

  • Campbell Becomes First Major Company to Support Mandatory GMO Labeling

    Campbell Soup Co. announces all genetically modified ingredients will be listed on product labels.

    Soup Maker Announces Full Disclosure of Genetically Engineered Ingredients Over the past year, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the mandatory labeling of genetically modified ingredients on food products. Many major companies in the industry have aggressively fought against United States legislation amending regulatory requirements to include GMO ingredients. Some have argued it would lead to increased costs that are unnecessary and others have suggested it should be governed by state laws.

    However, Campbell Soup Co. recently took a step in the opposite direction.

    This week, the food manufacturer announced it will begin disclosing the use of any and all genetically engineered ingredients on all its product labels, a process that could take anywhere between a year and a year and a half to thoroughly implement.

    Of course, this could be a risky move for the corporation, parent company of well-known brands such as Pepperidge Farm and Prego.

    Campbell President and CEO Denise Morrison revealed to The New York Times that about 75 percent of the company's products contain some derivatives of soybeans, corn, sugar beets and/or soy which are four of the most prevalent GMOs.

    Without a doubt, the consumer demand for transparent labeling practices is on the rise. Morrison herself noted to the source that nearly all Americans are in favor of GMO labels.

    Product Labels Continue to Draw Industry Debate The long-term effect this change could have on Campbell's sales is still unclear. On one hand, shoppers could notice the food was made with materials sourced from genetically modified organisms and choose to not purchase it. But it is also possible that being honest and upfront could work in the company's favor.

    Campbell explained in its statement that it "continues to recognize that GMOs are safe, as the science indicates that foods derived from crops grown using genetically modified seeds are not nutritionally different from other foods."

    Some major food brands have taken significant measures against federal government enforcing a national standard for GMO labeling, arguing that it would be a costly and complicated process.

    But the existing state-by-state patchwork approach to product labels is problematic.

    Morrison highlighted an example of this to the New York Times. In 2014, Vermont became the first state to enforce mandatory labeling of genetically modified ingredients on products governed by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, Morrison said, in this state, a can of Campbell's SpaghettiOs would be packaged with a label disclosing it contains genetically engineered items.

    However, a can of SpaghettiOs containing meatballs would not require such a label because the product falls under jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture. This, she argued, is why the federal government needs to set a national uniform system.

    Campbell Adamantly Advocating National Uniform Standard for Labeling The world's largest soup manufacturer also said it plans to disassociate itself from any organization against the mandatory labeling laws.

    This is not the first time Campbell has taken initiative on the matter.

    According to Reuters, last year the company said that all monosodium glutamate, or MSG, would be removed from its children's condensed soups and that only domestic, non-GMO and organically-sourced ingredients would be used for the line. In addition, by July 2018, there would no longer be any traces of artificial coloring or flavoring added to products in North America.

    Campbell indicated that if a federal solution is not reached relatively soon, it is "prepared to label all of its U.S. products for the presence of ingredients that were derived from GMOs, not just those required by pending legislation in Vermont. The company would seek guidance from the FDA and approval by USDA."

  • Order Custom Stickers to Celebrate National Sticker Day!

    Order Custom Stickers to Celebrate National Sticker Day!

     

    January 13 is National Sticker Day

    Who doesn't like a good sticker? Whether it is meant to display a political leaning via a bumper sticker, or show support of a cause on a backpack or other accessory, a well-designed sticker can be a great way to spice up a range of items. Since January 13 is National Sticker Day, the time is now to get moving on projects related to custom stickers that will be distributed to consumers and others ahead of the event, thus boosting brand awareness in the process.

    Aligning the brand with major events - especially those that give clear and definitive opportunities to get the image of a company out into the public - should always be a point of focus for marketers, sales teams and project managers. With customized stickers that have catchy designs, a mention of National Sticker Day and some tie-in to the targeted product, businesses can achieve that desirable alignment on January 13.

    Custom Product Stickers

    Many organizations already have extensive product packaging and marketing strategies in place that bring together stickers, labels and more, but some will not go the extra step to personalize and customize their items. With outdated, stale or less-than-interesting designs, chances are that these projects will simply not come back with the returns and outcomes business leaders expect from their investments of time and money.

    For National Sticker Day, marketers can think outside the box a bit, not necessarily only focusing their efforts on the creation and implementation of custom product stickers, but rather ones that will get a bit more visibility in more areas. This is not to say that custom stickers are not a good idea for all products on the shelves, but rather that this particular event will be most advantageous when the branding items are distributed to many customers.

    Alternative Ideas

    For National Sticker Day, companies can consider using the opportunity and exposure to align their brands with specific philanthropic activities or nonprofits with which they associate throughout the year. This can serve the dual purpose of getting the word out about the brand and the cause, while using the event as a platform of sorts to expand visibility and the corporate footprint.

    By using Lightning Labels for custom sticker needs, orders will be printed accurately and delivered lightning fast!

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