Monthly Archives: July 2016

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    Avoid These Mistakes When Creating Food Labels

    Designing Labels for Ultimate Success
    When it comes to creating product labels, sellers are being pulled in a million different directions, especially those in the food and beverage industry. It seems like every day there are new regulations being enforced or efforts being made that cause marketers and manufacturers alike to reconsider their approach to packaging and labeling. 

    There is a lot to take into consideration when it comes to designing and creating custom labels. But among the most important elements are the words and phrases used on the package labeling, including health claims, ingredients and nutritional information. It's no secret that consumers are becoming increasingly demanding of labeling transparency and honesty. They want to be able to look at the label and be able to make accurate, informed decisions based on the contents they read. And while many companies realize this, sometimes their efforts to give shoppers what they want and their desire to market their products in a way that appeals most to consumers can be conflicting.

    Further complicating the landscape of creating custom labels are the new policy and design updates the United States Food and Drug Administration is enforcing. Although the bulk of the changes won't take effect until next year, it is still wise for businesses to begin adjusting their product packaging and labeling as soon as possible to ensure compliance.

    Using Common Consumer Confusion as Labeling Roadmap
    Dr. Mehmet Oz was recently featured on the TODAY Show to explain some of the common mistakes food companies make with their labels and, speaking to reporter Hoda Kotb, offered insight on some of the misconceptions surrounding labeling and what can be done to avoid falling victim to them. Although the advice was aimed at consumers, it would be useful for sellers and marketers to take this guidance into consideration and ensure the terms and claims they use when creating labels are correct.

    • Serving amounts: The first mistake Dr. Oz said that should be avoided is not paying attention to serving size. For sellers, the FDA's recent decision to make this information bolder on the nutrition facts panel highlights the need to include nutritional values, as well as the serving size amount, based on the actual eating behaviors of shoppers, rather than the minimum possible amount.
    • Fat levels: The next mistake is assuming "reduced-fat" and "low-fat" can be used interchangeably. If you are going to label your food product a low-fat item, you must be able to verify that it contains no more than 3 grams of fat per serving. On the other hand, if you want to label something reduced fat, it means it has a quarter less fat than its original counterpart. Additionally, to claim a food is free of fat, it doesn't mean that there are no traces of fat whatsoever but, rather, than there is less than 0.5 grams of it.
    • Natural versus Organic: Thirdly, and perhaps one of the most common mistakes that both sellers and consumers get confused about, is the use of health buzzwords such as "natural" and "organic." These words do not mean the same thing when it comes to food items, so they shouldn't be used as such. Avoid using the word "natural" at all. If you mean to say that your item is organic, try to get as specific as possible. For example, instead use "cage-free" or "free-range" when applicable.

    As consumers become increasingly aware of and educated on the different labeling terms, practices and policies, it can be safely assumed that they will also become more skeptical or, at the very least, conscious of this information on products while shopping. Therefore, it would be in the best interests of sellers and marketers to take these guidelines into consideration when designing custom labels.

  • New Study Finds Shoppers Trust Labels More Than Ads

    Consumers Skepticism About Product Labeling At this point, it's hard to broach the topic of product labeling without mentioning the increased scrutiny the industry has faced from both consumers and regulation agencies. Over the past year, a handful of relatively high-profile debates have unfolded regarding food companies or manufacturers of consumer packaged goods and their labels. A lot of the ridicule and conversation surrounding the issue has been based on shoppers feeling misled or uninformed about what ingredients and processes are involved in making the products they purchase and consume, as well as loose guidelines and policies set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowing marketers to position their products as being healthier than they actually are.

    These complaints have not gone entirely ignored, though. Recently, the FDA announced it would soon enforce the first official update to the Nutrition Facts label on product packaging in over 20 years, a revision that will force food companies to include how many added sugars the item contains, as well as an enlargement of the font for essential health-related information. In addition, earlier this month, Vermont officially became the first state in America to enforce the mandatory labeling of GMOs - a move that has caused a shift in how many other organizations are choosing to label their products.

    And while many companies may be plagued with concerns about consumers becoming increasingly skeptical of the validity and transparency of product labeling, new research suggests that their perspective may not be as negative as prior events may have indicated.

