Monthly Archives: January 2017

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    Fresh, Heart-healthy Foods Deserve Fresh Labels

    February is American Heart Month

    If your food products are good for heart health, it's a great idea to tell your customers this - they'll be happy to add these nutritious items to their diets. There is no better time to revise your custom food labels than February, which is American Heart Month. Whether the changes are a temporary tie-in with the event or part of a long-term labeling strategy, rolling them out during this month is a great way to draw attention.

    A History of Heart Health

    It has been over 50 years since the first American Heart Month was observed. As the American Heart Association noted, the event was designated by President Lyndon B. Johnson at the end of 1963 and held in February 1964. The month is a time for awareness of the many conditions that can affect the heart, as well as preventive measures that can minimize the instances and impact of these diseases.

    You can use custom labels to make an impact in February, and there's more than one viable approach. Perhaps you want to ensure shoppers know your foods' place in a balanced and heart-healthy diet. You can also use the month to draw attention to good causes and organizations that are performing research in the service of curing diseases of the heart.

    Permanent Changes a Possibility

    When your products are part of a heart-healthy diet, there's no reason to switch away from labels stating this information once February ends. You can switch labeling strategies to coincide with American Heart Month, then keep the new design indefinitely. The one caveat about labels that make nutritional promises is that you must check FDA regulations to verify that your product's benefits fit the criteria around the chosen words.

    To maximize American Heart Month exposure, you can create a short-run label celebrating February, then switch to yet another design afterward, adding exciting new branding instead of reverting to your old default. This quick change from your present label to a short-run version - then to a third look - is possible if your labeling provider is agile enough to support low-volume orders.

    Bold Imagery Catches Eyes

    One element of custom nutritional labels that may fall by the wayside is graphic design. When there is an important message to get out - whether it's about the benefits of a product or important work being done for heart health - that idea might take precedence over imagery. The best way to get a concept across, however, is through bold design elements. Working with a high-quality label printing partner is essential if you want the look of your products to match up to your plans for them.

    Lightning Labels Can Help

    February has begun. Does this mean it's too late for you to launch a new labeling strategy for American Heart Month? Not if you work with Lightning Labels. True to its name, Lightning Labels enables lightning-fast turnaround times through its use of domestic production facilities instead of outsourcing, coupled with an all-digital printing process. When you need custom food product labels in days, rather than weeks or months, Lightning Labels can make it happen.

  • New Nutrition Facts Labels: What's Coming, and What Could be Next

    Gradual Changes on the Way

    With the new FDA-mandated nutrition facts label on the way, it may seem too soon to project what will eventually replace the recently unveiled design. However, it's important to remember that there will likely be another style on the way in a few years, with yet another to follow. So when you work with a labeling partner to change your food products' backs and get in compliance with the latest FDA style, be sure to stay in touch with that company. You never know when another new design requirement may come down the pipeline.

    Imagining Possible Next Steps

    One hint that further evolution may be in store for the nutrition facts label is that the current round of changes isn't truly that drastic. Some industry watchers would doubtless like a more thorough revision. Law Street contributor Mary Kate Leahy recently explained that while the most recent round of changes does have the potential to positively affect decision-making about food purchases, consumers may benefit more from a graphically based "traffic light" system.

    While some manufacturers would doubtless resist the traffic light labeling style due to the fact that foods without nutritional merit would be forced to say so in the form of red light graphics, there is precedent for its use. Leahy explained that the U.K. currently mandates this kind of packaging as a measure against consumer confusion. It may therefore be worth studying up on such a design, both in case the U.S. decides to follow in the U.K.'s footsteps and to see if an optional version of the traffic light graphic may prove helpful to customers.

    Canada's Changes

    After considering the potential merits of the U.K. model, it's time to see the approach Canada has taken to its own nutrition facts label. Whether for another point of comparison or because you're interested in selling your products across the border, this design is worth studying. The government's new plans for labeling include enforcement of consistent serving sizes and a font size increase for sodium. Furthermore, there is a new list of minerals and nutrients that labels should include, to reflect changing consumer priorities.

    Clarity is clearly an objective for the Canadian model, as the new labels must include actual amounts of nutrients alongside percentage daily values. This could help shoppers make decisions without referring to other sources, which is a major step in the direction of simplification and clarity. The whole design will now be capped by an explanatory note pointing out that 5 percent or less of a recommenced daily value is "a little" and greater than 15 percent qualifies as "a lot."

