Monthly Archives: May 2016

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    FDA upends vaping industry with strict new requirements

    Do you know where your vape labels are in the mix?

    By Mark Lusky

    A while back we posted an article entitled, “Keep your branding process nimble…A hard lesson from the e-cig industry.” That article focused on two primary needs—being proactive with planning and organization to be able to move swiftly when needed; and considering multiple options to address various potential challenges.

    For the vaping industry, it’s time to be nimble and swift. In early May, the FDA announced its intent to extend tobacco regulations to e-cigs, vape and other products. A CNN report notes, “Electronic cigarettes and hookahs will now be regulated like tobacco…Children will no longer be able to buy them; ingredients will be regulated; packages will carry warnings...The e-cigarette industry calls the final rule ‘a complete disaster’.”

    That well may be true for e-cig and vape companies unprepared for multiple scenarios. The new regulations will extend to a variety of vape products such as vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, electronic cigarettes (E-Cigarettes), and e-pipes, all of which use liquid containing nicotine that is vaporized and inhaled.

    When it comes to potential vape labeling changes/additions, now is the time (if you haven’t already) to assess with your custom vape label customer service rep about how best to maximize productivity while minimizing price and delivery times for any number of looming changes on the horizon. Among possible outcomes are:

    • A second whammy closer to home combined with the FDA regulations, which could create compliance chaos. Companies trying to be compliant may face a maze of confusing and conflicting requirements about branding, claims, vape labeling, ingredients and more. Local outrage over continuing reports of children ingesting the liquid nicotine and its use reportedly leading to more young people smoking regular cigarettes can continue to lead to more immediate and drastic controls.

    According to the CNN report, “Research has showed that e-cigarettes have become a problem for children. This year, the CDC found that e-cigarette use had tripled among teens in just one year, and recent research found that teens who used them were more than three times as likely to smoke traditional cigarettes a year later.”

    • Delays due to FDA compliance windows and/or legal action, leaving the vaping industry in limbo about what to do when.  Notes the CNN article, “The new rule will not go into effect immediately, since companies will need time to comply…Companies will probably file lawsuits that could delay implementation of parts of the law for decades.”

    • Major vape product labeling changes, with or without other provisions in effect. CNN points out, “The new rules will also require companies to register with the FDA and put health warnings on their packages and in their ads. It gives the agency the authority to evaluate the potential health impact of these ingredients on users.”

    As the world seems to turn ever faster, there’s no time like the present to make sure your company is turning with—or preferably even ahead—of it.

  • What You Need to Know About Labeling Cosmetic Products

    FDA Warning: Provide Proof of Label Claims or Remove Them If you sell your own line of products, you already know how important creating quality, custom labels is. The item's packaging should be a lot of things - attractive, unique, appealing, informative, etc. But, above all else, you need to make sure your labels are honest. And that is one of the many policies the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for enforcing.

    This week, the agency issued a warning to Reviva Labs regarding the labeling on eight of its products, NBC News reported, which is just one step it has taken in its broader effort to implement stricter regulation of cosmetics. The FDA typically doesn't govern beauty or makeup items, but will intervene when the product makes a promise that is of a medical nature. Some examples of this include:

    • Regenerating collagen
    • Firming or plumping skin
    • Making age spots less noticeable
    • Brightening skin tone
    • Eliminating bruises, spider veins or rosacea
    • Reducing oil or acne on skin

    According to the news source, the FDA warned Reviva that it must pick one of two options: change the cosmetic bottle labels so they no longer make any of the above claims or provide sufficient evidence that supports them. Put simply, the organization argued that if the brand's products are actually capable of changing the texture and appearance of a person's skin using "special new peptides and additional ingredients," then these chemicals need to formally registered and approved as a new drug.

    "We are in the process of changing our [website] copy and eliminating all claims to which the FDA refers," Reviva President Stephen Strassler said in an email to NBC.