    Positive Claims on Advertisements vs. Packaging Earlier this week, a study conducted by the University of Miami School of Business Administration revealed findings, published in the July 2016 issue of the Journal of Consumer Psychology, that suggested consumers actually trust marketing claims made on product labels more than those in advertisements for the item in question.

    According to the university, this is the first time researchers have been able to find evidence suggesting that shoppers have different responses based on the type of promotional medium the content is presented through; they find statements made on product packaging more reliable and trustworthy due to physical proximity. Because the claims, the study suggests, are closer to the actual product, consumers don't perceive them as being as manipulative as they do with ads.

    "Knowing how believable product information is in various mediums can help marketers to decide where to allocate their resources when promoting a product," explained Claudia Townsend, a marketing professor at the University of Miami. Furthermore, the researchers argued that if marketers and sellers want to make their marketing claims more believable, thereby increasing the chances of them resulting in a sale, they should print information as close to the item as possible, meaning on the product label or packaging.

    These findings are incredibly useful for business owners to keep in mind when they are designing custom labels for their items. Taking this study into consideration, not only should the most important details, statements and claims about the good be placed on the labeling, but the information should also be strategically positioned in a place where the consumer has the best chance of seeing it, for example on the front of the package, rather than the back.

  • The Schwartz Yogurt Vape – Custom Vape Labels

    The Schwartz turns yogurt into tasty vaping treat

    With names like the The Upside, The Downside, & Comb the Desert, The Schwartz has helped place the taste of yogurt squarely on the palate of e-liquid aficionados.

    A need to stop smoking caused principal Huy Nguyen to spend months of research and development to create a unique, handcrafted yogurt-based line of e-liquids. In addition to The Upside and The Downside flagship flavors, which are “tasty all-day vapes and fan favorites,” Comb the Desert and a new entry, Ludicrous Speed are more complex and intense, according to Huy.

    Spurred on by popularity generated through personal visits to many shops, positive word-of-mouth and favorable social media reports, The Schwartz decided to expand the selection with two non-yogurt lines featuring combinations of intense fruit flavors, Naked 100 E-Liquid and Unicorn E-Liquid.

    Huy attributes initial success and repeat business to the novelty of the yogurt flavors. He points out, “We were really the first ones to release a yogurt line. People want new interesting flavors to add to their collection and The Schwartz did just that. Not only were the flavors new and interesting but the taste and quality of them stood out to people, which has allowed us to continue growing.”

    Relationship with Lightning Labels, the Vape Products Label Specialist

    Notes Huy, “Labels play a huge role when it comes to product presentation and attractiveness. We wanted the bottles and labels to reflect our product, so they had to be made beautifully and of quality material. It was really important to us that our labels be water-resistant, because being vapers ourselves, we realize that liquid can drip down the side of the bottle, so we wanted our labels to withstand that and be preserved. Lightning Labels has helped us by always providing fast quality service for a great price. Lightning Labels always works to get us our labels fast, especially when we have to place emergency orders.”

  • Promote Your Business with Custom Bumper Stickers

    Bumper Stickers: Signs That Go Anywhere

    There are a few surefire ways to get your brand logo in front of large amounts of people. And when it comes to methods that take place in physical space instead of an online environment, few methods can compete with bumper stickers. When you convince a customer to put one of your custom bumper stickers on his or her car, you create a mini billboard that will travel all over the area, presenting your logo, name, slogan or other well-chosen piece of iconography.

    Of course, the success of these methods relies on making the customized bumper stickers as attractive and long-lasting as possible. This ensures that they will be used instead of thrown away and, once they are applied to a car, they will spread the message instead of peeling away or fading. Therefore, it's important to look for a provider that uses modern printing processes and tough materials.

    Advantages of Deploying Bumper Stickers

    When your brand prints and distributes bumper stickers for cars, the benefits can take a few forms. For instance, putting the company name in front of a huge segment of the local population can build awareness. When it comes time to choose between a few competing organizations, individuals may go with a name or logo they have seen before. Since people have already seen your message around, presumably on the cars of your existing satisfied customers, they will feel trust right away.

    In addition to putting a name in front of potential customers who haven't yet heard it, bumper stickers can also be a great generator of hype and excitement around a brand, especially if you succeed in giving them away. Whether the stickers are promoting a specific event or just the company in general, they will help ensure your offerings are never far from the public eye.