    Examining the FDA's Design

    While it pays to look at other countries' designs and think of how U.S. labeling laws could change in the future, the fact is it's almost time to shift to a new set of labels here, making it most worthwhile to focus on those incoming changes. Whole Foods Magazine recently took such a look, explaining some of the most important elements you'll have to take into account as a manufacturer. For instance, the new list of minerals you must declare the presence and amount of consists of calcium, potassium, iron and vitamin D. Other declarations are optional.

    The source also explained that, like in the Canadian model, there will be a footnote on American nutrition facts panels. Unlike Canada's distinction between "a little" and "a lot," this text will specify that the percentage daily values are taken from a 2,000 calorie per day diet. Today's labels have a similar message, but the revised version has been reworded for clarity.

    A simple side-by-side comparison of new and old labels, provided by the FDA, shows that text formatting is one of the main elements that will change when the new design comes into effect. The number of calories is far larger than before, and the serving size has been bolded and enlarged. While the previous version of the nutrition facts label is largely a list of similar-sized items, the new one's hierarchy of importance is clearer.

    A Loyal Labeling Partner

    Getting ready to print new nutrition facts labels on your products is a great opportunity to redesign other elements. Whether that means adding additional health information or just adopting compelling new imagery, it's time to work with a competent labeling partner to ensure your project goes well and the revised designs roll out on schedule, potentially far in advance of the FDA's hard deadlines.

    Lightning Labels can become your ally in this mission of modernization, using its state-of-the-art digital processes to turn your project around quickly and efficiently. Lightning Labels has a commitment to customer service that helps it strike up long-term relationships with clients. This will prove helpful when the next regulatory changes come down the pipeline and you have to change your designs again. As long as you have a great food label provider in your corner, you can take shifts in policy in stride and keep up.

  • Craft Beer Brewers Turn to Die Cut Labels to Make Their Beer Labels Stand Out

    Stake Your Place in The Craft Beer Boom

    If you run a brewery, the current consumer market is full of opportunities and challenges alike. While trying interesting brews has become a cultural fixation, allowing you to reach a new audience, there are plenty of rival companies entering the market to challenge you. This is the field you have to compete on, and there are benefits to staking out a unique and interesting look for your brand. This is where custom beer labels come in, acting as a way to present your personality to the world, standing out on crowded shelves of liquor stores.

    Stories and "Weirdness"

    When you're creating a unique design for your craft beer labels, you should ensure your brand's identity is ably represented. This may mean picking quirky or otherwise interesting subject matter. Broadsheet pointed out that when craft brewers go toe-to-toe with the national brands for customer eyes, they do so from a position of relative weakness when it comes to marketing budgets and support networks. How do you bridge this gap? You tell a story with your design, whether that means choosing bold imagery or literally printing your story.

    You can look outside the box for inspiration when it comes to label design. The source noted that while your large competitors are held back by their years of tradition and established identities, an independent brewery is speaking a different language. You can go for warmth and comfort or quirkiness and uniqueness, all depending on what your beer tastes like and how you want different segments of the audience to perceive the brew.

    Beer and wine store executives Paul Ghaie and Eden Gilbert told Broadsheet that the next few years in the market may see a shift toward the more unique and bold end of the spectrum. The vast world of craft brands is seeing its own trends and patterns that your labels will have to differentiate themselves from. The pressure is on to come up with a unique look and make it resonate.

    Die Cut Designs Pop From the Shelves

    When its time to order beer labels for your brand, you can turn to die cut labels as a way to further improve your brew's visual appeal. These labels come carefully cut into shape, rather than simply wrapping around the bottle. Going with a bold design that works well as a die cut label is a way to boost your product's visual profile on the shelves.This is an especially useful tactic if your bottles are a unique size, shape or color and you're keen to show off their attributes.

    Lightning Labels can work with you on your custom beer label product to ensure you enter this competitive market with a strong visual identity. With a variety of materials, die cut shapes and finishes available, you can pick the options that suit your company's story or unique identity. Whether you want to use a local photo, a mascot character or any other piece of brand collateral you can imagine, it will look great rendered on Lightning Labels' state-of-the-art printers.

