Monthly Archives: March 2016

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    FDA Demands Safety Labeling Changes for Painkillers

    The FDA is enforcing safety labeling changes to warn against painkiller abuse.

    Growing Demand for More Honest Labels and Healthier Products

    There have been a lot of issues pertaining to health-related claims made on product labeling. Many consumers have argued that companies, thanks, in part, to loose regulation policies, are able to limit the amount of information they include on packaging to shoppers, which impacts their ability to make informed decisions. Some have said that the lack of transparency is resulting in people purchasing products that actually have the opposite effect of what they hope for when they buy them. By urging companies and policymakers to improve their labeling laws and guidelines, people hope that they will be better educated and able to make smarter choices.

    Many insist that food and beverage labels should accurately reflect the health risks the ingredients pose. For example, efforts have been made to make it a requirement for soda and sugary drink makers to use a label warning about the hazards consuming excessive amounts of sugar can have, such as diabetes and obesity. And now this concept is being applied to medications as well.

    Earlier this week, the United States Food and Drug Administration announced that it would be enforcing safety labeling changes on opioid painkiller drugs. Included on these labels will be a warning statement regarding the possible health risks using the substances could inflict, such as the potential for abuse or overdose.

    Serious Risk Implications Aimed at Painkiller Prescribers

    Enforcing the boxed warning label, which is the most severe of its kind, is part of a broader effort the FDA is taking to help reduce the epidemic levels of opioid addictions that have been increasing over the past 10 years. In its announcement, the agency explained that by creating safer and stricter labeling policies that indicate the harmful effects of these prescription drugs, it could help mitigate the risk of abuse and fatalities. In addition, the hope is to improve prescribers' understanding of the risks and encourage them to be more proactive in seeking alternative solutions for pain management when possible.

    The updated labeling will also include information warning against the potential side effects of opioids interacting with other drugs and the severe complications that can incur as a result, such as serotonin syndrome, adrenal insufficiency and androgen deficiency.

    Many have long argued that Western doctors are much too quick to prescribe a pill unnecessarily. The New York Times reported that Congress has condemned the FDA for being too quick to approve new opioid drugs and, as a result, contributing to the epidemic of painkiller abuse. The source also noted that drug-related overdoses account for more deaths in the U.S. than car accidents.

    In an email to the NYT, Senator Ed Markey said that "it has taken the FDA far too long to address the grave risks of these drugs that have claimed the lives of thousands this year alone" and that it has "done little to prevent prescription drug opioid addiction." He also added that the most recent safety labeling decisions "will finally reflect what we have known about these drugs for decades: They are dangerous and addictive and can lead to dependency."

    Long-term Outlook on Labeling Effects

    Although the updated labels say that the opioid drugs should only be used when there are no alternative forms of treatment, it does not provide doctors with an upper dose or limit on use duration which, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing Executive Director Dr. Andrew Kolodny told the source, would likely limit the impact the label has.

    As people become more aware of the growing epidemic of drug addiction and the harmful effects that can result from substance abuse, there has been an increasing desire among consumers to turn to more holistic forms of medicine. The impact the FDA's labeling changes will have on the drugmaker market, as well as the medical community as a whole, remains unclear. Ultimately, the label can only work as an education tool, rather than exercise control over how, when and by whom the drugs are used.

    However, given the amount of media buzz the issue has received, it is probable that more people will start looking for safer, alternative forms of medication and treatment, such as nutraceutical products.

  • Beard Vape proves hairy proposition

    BeardVapeSometimes, ideas for company branding are as clear as the nose on one’s face—or, in this case, the beard on one’s face. When brothers Brady and Casey Bates (in tandem with close friend Colbey Pfund) started Beard Vape Co. in the back of Nana’s Vape Shop in Venice, CA during 2014, they brainstormed a name and look that would resonate. They found it with their father, whose nickname was “Beard.” And, both brokers sport beards as well.

    The search for their signature flavors was far more intensive. They made nearly 100 flavors over several months, assigned a number to each, and started testing on vape shop customers. After many weeks of marketplace feedback and stated customer preferences, they selected three, and have added three since. The flavors are: Cheesecake with Strawberries, Cinnamon Funnel Cake, Custard with a dash of Custard, Blue Raspberry Hibiscus, Sweet and Sour Sugar Peach, and Chocolate Mint Cookie. New flavors are in the works, subject to the same type of customer input.

    Today, Beard Vape is sold on six continents and in all 50 states. Fueling popularity is the company’s ability to build a strong rapport with fans, customers and prospects—reinforced by the easily-recognized beard logo, present on their vape product labels. Strong social media presence contributes to robust organic growth.