    A Great Giveaway

    How do you get stickers into the hands of customers? This part of the process is actually easy. Whether consumers are dealing with your brand in person or via a delivered order, you can toss in a free sticker with the purchase. As long as the bumper sticker is attractive and looks like it would be a good addition to a car, it will get used. When you start to see your logo in traffic all over town, you will know that your giveaway has struck the right chord with the public. People love free added value, and when a sticker is well designed and printed, it comes across as a bonus, not an ad.

    Get Car Stickers Today

    Summer is a great time to launch a bumper sticker ad campaign. People will be out and about, driving on road trips and spreading your brand name far and wide. It's not too late to commit to a print run of bumper stickers during the sunny season, either. Working with Lightning Labels and its lightning-fast turnaround times lets you transform an idea into a physical bumper sticker design quickly and efficiently. With great quality materials and printing processes, the stickers will remain effective mini billboards for a very long time.

  • Major Brewers to Include Nutrition Information on Beer Labels

    Brewing Companies Increasing Nutritional Transparency There have been many transformations taking place throughout the food and beverage industry over the past few years, with much of these transitions being fueled by changes to product labeling. And while some of them have been enforced by the United States Food and Drug Administration, such as the recent update to the Nutrition Facts label or mandatory GMO disclosure, other shifts have stemmed from growing demands and expectations of consumers.

    It's no secret that shoppers have started to become generally more conscious about their health and, in turn, have increased their instance on food and beverage companies being more transparent with product labeling. People want to know what is in the items they purchase and consume, including the ingredients, nutritional value and where it was sourced from.

    And it seems the latest sector initiating adjustments in favor of these demands comes from the alcoholic beverage industry. This week, Fox News reported that The Beer Institute, a trade group representing major brewers, including MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch, announced that, by 2020, it will begin encouraging its members to offer customers more information about their products via the packages, labels and company websites. More specifically, the details that are being sought to disclose include the list of ingredients used in the beverages and when the drinks were brewed. Additionally, the organization is pushing the beer brands to print a scannable code on the bottle labels that, when scanned with a smartphone, will allow shoppers to read more about the items.

    Fox News also added that other industry groups, including Constellation Brands Beer Division, Craft Brew Alliance, North American Breweries and HeinekenUSA are all supporting the guidance. Members of The Beer Institute currently account for over 80 percent of total beer purchased in America.

    The intent driving this decision is similar to that seen in other labeling changes this year: Confusion and misinterpretation of the real nutritional value contained in certain food or beverage items.

    "Brewers are allowed to artificially color, flavor, sweeten and preserve their products, as well as use foam enhancers," Center for Science in the Public Interest President Michael Jacobson said, according to the source. "If the industry takes pride in its ingredients, it should list them on labels and not simply on the web."

    Beer Brands: Battle Over Labeling Initiatives In its press release, The Beer Institute explained that this initiative will make it so brewers voluntarily include nutrition-related information, as well as any other details that might be helpful to the consumer, such as:

    • Alcohol by volume
    • Serving facts statement (in line with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau)
    • Fat, protein, calories and carbohydrates
    • Freshness date

    The institute's president said that this decision is one he hopes will "empower the consumer" when trying to make choices about beer. Furthermore, the organization referenced a survey that found more than 70 percent of people who drink beer agree that reading nutritional labels is essential.

    But would including this health-related information on beer labels be beneficial for everyone? As Fox News pointed out, smaller companies may be hurt by this because they do not have as many resources to determine where the ingredients come from, plus they often sell different products depending on the season, which means what is included in each can vary.

    In addition, if it does eventually become mandatory for brewers - of all sizes - to create beer labels that include nutritional information, this may end up putting the microbrewers at an extreme disadvantage. And while this policy would mean more details and transparency for consumers, it could also mean fewer beer options to choose from.

  • Celebrate the Summer Olympics and Team USA with Custom Stickers

    In a few short weeks, the world's greatest athletes will assemble in Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. If you're looking for a way to support a hometown favorite athlete - or the whole team in general - custom Team USA stickers may be just the thing to do so. Years elapse between every edition of the Olympics, making the few weeks in which they take place hugely important. Athletic legacies are cemented and dreams are accomplished in that short span, and commemorating the epic efforts of American athletes is a great choice.