    When you order from Lightning Labels, the whole process can take a matter of days, as the company's commitment to using domestic facilities instead of outsourcing and an all-digital print process act as ways to speed up the transaction. Your brand's new look can't wait, as there are competitors both local and national waiting to move in on your territory. Quickly receiving labels that define your brew visually and draw customers' eyes can strengthen your position as the craft brew boom goes on and more consumers search for interesting new drinks.

  • Use Recycled Kraft Paper Labels for an Environmentally Friendly Product Label Option

    Earth-friendliness Promotes your Products

    People have more choices than ever today when it's time to buy a product. This means you'll have to find an edge, something that makes your items stand out from the pack. Eco-consciousness could be that advantage, and environmentally friendly product labels are the perfect way to promote this approach. If you wrap a nominally green product in a highly synthetic label, it could create dissonance and undermine your main objective. Fortunately, there are plenty of materials you can use to create a 100-percent eco-conscious presentation. For example, recycled Kraft paper labels are versatile and useful while having a low impact on the environment.

    Consider Recycled Kraft Paper Labels

    Combining an "earthy" appearance and the assurance of 100-percent post-consumer content, Kraft Labels can become the face of your earth-friendly brand. These labels aren't laminated, which fits in with the raw and green feel they provide. Despite their rustic look, these labels are not fragile and can be machine applied to items en masse to keep a steady stream of your products to shelves.

    Consumers today have become highly interested in protecting the planet, and seeing 100-percent recycled content in labels may be the push millennial shoppers need to decide on a brand. In an era when every imaginable kind of product has dozens of competing versions on shelves, this environmental edge can help your items stand out.

    Willing to Pay More

    Shoppers today are interested in buying from brands that are earth-friendly in their approaches to packaging and products alike. According to Nielsen, millennials and members of the following generation - Generation Z - are interested in products that come from environmentally conscious companies. The source explained almost three-fourths of millennials feel that way. Even 51 percent of baby boomers, individuals from a generation that developed its retail tastes well before the current era, are willing to pay more for earth-friendly products.

    Packaging plays a part in influencing thinking. Among consumers willing to pay more for eco-friendly products, 53 percent told Nielsen earth-conscious packaging is either a heavy or very heavy purchase determinant. Also important to these consumers is that items come from a trusted brand. Creating a cohesive and green brand image could help you become one of these top sources.

    How it Works

    A recent Northstar Recycling blog post focused on how Kraft paper is recycled. The source noted that heavy use of the paper means there is always leftover stock to recycle and turn into a next generation of wrappers and labels. Turning old stock into a new raw material means sorting, collecting and milling the product. Companies around the world have committed to this process and are always looking for new uses for the material. The Kraft Labels offered by Lightning Labels are all recycled from post-consumer goods, meaning they directly reduce waste.

    Order Now

    If you're trying to reach out to millennial consumers as an eco-conscious ally but haven't taken care of your labeling materials, a key piece of the packaging puzzle is missing. When you make the change to a new material, you gain a valuable new marketing bullet point, something that can make shoppers feel good about the choice they're making.

    Working with Lightning Labels means this process doesn't have to take long, either. Lightning Labels, true to its name, is capable of lightning-fast turnaround times on your orders. Recycled Kraft Labels aren't even the only earth-friendly option available for your products. You may prefer to use Vellum #60, which is also made from 100-percent post-consumer goods. Or maybe Earthfirst PLA is more suited to your products. This option uses biopolymers in place of petrochemicals. If your brand believes in green practices, Lightning Labels can give it its face.

  • New USDA Rules Coming for Food Product Labeling

    Obeying Food Labeling Rules

    Companies that produce foods and beverages face unique product packaging demands, with a host of regulations to oblige before they even get around to aesthetic decisions. If your business operates in this area, you've already navigated the rules and gotten into compliance. However, in the years ahead, important changes are on the way. The latest announcements come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and have to do with the "sell by" or "use by" label - which has a new name, as well as the compliance dates for meat and poultry regulations.

    Cutting Down on Food Waste

    Food Processing explained that the USDA's recommendation - to implement a new "best if used by" label across the food production world - is designed to prevent waste. Today, different manufacturers use a variety of expiration date formats. These listings are voluntary for all products except infant formula, which requires the use of expiration dates. The new guidance is meant to ensure that wherever optional dating is employed, companies are working with the same vocabulary and format.