    Cosmetic Bottle Labeling: Guidance and Tips As the FDA explains on its website, registering cosmetic products and formulations is voluntary (though many sellers choose to because consumers likely won't trust an item that isn't regulated by the agency). However, registration is mandatory if the product is or contains a drug. In that case, it must adhere to certain requirements.

    The agency also adds that although it is legal to manufacture your own cosmetic and beauty products at home, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is done so in an unadulterated environment, meaning color additives are not misused there's no possibility that it could be contaminated with filth, the packaging does not pose a safety hazard, etc.

    Also, under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the FDA does not permit the selling of cosmetic products that have been misbranded. Items that fall under this category include ones that contain incorrect or misleading labels or that have not added the necessary information required by this act.

    When designing and printing cosmetic bottle labels, it is highly recommended that you clearly state whether or not the product has been tested for safety, all ingredients and the place in which it was manufactured.

    Even if you are a small-business owner and doubt your products would ever warrant an investigation from the FDA, it is wise to stay on the safe side and cover your bases by adhering to industry standards and regulations.

  • Official 'Nutrition Facts' Label Changes to Be Aware of

    FDA Releases New Labeling Guidelines for Food Products
    After years of growing frustration and increased scrutiny, the United States Food and Drug Administration has finally released its official update of the 'Nutrition Facts' label that will be used on packaged food products.

    The announcement was made by First Lady Michelle Obama, who said that she believes the "new and improved" label will "make a real difference in providing families across the country the information they need to make healthy choices."

    This is the first time the agency has made any major changes to the Nutrition Facts label in over two decades. In the press release, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D. explained that the organization made adjustments that it felt would make it more of a reliable and "valuable resource" for people to use in order to understand what exactly is in the foods they purchase and consume and, ideally, will help combat rates of obesity and heart disease in the country.

    Changes Made to Nutrition Facts Label Include:

    • A new design: The numbers of calories and servings in a container are more prominently displayed and easier to see. The labels will also feature a "dual column" - one side for per serving and the other for per package of nutrition information. 
    • Serving size requirements: The FDA updated the serving size requirements to more accurately reflect how much food people usually eat, which has changed since the guidelines were first established back in 1993. 
    • Declaration of "added sugars": The number of grams, as well as a percent daily value, of sugar that has been added to a food product will now have to be listed on the Nutrition Facts label - a change that was implemented in accordance with scientific findings supported by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

    According to the announcement, updates to the label also include the removal of some information. For example, because researchers have found that the kind of fat a person consumes is more relevant than the amount, the agency will no longer use "Calories from Fat" - though it will keep the amount of total, saturated and trans fat the product contains. The FDA also plans to enforce the declaration of how many grams, as well as the percent daily value, of potassium and Vitamin D are included, because not enough people are getting sufficient amounts of these nutrients, increasing their susceptibility to certain diseases.

    On the other hand, because Vitamin A and Vitamin C deficiencies aren't common, whether or not sellers include these nutrients while creating their food labels is up to them.

    Outlook and Impact of Updated Labeling Requirements
    In the press release, the FDA explained that food companies that generate at least $10 million in yearly revenue will be expected to adhere to the new label requirements by July 26, 2018. Manufacturers that don't, however, will be granted an entire extra year to adjust. The updates will be applied to all packaged food product labels, with the exception of some poultry, meat and processed egg items. The reason for this is because these foods are governed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, not the FDA.

    How will these changes affect food makers? Many of them will make little to no difference on businesses. However, the issue gaining the most attention and controversy is the "added sugars" requirement.

    As Jesse Hirsch pointed out in an article for GOOD, this is the first time a distinction is being made between the kind of sugar that naturally occurs in foods such as fruits, and the kind that is added by the manufacturers - usually as a way to make it taste better without having to spend more money. And many companies are extremely unhappy about having to display how much of the recommended daily value the amount of added sugar represents. For example, the source explained that a 20-ounce bottle of soda can equate to 130 percent of the daily allowance.