    Support the team with Olympic labels

    With the Games set to start soon, it's time for parties, with people getting together to watch American athletes compete on the world stage. If you're planning to host one of these gatherings at home or for work, or even intend to attend one, you can add to the festive atmosphere with colorful stickers. There's room to add patriotic and athletic themes to every element of a party, and in an office setting, the decorations can stay up for the duration of the Games. With the careful application of custom stickers, USA team spirit will be on full display.

    If the chosen Team USA labels and stickers are sturdy enough, they will last for the weeks the athletes are in Rio and beyond. No matter which sport you are most passionate about, there is a way to turn its imagery into a bold sticker design that will stand out and leave no doubt that you're rooting for your country's athlete to bring home the gold. The summer games truly have something for everyone, with events spanning from track and field to swimming and diving to team sports such as soccer and beyond. Team USA is always a top contender to win plenty of medals, rewarding the enthusiasm of the fans back home and in the stands.

    It's almost time for the games

    With the opening ceremony just around the corner and the athletes making their final preparations to depart for Brazil, the time is now to get your Olympic stickers ready. If you're worried it's already too late, don't be - Lightning Labels offers small print runs of stickers and labels at reasonable prices, all turned around in lightning-fast times and strong enough to hold up in the long run. When the Games begin, no one will be in any doubt about your rooting interest if you pursue these custom stickers and apply them liberally to your home or work space.

    Is there an athlete from your town or city competing in Rio? If so, then stickers of support can take on a specific dimension, offering support to him or her during this Olympic campaign. It will be four years before these athletes reconvene in Tokyo, so if you're planning to go all-out and decorate for the Games, this is your last chance for a long time. Workplaces and homes both make great places for parties to honor and support Team USA, and a selection of stickers and labels will complete the atmosphere of sporting excitement.

  • Front-of-Package Labeling: What Kind of Information Works?

    Effectiveness of Labels Can Depend on Environment
    Knowing what information to include on package labels can be difficult for sellers, especially considering the amount of controversy pertaining to consumers' increasing demand for healthier options and more transparency from food companies. Some say that the best approach to grabbing the attention of shoppers and avoiding any confusion they may experience is to place bold, easy-to-see numbers on the front panel, whereas others argue that quantitative information can be manipulated and therefore misunderstood. For example, people may read the amount of calories or sugar that a food item contains and see that it is a low number, failing to take into account that that value represents what is included in a serving size much smaller than what they typically eat in one sitting.

    However, Medical Xpress recently reported that, according to researchers from the University of Arkansas and University of Missouri, when it comes to what works on front-of-package labeling, there pretty much isn't any one simple answer as to which is the better. 

    "Our research suggests that there is no single, 'one-size-fits-all' front-of-package nutrition label that is suitable for all the different types of situations in which consumers are evaluating and choosing products," said Elizabeth Howlett, a marketing professor at the University of Arkansas, according to Medical Xpress.

    Evaluative versus Objective Shopping
    Making decisions at the last second is something most shoppers do while in the store, with many of their final opinions and reactions based on the labeling and packaging of the products. According to Medical Xpress, consumers often engage in what is known as comparative information processing, which means they review and compare products at the same time, evaluating a number of different factors on the label, such as nutrition values and calorie counts.

    As we mentioned above, though, there is one issue with the latter: There are a lot of variances between how this information is measured, yet there is only one, uniform Nutrition Facts label that is used to present the details. Recently, however, the United States Food and Drug Administration announced that it would be updating this label for the first time in over 20 years. Among the changes are a mandatory "added sugars" portion and making some of the important health-related information stand out more.

    Some food companies and marketers have started considering the use of evaluative information to present nutritional data to shoppers. Earlier this year, a study was published in the Journal of Dieticians of Australia Association that examined the front-of-packaging labeling system alternatives known as the Traffic Light System or Health Star Rating. In addition, Food Navigator reported that similar research was conducted in New Zealand. In both cases, the conclusions suggested that these FOP labels can be effective but only if they are used under certain conditions.

    Sellers, then, are still left with the question of whether they should use more objective or evaluative information when designing custom labels for their products. 