    Faced with a patchwork of phrases, including "sell by" and "use by," consumers may be thinking of the listed dates as hard cutoffs for freshness, and throwing food away that is still good. Food Processing noted that by standardizing the use of dating systems, and employing the phrase "best if used by," the USDA is hoping to ensure that shoppers will be better informed. People will now gain the knowledge that products of a certain age may have degraded in quality, but aren't necessarily unsafe. A hard-seeming "use by" date encourages individuals to throw food out, which causes waste.

    The recommendation comes after a period of research into the effects of different types of phrases. According to Food Processing, the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service settled on the final wording because high rates of people get the intended meaning. Implementing a blanket description across the food world is a big moment for the industry, and it was important for the agency to make sure its chosen version of the label is helpful.

    Meat and Poultry Compliance Dates

    Another announcement from the USDA FSIS concerns the meat and poultry industries. According to Food Safety News, this release isn't about any one rule. Rather, it's a notice that any regulations applied to meat and poultry production in 2017 and 2018 will go into effect on the first day of 2020. This gives producers a minimum of two years to adapt and get in compliance, though the agency would rather companies change practices as soon as rules are added to the books, rather than waiting for the deadline.

    The news source reported that the January 1, 2020 date will keep the FSIS in line with the Food and Drug Administration's labeling deadlines. Two years between announcement and implementation will allow organizations more than enough time to revise their labeling strategies. According to the FSIS guidance, a hard deadline for label changes is friendly to both companies and customers, as businesses won't have to change their labeling strategies too often, alterations which could lead to higher sticker prices.

    Ready for Anything

    The strategy you apply to your food labels will necessarily be impacted by regulations, but you don't have to worry about staying current in compliance, at least when you work with Lightning Labels. As an all-digital printing partner, Lightning Labels enables you to order relatively small quantities of stickers and labels for your products. This means no leftover or wasted labels when regulations change, and an ability to react quickly to any new regulations, getting well ahead of the deadlines. With a third party such as Lightning Labels on your side, you'll be able to stay ahead of the USDA's schedule rather than barely keeping up.

  • Eco-friendly Labeling May Provide A Breakthrough with Millennials

    Passion for Earth-friendly Packaging

    What defines the millennial generation? Ask 100 people and you'll get 100 answers. Some say millennials are socially responsible optimists. Others state that they're too consumed with digital interactions. Still others find them to be hard workers who have erased some of the boundaries between home and business life. One common thread in overviews of young people today, however, is their interest in things good for both them and the earth. Marketers can make headway with millennials by creating raw, healthful and environmentally friendly brand images.

    One of the most effective ways to define a company is to generate a new labeling strategy. If you're in the process of carving out a new identity for your company - or underlining traits that have been there all along - consider working with custom product labels. There's always a chance people will miss an advertisement or decide not to go to your website, but packaging is right in shoppers' line of sight, nigh-inescapable. Brand images that appeal to the earth-friendly interests of young shoppers may prove hugely valuable, especially if you walk the talk and use environmentally kind materials.

    Follow the Trends

    BrandCulture's Eric Pinckert recently explained for CPI Financial that the quest for more environmentally conscious or responsible brand images is a major 2017 trend. The author noted that minimal packaging and the use of recycled materials in both labels and the products inside the boxes and wrappers will be persistent themes. Truth is the key word here, with millennials and Generation Z interested in ensuring the companies follow through on their rhetoric and actually use materials that keep the earth safe.

    The expert noted that transparency will have to be more unfiltered in 2017 than ever before, and the trend will extend to all corners of a company's image. This will have an impact on what should and shouldn't go on labels, as well. Pinckert warned that a lot of text stating that a company is real and authentic could ring false. Instead of just writing out promises, brands will have to follow through and make promises they can keep. Working with truly earth-friendly materials in both items and labels is one example of walking the walk in this way.

    Natural, recyclable items are a stark contrast to the mass-produced consumer products of recent decades. Imagine seeing an item with a recycled label, perhaps a product that is itself biodegradable, next to an equivalent in a plastic package that could end up polluting the ocean or staying in a landfill for ages. The choice is clear and, as Pinckert noted, young people may prove willing to pick a more expensive option if its labeled durably.