    Among those who are being especially vocal about their disagreement with the new labeling laws are sugar lobbyist groups. Hirsch reported that, in an issued statement last week, The Sugar Association expressed disappointment about the decision and said, "The extraordinary contradictions and irregularities, as well as the lack of scientific justification in this rulemaking process are unprecedented for the FDA."

    A nutrition professor told Hirsch that, although the updating labeling requirements signal an obvious step toward improvement and progression, they may not be getting to the core of the issue. He suggested that the information listed on Nutrition Facts panel of packaged products is really only something people pay attention to if they are actively looking for it. Therefore, they won't lead to much change among less health-conscious of affluent demographics, which are where the most health improvement is needed. 

  • Sunscreen Lotions May Not Be As Safe As The Labels Claim

    Study Shows SPF Listed on Lotion Labels are Incorrect
    With summer quickly approaching, one of the products that will start quickly flying off the shelves is sunscreen lotion. However, findings from a new study suggest that people may not be getting the kind of skin protection they think they are. 

    This week, CBS News reported that Consumer Reports conducted an investigation of 65 different kinds of sunscreens, including sprays, lotions and sticks, and found that a large portion of them did not meet the SPF claims made on the labels. Each product that was looked had an SPF level of at least 30, which is the bare minimum called for by the American Academy of Dermatology. 

    The researchers put the sunscreen on the backs of the study's participants. Then, they had them immerse themselves in water for the amount of time the directions on the lotion's label suggested before exposing them to UV light. According to the source, 43 percent of the sunscreens did not live up to the SPF claims made on the products' labels. For example, two brands of lotions designed for kids that are labeled as having an SPF of 50 were tested and discovered to only have SPF of 8. 

    Both of the brands told CBS that their sunscreen lotion labels are correct and that they adhere to the safety requirements set forth by the United States Food and Drug Administration. 

    The news source also revealed that Consumer Reports argues that sunscreen claiming to be waterproof is incorrect because "no such product exists." And at least one company is taking it a step further by advertising its products as actually being more protective and effective after being soaked in water for a half an hour after being applied. However, after testing the brand's offering, the researchers came to the conclusion that there was no difference in its SPF when used on dry or wet skin. 

    Tips on How to Correctly Read Sunscreen Labels
    As the Consumer Report researchers explained to CBS, SPF of 50 or higher is all pretty much the same. 

    However, the American Academy of Dermatology does offer some guidance on its website in what to look for on sunscreen product labels. The organization recommends making sure the chosen brand is broad spectrum, meaning it has protective capabilities against both UVA and UBA rays.

    If you're looking for a lotion that will be effective even when you go swimming or start sweating, you should look for a label claim of being "water-resistant" - rather than waterproof. Why? The AAD echoed the explanation Consumer Reports gave: No product can accurately make this claim because it isn't possible to be entirely waterproof. Manufacturers are no longer allowed to label their sunscreen products as being "sunblock," since this term can be misleading for consumers.

    The source also indicated that people should use the same guidance when buying cosmetic products. For example, a lip balm label should have SPF of 30 or higher to offer adequate protection.

  • May is National Photography Month

    Use High-Quality Photos to Promote Your Brand

    May is National Photography Month, which is a great time to begin focusing on the development of more eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing branded materials. If you have made the investment in high-quality photos for your products, don't skimp on high-quality labels to promote your brand. Simple imagery and clip art just won't cut it these days, as consumers are looking for more modern, high-definition pictures and video content.

    High-quality photos on the right labels are excellent when trying to transform the brand's messaging and image, and this month could represent a good opportunity to get these campaigns going with interactive marketing tactics.

    Get Staff and Customers Involved

    Consider asking your staff members - not only those in the marketing and product management teams, but throughout the business - if they would like to contribute to the campaign with their own photography. No one knows your brand better than your employees, and some of them might have an interest in photography, making them an excellent source of creativity and perspective in these types of projects.