    While healthy company popularity spawns considerable pride and joy, Creative Marketing Director Collin Duddy explains that, “Perhaps the most rewarding thing Beard Vape Co. has ever done is establish a relationship with American Armed Forces across the globe. We hear their opinions on present and prospective flavors, and act on requests for bottles for their bases.”

    Relationship with Lightning Labels, the Custom Vape Product Label Specialist

    Duddy elaborates that, “Lightning Labels has provided Beard Vape Co. with a quality label that matches the attention to detail befitting of the brand. Using an exceptional texture unseen on other labels and a collaborative approach to creativity, Lightning Labels has been accommodating Beard Vape Co. since the beginning.”

  • Leverage Custom Stickers for Easter

    EasterStickersMake Unique, Colorful Easter Stickers

    Easter is right around the corner, and represents a great time to get moving on spring-themed marketing and branding ventures given the jovial festivities taking place across the country. For Easter, the most popular items are likely those that are sweet, chocolaty and easy to carry around in a basket, and many distributors, manufacturers and retailers that deal in these products are already pushing colorful labels and stickers to make them stick out on the shelves.

    If you compete in these marketplaces, you will need to ensure that your labels and stickers are differentiated from those of your competitors, and that can be a tricky endeavor given the sheer saturation of the market. However, with custom stickers themed for Easter and reflective of the general brand image, you can indeed position your products for stronger sales in the coming days.

    Easter Labels

    Chances are the majority of companies that do craft a more Easter-themed product labeling strategy will stick to the simpler, more identifiable imagery involved in the holiday, such as rabbits and happy children. Consider stepping outside of the box in this, though, and finding a way to link the themes within Easter that are not as widely discussed to the core missions of your brand, then using customized stickers on the products to get the point across.

    Easter stickers should be festive and colorful, but other than those necessary design attributes, can be highly customized and transcendent. Additionally, if you are in the toy business and not candy or chocolate, you will have a similar opportunity to get your brand name into the households of your target prospects. Gifts are often exchanged on Easter Sunday, and if you make any type of craft product, toy or otherwise, you will be a good candidate for custom labeling strategies.

    In a Rush

    Companies that need to get their Easter labels printed and onto the products in a hurry should consider leveraging the services of Lightning Labels, which is an industry leader in speed and accuracy. Remember too that your Easter labels will not be wasted should they not fly off the shelves on the holiday, especially if you make them colorful enough to last through the spring. Get moving on the custom designs now and you will likely enjoy a profitable spring season.

  • US Senate Opposes Anti-GMO Labeling Bill

    US Senate denies bill to stall mandatory GMO labeling efforts.

    Legislation Denies Bill That Would Block Efforts of Mandatory Labeling Advocates

    The ongoing battle between the food industry and regulation agencies about the mandatory labeling of products containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, has dominated headlines over the past year.

    Those who are in favor of the policy argue that consumers deserve more transparent labeling practices and that the regulation should be a national standard. Those against it, comprising mainly food manufacturers, say that it should be voluntary and, at the very least, a decision made by individual states. The latter have also made claims that being required to disclose the use of GMOs on a packaged product could mislead shoppers into thinking a certain item is unsafe when it isn't.

    The latest update on the label controversy came on Wednesday from the United States Senate, Reuters reported. The legislative branch rejected a bill that, if ratified, would have negated the efforts of anti-labeling groups. According to the source, the bill was introduced by Rep. Kansas Senator Pat Roberts and would have needed 60 votes to advance. But those in favor and those against were nearly evenly distributed, with 49 voting yes and 48 no.

    Companies against the mandatory GMO labeling law are running out of time. Last year, Vermont announced it would begin requiring the use of this label on food products starting July 1, 2016, which is quickly approaching.

    Reuters noted that Roberts indicated the denial of this bill is not deterring his efforts and that he said he "remain[s] at the ready to work on a solution."

    Continued Debate for Food Product Packaging Solution

    Although Vermont could very well soon be the first state to enforce this kind of labeling law, others have taken similar initiatives. According to the source, both Maine and Connecticut have passed bills and others are pending across 31 states.

    Science Mag revealed that Roberts seems to believe that these labeling requirements, if mandated, would be done so based on inaccurate and irrelevant information and that the proposed laws could cause severe damage to the food industry as well as its supply.

    In addition, the source added, if the bill was passed, food companies would have been given more time to push the initiative for a SmartLabel system, something a handful of major brands have already supported.

    The purpose behind this approach to labeling, which some believe is a happy-medium compromise, would not require businesses to disclose whether or not GMOs were used in the product if they didn't want to. Instead, packaging would come with a quick response code that, when scanned, would bring shoppers to the brand's website where they could read more details and information about the ingredients used.