    Design considerations

    When dressing your brand up to appeal to young consumers, every single decision can point in an earth-friendly direction. This kind of consistency tends to create an intuitive experience, showing a consuming commitment to being both health-friendly and earth-conscious and marking you as a company that has good intentions. Food Business News reported from the 2016 NACS snack industry trade show, where Lehi Valley Trading Co. Director of Marketing Jacque Taylor described the process of creating a clean, millennial-friendly brand image.

    Taylor, in slight contrast to Pinckert, explained that it's important to produce labels affordably enough to keep the cost of food products down - but once you achieve this level of value, it's important to create an image that pleases the audience with natural overtones, from the selected colors to the chosen imagery. Creating a label means summoning a mood, and the more the package evokes nature and wellness, the better it will be with earth-lovers.

    "In going into the design itself, we knew, for example, the millennial consumer is looking for natural, eco-friendly. Natural, eco-friendly label design was one of the things we incorporated," Taylor told the news provider.

    Working with an Expert Partner

    When designing an eco-conscious image, it's important to get the details right and work with a partner that can give you a thoroughly green option while keeping costs reasonable. Lightning Labels can deliver with its multiple recycled label options. Kraft labels, for instance, are made of 100-percent post-consumer waste materials. Their appearance is natural and earthy, and they are tough enough to be machine-applied en masse. Kraft isn't the only option, either - Vellum labels are also made from 100 percent recycled content.

    While not recycled, Earthfirst PLA labels offer a different take on nature friendliness. This material is similar to ones made with petrochemicals, but is made with Polylactic Acid, a corn-based biopolymer. No matter what kind of image you're going for, Lightning Labels can not only get the intended effect at a reasonable cost, it can give you an earth-friendly approach your customers will appreciate. Your products won't just look like they're eco-positive, with the right custom labels they can walk the talk.

  • Create Fun, Vibrant Custom Stickers for the Super Bowl and Valentine's Day!

    Upcoming Events are Great Promo Opportunities

    Is your company ready to celebrate Valentine's Day? What about the Super Bowl? These are huge cultural events, and between the two of them, they cover a huge variety of target demographics. Custom stickers to place on your products - or just improve the look of your stores or offices - can draw the eye and get people interested in shopping with you and making purchases.

    There's still time to get Super Bowl or Valentine's Day stickers and have them in time for the big days. These are even more flexible than using full-scale product labels, as you can stick them onto items as they go onto the shelves, then peel off the ones that are still there after Valentine's Day and the Super Bowl. That way, you'll get the promo benefits as the events arrive, with no leftover irrelevant merchandise after the fact.

    Courting the Couples

    Valentine's Day is a huge event on the calendar at businesses of all kinds. Sell items that could be great gifts for couples? You can say so with Valentine's Day stickers. This is a perfect application for stickers as opposed to labels, as the gift-giver can peel the stickers off before wrapping the present up. Little reminders that the day is coming up, in the form of stickers, can go over well with customers, who will appreciate the heads-up and potentially make a purchase on the spot. Obviously, the earlier you put stickers on products, the more likely you are to inspire such an "ah-ha" moment in shoppers.

    Getting Ready for the Big Game

    The Super Bowl has become synonymous with parties and get-togethers, as fans of teams that made to the big game unite with other football fans, or people who are more interested in mega-budget commercials, to watch on TV. If you sell products that would enliven these events, go ahead and print stickers. While the NFL and its teams will zealously protect their trademarks, there are plenty of ways to use neutral football imagery and text to spark interest among your shoppers, especially if the team in your area is making a deep playoff run. With such a carefully regulated event, it's worth looking up the guidelines - but there are ample ways to design fun stickers and stay compliant.

    Timing is Everything

    Valentine's Day and the Super Bowl are united by a fun, vibrant atmosphere. These are days to get together and celebrate, and as such they make great marketing opportunities for you. They are also events that cease to become relevant to shoppers right after they occur, with the imagery and signifiers suddenly looking dated from the moment convenience stores move their Valentine's Day candy to the markdown aisle. This means you should work quickly and deploy stickers as soon as possible.

    It's not too late to get Valentine's Day stickers, Super Bowl stickers, or any other custom stickers to celebrate upcoming events in mid-to-late February. Lightning Labels prides itself on its quick and efficient processes, relying on all-digital printing to get you the stickers you need in a matter of days, not weeks or months. If you're considering letting Valentine's Day and the Super Bowl pass - but have products that could benefit from cross-promotion - it's time to reconsider and take action.