    On the other hand, customers will also have a good idea of the brand, and getting them involved in the process of gathering photos can further boost engagement between the company and its clientele. You can then use the photos gathered with quality labels to ensure that the hard work put into the photography pays off, and is represented properly in the finished product packaging.

    As a note, you'll certainly want to look into custom labels for these campaigns, as getting photos printed on stickers and other branded materials can be a bit tricky. By launching the project in May, you can align it with National Photography Month, and generate a bit more buzz about the campaign and your brand in the process.

    Seeing it Through

    Brand management teams should be heavily involved in the selection of which images will be sent to the printer for labeling purposes. Once the photos have been selected for the campaign, you can count on Lightning Labels to complete your orders lightning-fast and up to specifications. Lightning Labels offers custom label options on high-quality material to give you the best finished product possible, especially with bigger campaigns such as photography.

  • Participate in the 5th Annual Lightning Labels Photo Contest!

    Lightning Labels Celebrates its Customers

    Lightning Labels is celebrating its 14th anniversary this year, and has launched its 5th annual Photo Contest to bring the beautiful work of its loyal clientele to light. Participants should know that the submissions period began on May 18, and will run through July 1, and that the contest is open to all legal U.S. residents 18 years of age or older who have been Lightning Labels customers within the two years leading up to the submission deadline.

    Winners and runners up from last year received a range of great prizes for their outstanding work on custom labels, stickers and photos, and the rewards for doing so this year are even greater.

    Grand Prizes

    This year's grand prizes, which are rewarded to the top five participants following the vote on social media, include the following:

    Grand prize: GoPro Hero4

    Second prize: 40'' Flat-Screen Television

    Third Prize: Apple iPad Air

    Fourth and Fifth Prizes: Lightning Labels credits toward future purchases

    If you would like to take a look at last year's top five performers in the label contest, check out this rundown on our website. Entrants can enter the contest through the Lightning Labels Facebook page, and are urged to use photos of products that are currently in use.

    What it Takes to Win

    The Lightning Labels contest is certainly a competitive one, as hundreds of participants have gotten involved over the years. Even if an entry in the label contest is not a winner, it is a great opportunity to showcase your finest custom labeling and photo projects, all while getting to peek inside the unique marketing tactics of other contestants.

    Custom labels need to be a bit more unique and artistic to catch the eyes of consumers these days, and only the most vibrant and creative ones will tend to stand out from the crowd on shelves or other places of sale. Lightning Labels has watched its customers create incredible marketing collateral for 14 years running, and takes the anniversary as an opportunity to give them a platform to strut their stuff.

    The winners of this year's event will have a lot to brag about, as we expect a multitude of exciting and top-of-the-line entrants into the photo contest. Again, we thank you for your many years of patronage, and good luck on your custom label contest project!

  • San Francisco to Become First US City to Mandate Soda Health Warning Labels

    Public Advertisements Featuring Sugary Beverages Will Soon Require a Warning
    As of July 25, makers of soda and similar sugary drinks will be required to include a warning on billboards and other types of publicly-displayed advertisements in San Francisco, The Wall Street Journal reported. Although companies in the industry attempted to have the court intervene, they were unsuccessful. This is the first city in the country to compel displays advertising sugar-added beverages to have a label warning of possible effects it could have on a person's health. 

    According to the source, the cautionary statement will read, "WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco." In July, a civil complaint was filed by The American Beverage Association, with support from The California State Outdoor Advertising Association and the California Retailers Association. The organization argued to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that this new policy does not adhere to the First Amendment free speech right. However, The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. District Judge Edward Chen found this position to be unfounded and lacking in merit, ultimately denying the request. 

    "We are disappointed in the Court's ruling on our motion for a preliminary injunction as we believe that the City of San Francisco's mandate violates the constitutional rights of a select group by unfairly discriminating against one particular category of products, based on one ingredient found in many other products,'' The American Beverage Association said in its statement.