  • High-Quality Custom Labels for Craft Beer

    CraftBeerGet Your Craft Beer Ready with High-Quality Custom Labels

    March is a big month for beer, with March Madness, St. Patrick's Day and more falling within the month, and craft brews have been the hottest of all for years now. If you produce craft beers and microbrews, you likely already put a lot of effort into your libations, and you should ensure that the hard work is echoed by the packaging of those items through the use of custom beer labels.

    When consumers enter the liquor store to get a six-pack of fresh brews, they will very often be driven by the labels that adorn the bottles, with the more eye-catching and unique ones being a bit more successful on the shelves. Craft beer labels that have interesting designs and all of the necessary information regarding the brew itself can go a long way toward putting even the smallest breweries on the map.

    Considerations for Custom Beer Labels

    One of the ways to make the best possible label for a given product is to first consider the type of craft beer you are trying to sell, and then look into the preferences and purchasing behaviors of consumers who enjoy the particular flavors. For example, if you are selling a craft India Pale Ale, which will bring all of the hop-loving craft brew drinkers to the market, consider basing the designs roughly around hops.

    Because so many IPAs will have this type of imagery, you might want to step outside the norm by first naming your product differently than most, perhaps even incorporating a pun that uses the word "hop," then basing the design on that moniker. As is always the case with any marketing program or branding initiative, the company must have a detailed understanding of both its product and the consumers who are most likely to purchase it. Once you have that information, you can make a winning design.

    Custom Beer Bottle Labels in a Rush

    Craft beer bottle labels will almost always be the product of plenty of manpower and time, and you might need a quick turnaround on your orders to get these branded items onto the brews of your choice quickly. Consider leveraging the services of Lightning Labels, which is an industry leader in terms of label quality, design accuracy and speediness of order fulfillment.

  • Capitalize on National Nutrition Month

    NationalNutritionMonthModern Consumers Love Nutrition

    March is National Nutrition Month, a time when consumers are encouraged to take a second look at their diets and better understand the ways in which the items they eat and drink impact their health. If you are a food or beverage manufacturer, distributor or retailer, chances are you can make this month a profitable one by launching a special marketing program to ensure your prospects and current clientele understand your commitment to nutrition.

    Custom food labels are among the best options available to these types of firms given the ease with which they can be developed, printed and placed on products in a timely fashion. Seeing as March is already underway, you should get moving on your projects to design custom beverage labels and other branded materials that align your company's name with the highly health-conscious event that is National Nutrition Month.

    Custom Nutrition Labels

    Chances are you already have a plan in place when it comes to the creation and implementation of nutrition facts on your food and beverage products, but they likely don't incorporate the event that takes place this month. By printing special labels or perhaps even stickers to complement the normal information listed on the products, you will be spreading awareness about this important annual observance, and boosting your brand's image and visibility in the process.

    After all, food manufacturers, distributors and retailers likely already know just how much of the battle for revenue takes place in the aisles of stores, and that the labeling and general presentation of items will tell the tale of victory or defeat on a daily basis. With today's consumers being so driven toward healthier, more nutritious dietary options, failing to capitalize on this trend in March will represent a missed opportunity at best.

    Nutritional Value Labels with Pizzazz

    Getting the brand name out there and into the minds of consumers earlier in the year can help to drive sales higher through the end of December. However, plenty of competitors will likely be trying to ride the coattails of this event, meaning that you will need to step outside of the boundaries of normalcy and craft a truly engaging and eye-catching design for your custom labels.

    Once you get the designs sorted out, consider ordering from Lightning Labels, which is an industry leader when it comes to the quality of labels and stickers printed, as well as the speed of fulfillment.

  • Doctors and Dentists Encouraging Health Warning Labels on Sugary Beverages

    Government is being asked to require health warning labels on sugary drinks.

    States Say Sugar Warnings Needed for Consumer Health

    Amidst the growing controversy of fair food and product labeling practices, policymakers are getting another push to update regulations and guidelines, only this time it's not from confused consumers or advocacy groups; it's from scientists, doctors and dentists.

    The hot topic in question pertains to the negative impact sugar-sweetened drinks can have on health and whether or not such products should have a warning label. Bodies of nutritional science research have found a strong correlation between sugar intake and diseases such as type-2 diabetes and obesity.

    Not too long ago, San Francisco became the first city in the nation to enforce the inclusion of warning labels on advertisements for sugary beverages. And while legislation is still pending for bills proposed by New York and California to have warning labels on products, if passed, they would be similar to those seen on cigarettes and other tobacco products. But how much, if any, difference would these disclosures make? Opinions vary.