  • Add a Touch of Glam to Beauty Product Labels with Gold Poly Material

    Stand Out in the Beauty Aisle

    Whether you're responsible for one health and beauty product or a complete line, having a distinct and attractive look for the packaging will help your offerings catch on with customers. Items in the beauty category vie with dozens of similar products in the aisles, and since people won't be grabbing products off the shelf and trying them out, packaging is how you differentiate a particular brand. You can implement numerous visual features to make your beauty product labels excel, from your chosen imagery to your logo treatment, up to and including the material you pick.

    Advantages of Gold Poly Labels

    Selecting a material for your custom labels is an important step of the design process, as the color and appearance established will set the tone for the product's whole look. You can't write this decision off, and should be thinking about the effect you want to create from the earliest stages of the label ordering process. What kinds of visual cues say that an item is a top beauty choice? Glamor, timelessness and a classy, upscale appearance may be the keys to your customers' hearts, and metalized gold polyester is a material that delivers this look.

    A subtle shimmering and lush gold color announce your items' presence when you choose gold poly labels. The material is backed with a strong adhesive to ensure it holds on whatever type of bottle or jar you choose for a particular product. Beauty labels made with gold polyester are finished in one of two ways, either glossy or matte. Each of these has its advantages.

    Glossy labels are designed to really pop visually, with a look that demands attention immediately.

    Matte labels, on the other hand, give a unique and subtle look that is perhaps less glam and more elegant.

    Depending on your beauty brand's overall branding strategy, you can take your product labels in various directions to complement your identity and target long-term goals. In fact, if you're unhappy with some aspect of how your items are currently perceived, an effective re-branding can start from the labels up, reintroducing the beauty products in a whole new light. Consumers walking the aisles may be compelled to try the bold, fresh items.

    Work with Lightning Labels

    Bath and body products are challenging to market. You have to compete with a vast array of competitors and convince people to entrust their appearance to your items - this is a big ask. If the items have a classy, glamorous and eye-catching look, it could be considerably easier to convince new buyers to give them a try.

    Lightning Labels can be an ideal partner as you work toward a new and ever more compelling round of label designs. An all-digital printer capable of working with a multitude of materials, gold polyester included, Lightning Labels is committed to service, quality and speed. Branding in the beauty industry can't be entrusted to just anyone, and Lightning Labels is eager to partner with your organization and deliver impressive results. Whether your brand needs a few labels or a huge amount, Lightning Labels has an economically smart order option for you.

  • 2017 Begins with New FDA Labeling Requirements

    Keep an Eye on New FDA Labeling Requirements

    When you produce food or beverages, there's never a good time to tune out or stop paying attention to labeling laws and regulations. Regulators make sure to give you time to adjust your labels and comply with the rules, but you should still be as prompt as possible at identifying and responding to relevant moves by the major bodies in charge of packaging.

    The early days of 2017 have borne out the need for vigilance, with the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already rolling out some announcements regarding upcoming adjustments to the laws. When you have a good grasp of the legal situation and an agile labeling partner on your side, it's possible to stay up on these requirements, and even to get ahead of them and give your customers a smooth transition from one type of labeling to the new standards.

    Comment Period Extended

    Do you have any valuable input on what should be considered "healthy"? If so, you have a few months left to tell the FDA. According to Food Safety News, the public comment deadline for what the word "healthy" is allowed to mean on food packages is now March 26, 2017. This is a revision from the previous date of January 26, and if you have anything to submit, this extension gives you time. Comments can be made either publicly or directly to the FDA in confidence.

    According to the news source, industry groups asked for the extension. The Grocery Manufacturers of America wanted more time for comments due to the fact that the end of the year tends to be busy for retailers and customers alike, leaving less time for affected parties to register their opinions about the "healthy" label.

    As for groups that have already made comments, Food Safety News specified that the United Egg Producers stepped up in favor of adding eggs to the definition of "healthy." Current restrictions involving saturated fat and cholesterol are the sticking point, but the industry body cited eggs' place in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans model diets as proof that eggs can be a healthy food and deserve the use of the related language.