    Leveraging Labels to Address American Health Issues
    Although The Wall Street Journal revealed that the warning labels aren't going to be required to be printed onto the product packaging itself, they will cover 20 percent of advertisements displayed publicly throughout San Francisco. The city officials have apparently taken the issue so seriously that, in June, they prohibited the purchase of sugar-added beverages using city funds. San Francisco would have likely banned ads for sugary drinks being placed on any property owned by the city, however the ordinance was challenged and eventually dropped. 

    Enforcing health warnings on sugary beverages is just one instance of the broader effort being made by various lawmakers and regulators to improve the obesity and diabetes epidemic. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a Nutrition Facts label update for food packaging. In its announcement, the agency said some of its changes would include adjusting serving size and new labeling requirements, adding a percent daily value for added sugars and modifying the Nutrition Facts label design and footnote. 

    Consumers are increasingly demanding that food companies use product labels that are informative and honest. As shoppers continue to be health-conscious, it is likely that government agencies and policymakers will continue to develop ways to practice better regulation and governance over packaging. Similarly, it is going to be essential for food- and beverage-makers to verify the printed labels on their products are not misleading and don't contain an inaccurate health claim that could lead to legal ramifications. 

  • Are Your Health and Beauty Labels Ready for Summer?

    Make Those Labels Colorful!

    Spring is in full swing, and summer is right around the corner. Although health and beauty products are popular throughout the entire year, the warmer months will lead many consumers to purchase specific types a bit more frequently. This includes lip balm, sunscreen, moisturizers, vibrant lipsticks and many other products, and if you manufacture these items, you will want to spice up your labels as soon as possible to capture the eyes of summer shoppers.

    With custom health product labels and stickers for beauty items, the sky will be the limit when it comes to differentiating your brand from others. However, you will not be able to get by with muted colors or uninteresting designs this time of year, meaning marketing and product management teams need to think outside of the box and incorporate as much vivid imagery as possible.

    Considerations for Beauty Product Labels

    Beauty and health go hand in hand these days. Many consumers will purchase the items to both protect themselves from the sun and remain moisturized during the drier weather, but will also have some interest in spicing up their look.

    For example, some lipsticks are beginning to have properties similar to balms, as health-conscious consumers look to be stylish and careful with their bodies. If you make these particular types of products, you will want to make sure their advantages are clearly stated on your labels, and in such a way that catches the eyes of consumers in the stores and elsewhere.

    Also, you need to ensure that your product labels can stand up to the elements, as they will likely end up on beaches, boats and other summer landscapes. Durable labels that have pizzazz will often be the best bet for health and beauty products around this time of year.

    Following Through

    With all the work put into designing the labels, your company should ensure that it is selecting the right printer. If orders go awry or the labels and stickers are simply not what was expected, it could translate to time and resources wasted in a hurry.

    Lightning Labels offers a range of custom durable labels and stickers, and boasts rapid turnaround times on orders. This firm can help you with all of your product labeling needs this spring and summer.

  • FDA to reconsider what 'healthy' means on food labels

    FDA To Reevaluate What "Healthy" Is For Food Labels
    At this point, it's safe to say that just about everyone is aware of the controversy surrounding certain health claims made on food product packaging and the labeling of food. Over the past year, a handful of class action lawsuits have been filed by customers across the country against companies that consumers feel have falsely advertised. Even big-name brands, such as KIND LLC, have been the center of scrutiny from both regulators and the public.

    Earlier this year, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to KIND regarding nutrient claims it made on the labeling of its snack bars. The agency recently announced the issue has been closed out, after the food maker took the necessary actions to correct its labels to adhere to FDA requirements. In this same posting, the FDA revealed that, after the closeout letter, KIND has asked for permission to use "healthy and tasty" - just not as a nutrient content claim or even on the same display panel as the nutrition facts label.

    Instead, it requested the ability to use the phrase in its corporate philosophy, which the FDA approved of. The agency went on to explain that it believes "now is an opportune time to reevaluate regulations concerning nutrient content claims, generally, including the term 'healthy.'"