    Perceptions of Health Labels Influence Purchases A recent study published in Pediatrics explored this topic by surveying over 2,000 parents to determine whether particular labels had a strong influence over what beverages they chose for their children. Participants were given different images of drink options and varying nutrition-related information. Some saw warning labels similar to what the proposed bills say the wording should be: "Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay." Another portion of parents were shown a version that displayed the calorie count on the front of package. The rest were presented with drinks with no health-related information included. The findings showed that beverages were chosen significantly less when they had a sugar warning label on them.

    "We are trying to make a link between the high sugar content and the calories and the actual downstream outcomes [of sugary drinks]," David Hammond, head researcher of the study, told CNN. "You can say that something has 18 or 24 grams of sugar, but most people have no clue what a gram is."

    Hammond also added that it was a good sign that the study also indicated parents are in favor of the health warning labels, with 73 percent saying it should be a requirement enforced by the government.

    Sara Folta, an assistant professor at Tufts University, believes one of the issues is that parents may buy juice or sports beverages, assuming they are healthier than soda, when they actually aren't, CNN revealed. Folta also added that the enforcement of health warning labels could have an adverse effect if young people find them more appealing due to their warning. In addition, Hammond noted that as people get used to seeing these labels, they could become less effective. To avoid desensitization, the researcher suggested changing the graphics and appearance of the labels over the years so they continue to grab people's attention.

    Science Backs Warning Labels on Sugary Drinks The Center for Science in the Public Interest is also on board with the health warning label. The organization recently pointed out that there are 26 researchers and scientists in favor of the proposed policy and that it complies with the recommendations set forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which includes limiting sugar intake.

    "Governments should be adopting a wide variety of policies aimed at reducing soda consumption and soda-related diseases like obesity," stated Jim O'Hara, the health promotion policy director of

    And it is not just the United States where people are asking for adjusted regulations. Earlier this week, reported that the New Zealand Dental Association is also encouraging government officials to add a health warning label on sugary beverages. According to the source, New Zealand ranks third for child obesity and those children get sugar primarily from soda products. Rob Beaglehole, a dentist and representative of the association, said the organization plans on focusing on sugar-sweetened drinks because they are a top contributor to health issues in children.

    However, as with the U.S., label advocates in New Zealand are also receiving some pushback. The report revealed that the New Zealand Beverage Council argued these labels are not necessary and that they would only cause unneeded concern in consumers. Furthermore, the organization's executive director indicated such labeling would be unfair because it does not address the issues linked to other ingredients.

    Informing Consumers  Although there are a number of ways in which these warnings could be ineffective, a government policy would likely be a positive starting point. People want to know what is in the products they purchase. It is the responsibility of both federal regulators and food companies to facilitate better labeling practices. Enforcing stricter rules for mandatory packaging can help give shoppers the information they need to make smarter choices.

  • 5 Top Ways to Freshen Up Your Products with Custom Stickers

    5WaysToFreshenUpProductsFresh Equals Success

    Business leaders who allow their marketing and branding strategies to become a bit stagnant in the modern era will rarely be able to see the best possible profit margins year in and year out. Today's markets are driven by fresh, unique, constantly changing and always improving campaigns, which is at least partly the product of the massive increases in online advertising and commerce activity driven by consumer preferences for more information in the palms of their hands.

    Now, this does not mean that firms should be aiming to completely overhaul their brand images several times a year, as this would thwart efforts to maintain a consistent and relevant voice, stature and the like among current and prospective clientele. Instead, businesses can begin to use a wider variety of branding materials to keep their companies fresh and relevant while still maintaining the general feel of their businesses over time.

    Labels, stickers and other affordable items involved in product packaging might be among the most affordable and seamless options available to complete these types of objectives. With custom labels, the sky will be the limit in terms of variance between the campaigns companies launch each month or over longer periods of time. However, businesses will want to stick to a few best practices to ensure that their custom labels are indeed freshening up the brand while still keeping campaigns on track toward specific objectives.

    Here are five tips to get your custom labels up to par with the demands of the modern marketplace:

    1. Connect Design to Other Activities

    Organizations will be putting many different projects in motion at any given time. For example, you might be expanding into a new territory while working on a major contract with a nonprofit. The best way to ensure that your custom labels are at once interesting, aligned with the main brand voice and still saying something new each time is to connect them to the specific activities that are taking place in your business.