    New Research Findings Suggestions
    When Howlett and a team of other marketing professors conducted their study, which was published in the Journal of Consumer Research, they used two different types of front-of-package nutrition labels. The first had quantitative information on it that was straightforward; the other was more evaluative. The researchers discovered that both types of labeling were effective in their own ways, depending on which environment they were used in.

    Based on their findings, front-of-package labeling with objective and specific information is more beneficial when used on products that the customer doesn't compare with other items, whereas the opposite is true for when something is being evaluated simultaneously with multiple others.

    "Currently, many different types of front-of-package nutrition information formats appear on product labels and their effectiveness in different choice contexts needs to be better understood," explained Christopher Newman, one of the study's researchers, according to MedicalXpress. "We believe that public policy decision makers such as those at the Food and Drug Administration must consider how well the type of nutrition information presented on a product label matches the consumer's specific type of choice task."

    Considering the above findings, when creating product labels, it is imperative for sellers to understand the goal of their target audiences to help choose whether they should focus more on objective or evaluative information for front-of-package labeling. For example, if the company is trying to target health-conscious consumers, it might be beneficial to use more evaluative information so the shopper is able to scan the labels easily and see icons or graphics that indicate which item would be the better choice. On the other hand, if a business is selling a more specialty item where perhaps the nutritional data isn't likely to be factored, such as a bottle of wine, it will probably want to go with objective FOP labeling.

  • It's UV Safety Month: Remind Customers to Stay Safe in the Sun

    Help Your Customers Protect Themselves From The Sun This Year

    July is UV Safety Month, and if your products include sunscreen, lip balm or sunglasses, it's a great time to boost awareness of both the dangers of inadequate UV protection and the part your offerings can play in protecting consumers. The risk of melanoma - skin cancer - is the most well-known problem with prolonged exposure to UV rays but, as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is quick to remind individuals - there are a litany of other ailments to watch out for.

    Products and Cause Work Together

    Employing custom labels on items such as sunscreen, sunglasses and lip balm during July is a double win. Promoting the HHS mission of keeping people safe can also paint your brand in a good light. You're looking out for shoppers and helping them pick products that will protect them while they enjoy their favorite outdoor activities. Sunscreen labels can remind people that it's recommended that they apply SPF 15 or greater to their skin at regular intervals during the day to guard against sunburn and the negative health effects that can come along. This is a relevant message at all times, but the specially dedicated month is a great chance for a signal boost.

    Sunscreen isn't the only type of product that can receive such specialized tags and stickers. Lip balm labels can urge individuals to keep their lips well protected this summer, too, and stickers on sunglasses may be a good place to put HHS warnings about eye exposure to UV rays. The department cited CDC data that suggests that people going outdoors should wear glare-blocking sunglasses that wrap around their eyes and have a UV block number of 99 or higher. If your offerings fit those specifications, July is a great time to say so, using the month to promote the product and vice versa.

    The sun is blazing away in July, making this time of year a natural fit for promoting UV-defense products. By seizing the moment and turning out visually striking sunscreen stickers and other labels, your brand can become part of UV Safety Month. Of course, you'll have to act quickly to make this happen, while not forgetting to focus on the visual design of the stickers.

    The Perfect Label for the Occasion

    What does an ideal label for UV Safety Month look like? If the item in question is sunglasses, the label will likely come off once the glasses leave the store, and a standard label should be fine - but what about sunscreen or lip balm labels? They should be tough, keeping your brand imagery and the important health and safety message visible and legible even as the bottles and tubes are carried around and used all summer long. Working with a custom label provider with experience crafting stickers and labels for these products can help keep quality high. In addition to that toughness and fit, fast service is of the essence. The summer is passing by, and the time to give important safety messages to consumers is now. Working with Lightning Labels, a brand whose speed lives up to its name, is therefore a great idea.

  • Use High Impact Images on Product Labels to Stand Out From the Pack

    Intense Retail Competition

    No matter the type of product in question, consumers today have a huge amount of choice. This means it's up to you to make sure your item is the most appealing one on the shelves - the visibly obvious choice. The label is the medium of choice to create visual interest, and it's up to you to work with designs and printing methods that are bold and catch the eye immediately. In a world where everything in stores is wrapped in labels, the brand that tries hardest will rise above the pack.