    Healthy Labeling Changes a Long-Time Coming
    For quite some time, the FDA has felt the push to implement stricter regulations of health-related claims on labels. It's not that the organization does not have any guidelines, though. To label a food product as being "healthy," the FDA requires it meet a certain amount of dietary criteria (which the KIND bars did not).

    However, the main issue at hand boils down to the need to create more accurate definitions of what constitutes an item as being healthy. According to Gizmodo, the FDA recently closed its request for comments from customers, in which it asked for feedback on what people interpret as being "natural" when they see it on food labeling, and this was probably one of the efforts the agency made to develop a better definition. And while it will probably take similar measures for "healthy," how soon any changes will be implemented is still unclear.

    An FDA spokesperson told Gizmodo that, as of right now, "there is no timeline" and that indicated that, regardless of any modifications that will be made in the future, it won't be a "reversal" of any sort. The source also added that in the interim, food companies will be expected to adhere to existing nutrient content claim regulations and requirements.

    What Will New Food Labeling Regulations Mean for Businesses?
    Earlier this month, WhatTheyThink published a video in which its executive editor, Pat Henry, interviewed SGS Americas President Marriott Winchester on regulation updates made by the FDA pertaining to food products. Touching specifically on the organization's recent decision to mandate a newly designed nutrition panel on packaging, Winchester said that this move marks "the most significant generational event in the food and beverage industry" that has occurred since the agency began enforcing the use of nutritional information on packaging in 1993. 

    Winchester explained that many label printers, designers and manufacturers will face pressure to adjust operations and strategies to be make sure their products are compliant. He recommended businesses do everything they can to immediately start restructuring and being proactive in their efforts to reformulate, repackage and re-label items as soon as possible.

    Although the FDA has indicated that a new definition (and, therefore, its accompanying regulation requirements) for the term "healthy" will not be released any time soon, it's hard for companies to overlook the obvious direction the industry is headed in. Whether it is a big-name, global manufacturer or individual seller, it is going to become increasingly important to make sure that the custom food labels used on products is both accurate and informative. 

  • Bathhouse Soapery parlays $700 into squeaky-clean soap and cosmetics company

    After a decade of making soap and cosmetics Christmas gifts, Charlene Simon opened her first Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium retail store in Hot Springs, AR in 2009. She had $700 and 10 years’ worth of hobby supplies as her startup stakes.

    Fueled by customer demand for her soaps and an ever-expanding line of complementary products, Charlene opened boutique #2 in Natchitoches, LA and boutique #3 in St. Charles, MO in 2015. She plans to open #4 this year in a yet-to-be announced location. The company also offers limited wholesale opportunities to independent businesses and sells online at

    Charlene notes, “I made soaps exclusively in the beginning. Then, customers started suggesting other products for their skin, so we formulated accordingly. We also are inspired by new trends in spa treatments and aromas, and will continue to develop soaps and bath luxuries in that niche.” Bathhouse also offers such olfactory delights as perfumed oils and aromatic candles.

    Innovative uses abound. Charlene says, “Customers love to cut a sliver off of their bar of soap and tuck it away in their clothes drawers for added scent. I've also had customers tuck them under the seats of their car as a car freshener.”

    Relationship with Lightning Labels, the Custom Soap and Bath Products Label Specialist

    With a strong awareness of the need for distinctive branding, Charlene places strong emphasis on her soap product labeling. She emphasizes, “Presentation is EVERYTHING. The bath and body industry is a competitive market and my labels from Lightning Labels help me stand out. The label is not only elegant and beautiful but strong and durable. My customers appreciate that the packaging looks bright and shiny until the end of its use. They are as proud to display it as I am to craft it, and I have Lightning Labels to thank for that. They also have exceptional service. My label keeper, Michaela, keeps me on track. I'm not very technically savvy and she has been a dream. They are lightning fast and everything always comes to me in impeccable shape.”

    To find out more about Lightning Labels custom soap and bath product labels, contact us today.

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