    2. Major Events

    Major events, and national awareness observances, take place virtually every month of the year these days, and chances are several will fall right into the territory of your industry. Fresh labels can be driven by these types of opportunities, with companies working to align their brand images with the events that raise awareness toward one matter or another. However, do not stretch the imagination too much - always target events that are directly related to your products and services.

    3. Sales and Deals

    Throughout the year, but most prominently in the months leading up to the holiday shopping season, you will likely be putting on a wealth of sales and deals for your customers. Customized sale stickers that indicate which items will be involved in these sales are always going to be new compared to the general product packaging at normal times during the year, and are also a great way to build awareness regarding your efforts to drop prices for customers.

    4. Loyalty Programs

    Let's say that you have a loyalty program in place that has been successful thus far. Why not create customized stickers that will only be placed on products when purchased by customers who are involved in your loyalty program? This way, you are segmenting your clientele in accordance with their patronage, and giving the ones who drive your revenue the most a more personalized experience when purchasing from you.

    5. Get More People Involved

    In terms of raw custom designs for new stickers, you might want to look across your business - rather than only in the marketing department - to identify individuals who might be able to offer some valuable input. The operations and production workforce will likely be able to give marketing departments a new take on even the same products that have been sold for years. Adding a new perspective to the marketing fold is a great way to not only freshen up your custom labels, but also improve cross-departmental collaboration and overall workforce engagement.

    By keeping up with the demands of the marketplace and maintaining fresh product packaging and marketing campaigns, business leaders will be better positioning their firms to excel.

  • Nonprofits Aim to Improve Safe Labeling of Household Products

    New initiatives are developing to create safety labels for eco-friendly cleaning products.

    Consumer Groups Advancing Eco-labeling Initiatives While a lot of attention has been paid to creating more transparent labeling on the packaging of food and beverage products, there has been a lack of it on other items used daily in households. However, that may soon change.

    FairWarning reported that the nonprofit Made Safe will launch a safety approval label next year that will be applied to products made without harmful chemicals or ingredients, much like the seal for personal care items released last year by the Environmental Working Group, EWG Verified. Both marks were created to address the issues that are not currently being covered by the United States Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Product Safety regulations.

    Consumers demanding to know what is contained in the products they use is not exactly a new issue. Many companies understand that people value brands that are environmentally and socially responsible. Unfortunately, the existing policies make it so manufacturers are able to leverage marketing tactics that position their items as healthy.

    Safe Seal of Approval ABC 7 News recently pointed out that although the ingredients listed on household products may be present, companies aren't necessarily required to disclose all of them, which could mislead shoppers into thinking something is safe when it isn't. For example, one approach some cleaning product manufacturers use to list some information then direct consumers to the website if they want more details.

    However, the news source revealed that when one customer went to a brand's website to inquire about the ingredients of a particular item, it took nearly 15 minutes to find the information and, even once he did, it was limited. Some industry professionals argue that their approach isn't used to confuse or manipulate consumers but, rather, to protect company secrets, since "[e]ach and every product may have a specific formulation that is unique for that product."

    Nancy Buermeyer, a member of the Breast Cancer Fund, told ABC7 News that this isn't a legitimate excuse because if the competitors wanted to find out what chemicals are used in a product they could do so by examining it in a lab.

    "So the only people that are left in the dark are the government, consumers and workers," Buermeyer told the source.

    Although a number of consumer groups were unable to have a law passed in California last month which would require the full disclosure of all ingredients on the labels of cleaning products, the source said they aren't giving up.

    According to FairWarning, the Environmental Protection Agency has not been effective in adequately policing the use of toxic chemicals use in commercial products and, although the House and Senate have both passed bills intended to reform the laws set forth by the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, there has not been any definitive action taken yet. This is why some nonprofits are taking matters into their own hands.

    Controlling Chemicals in Cleaning Products Both the EWG Verified and Made Safe labels aim to better inform shoppers about whether a product was made using safe ingredients and without harming animals, the source said. In addition, member companies are required to pay a fee. However, there are some differences between the two. While the EWG label only certifies skincare products, Made Safe will extend its verification seal to a wide range of household items that aren't food, including makeup, apparel and cleaning goods. Amy Ziff, branding consultant and founder of the Made Safe mark, told the source that eventually, the nonprofit hopes to extend the labeling certification to vehicles and electronic devices.

    FairWarning revealed that Made Safe will offer two types of labels: base, which will verify the ingredients of an item to make sure it doesn't contain harmful chemicals, and "Nontoxic Certified," which will check for toxins by putting the products through testing procedures.

    Some industry experts pointed out that the effectiveness of these seals could be limited because they have to compete with so many other packaging seals, the source said. However, the eco-labels could help by increasing the amount of information offered to consumers.

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