    Some companies will use less sophisticated printing methods for their product labels, leading to simple designs that don't speak to customers. A simple, text-based approach, devoid of bright colors or high-resolution imagery, may be the result. By embracing a bold, image-based approach, you can make sure your items draw the eye first. Pictures demand more attention than words, and using such a strategy can make a great first impression on browsing shoppers. That split-second chance is where sales are made.

    Custom Printed Labels Are Advantageous

    In the current retail age, loyalty to particular brands has never been more tenuous. People have choices and options by the dozen, no matter what they are looking to buy. While this sounds like an intimidating state of affairs, it can also be seen as a huge opportunity. Every time an individual enters a retail outlet, he or she is on the lookout for new and helpful products, willing to make choices on the spot.

    Brands that use custom labels with eye-catching imagery can win the fight to get these customers to commit. Perhaps a high-quality and impactful image of the product in use will make a great label design. In the few seconds a person will spend scanning a shelf, an image has the greatest chance to make an impression. Of course, you need to ensure that the impression is a good one - working with premium materials and printing processes will make a brand look professional and competent, whereas lesser quality could give the opposite idea.

    Work With A Top Provider

    Contracting a third party to print labels is a way to make sure the process is carried out by experts and the resulting items live up to the ambitious designs your creative teams dream up. Plenty of time and work go into creating a good finished product, all building toward those few seconds when consumers will make a choice between one product and another. If one brand brings strong imagery to the table and another goes for a generic or sloppy design, the choice will be obvious.

    Lightning Labels has earned its place in the top rank of printers not only through its dedication to quality, but by living up to its name and delivering quick turnaround times. Taking a labeling project from idea to execution shouldn't be a long ordeal. You need to add great imagery to your products right away to catch potential sales that may be slipping away this very minute. Quick action can lead to impressive results.

  • Summertime Brews Deserve Fresh Bottle Labels

    Draw Eyes To Limited Beer Releases With Custom Bottle Labels

    There's nothing better on a hot summer day than a cold, refreshing beer. If your beer brand is serious about capturing the summertime market, chances are you have limited edition and seasonal products ready to catch consumers' eyes and drum up extra business in this ideal season. There is a limited window to make these short-run brews into successes, which means you should pursue every available strategy to ensure they are memorable and appealing to the public.

    It's important for summer beers to look the part, with attractive custom beer bottle labels that convey both a brand identity and the essence of the season. The process of selecting and printing custom beer bottle labels will be a major turning point for your brand. If you combine great imagery and high-quality printing, consumers will find your brews irresistible, even surrounded by many other breweries' summer offerings. A bad design or poor production, on the other hand, could scuttle the appeal of the limited release.

    Taking Barbecue Season by Storm

    Craft beer labels need to be tough to hold up through the summer. From refrigerated cases in stores to the hot sun, then into a cooler, then back out into the heat - beer bottles go through plenty of environments on their way to a simple cookout. If your brand goes with lesser labels, wear and tear could set in. The key to winning eyes with a customized product label is to ensure it stands out throughout its entire life, from when it is shipped out to its fate in a recycling bin.

    When a label is both tough and appealing to the eye, it will act as a great piece of advertising, attracting curious buyers in stores and at parties. The imagery should be tied into the summer, to win over those who are looking for seasonal refreshment. They should also contain a heavy dose of branding, to ensure that customers draw positive associations over the course of the summer and are ready to seek out your next seasonal brew in autumn - wrapped in its own custom label, of course.

    No Time To Lose

    The summer is in full swing - if you want to print custom beer bottle labels and draw eyes to a specialty brew, now's the time. While the fall's pumpkin bonanza and spiced winter offerings are great opportunities for craft breweries, it's best not to let summer pass you by. The synergy between warm temperatures and cool beer can't be denied, meaning the audience for your products is ready and willing to try them right now.

    When it comes to capitalizing on seasonal promotion chances, it's wise to work with a specialist partner such as Lightning Labels. True to its name, this is a lightning-fast company that can turn your great branding into a durable set of beer labels in a very short time. The summer days are getting shorter, and there's no time to waste - capture the attention with your audience, and you can carry these new customers with you as the fall begins, and even beyond.

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