    The very fact that the word "healthy" is back up for debate is due to an actual issue encountered by the FDA in 2015, according to the source. The inciting incident was a legal showdown between KIND, makers of fruit and grain bars, and the government body. The FDA told KIND that four of its "healthy"-labeled products did not comply with the present definition of that word, while KIND claimed that the science behind that label has since been superseded. Now, it's time for the public to have its say before the new law comes into effect.

    Are your products currently eligible to be called "healthy?" Might they be under a revised version of the labeling law? If you have any stake in this ongoing process, it's likely worth watching what happens next regarding the legal wrangling.

    Final Guidance Documents

    The first days of 2017 have been a busy time for FDA announcements, as Natural Products Insider recently noted the existence of two new draft guidance documents, both of which are entering their own comment periods. Now, you have 60 days from their publication on January 5 to register your opinion. The first draft concerns many important elements of the new labels - rounding of figures, the compliance date, how to label added sugars and even the thickness and spacing of lines in graphics are all discussed in the document. The second release consists of examples to help manufacturers develop serving sizes.

    With the new Nutrition Facts label representing a significant updating of a packaging element that has been stagnant for a long time, it is likely worthwhile to study these new documents and potentially register comments. No matter what kind of food or beverage you produce, the way you note the values of different ingredients, nutrients and serving recommendations could have an effect on consumer perception.

    When will you finally have to implement the coming changes and shift over to the new label format? This is one of the questions tackled in the latest round of guidance, as Natural Product Insider highlighted. Items that receive their labels before July 26, 2018 are the last batch that do not need the new-style Nutrition Facts panel. This date is one year later - July 26, 2019 if you sell less than $10 million of food each year.

    Time to Partner Up

    With regulations changing and new rules always being mooted, it's clear that you'll need a labeling partner on your side in the years ahead. This is where Lightning Labels can help, offering custom product labels for food and beverage manufacturers that look great and keep products in compliance with all relevant laws. Due to Lightning Labels' all-digital processes, you don't have to order huge amounts of labels at once. This means that when rules change, you don't end up with wasted labels fitting the old regulations.

  • Stay Ahead of the Vape/E-cig FDA Guidelines with Lightning Labels

    Regulations Keep Shifting

    When a product's packaging requirements are codified by law, it's not that challenging to get into compliance - but when those rules keep changing, that can cause problems. It can be tricky to efficiently and affordably package an item when it's subject to shifting requirements: Print too many labels in the old style and they go to waste. Work with a slow printing partner and you'll have to suffer long wait times when you change designs to comply with the latest rules and regulations.

    E-cigarettes and other vaping products are great examples of items with changing labeling rules. If you work in this industry, you've doubtless already encountered warnings about the FDA's impending label changes. It's time to get ready for the next generation of vape labels. This is also a great opportunity to sign up with a responsive partner such as Lightning Labels to ensure you'll be ready for any further labeling law changes.

    Upcoming Legal Changes

    To recap the FDA's recent announcements, the department plans to begin treating vape and e-cig products as tobacco, exerting far more control over these categories than it previously did. This means that, as of 2018, such items will have to contain the same nicotine warnings as traditional cigarettes, provided they contain nicotine. If your products don't have nicotine in them, you'll have to submit a self-certification statement to that effect, along with data to prove it. Even then, there is a "made from tobacco" alert that you'll have to add to your packages.

    The 2018 deadline is fast approaching, and means you'll have to carefully regulate your supply of labels. Staying in compliance means never using a label type once it's been phased out, but ending up with unused e-cig labels is a problem as well. This is why it's important to work with a label provider capable of small, efficient print runs. When you don't have to order too many packages of any one design, you'll be able to change with the times, even if you only produce a limited amount of your product each year.

    E-cig labels will present a challenge for years to come, as they are a perfect storm of labeling requirements - FDA regulated and relatively untested. While the next announced changes come into effect as 2018 begins, there's no telling what may happen after that. Picking a labeling partner that can help with this next change, and sticking together, could prepare you to face whatever requirements follow and stay unfailingly in compliance.

    A Third Party That Can Help

    What makes Lightning Labels such an ideal team member to help with your custom vape labels? The all-digital printing process is the key factor. When you order from Lightning Labels, you can buy in small quantities affordably, and receive your batch of labels in days, rather than weeks or months. Working with such an agile partner will help you deal with regulatory changes, or even make shifts for the sole purpose of improving your products' image and branding. In a fast-moving industry, you need quick, efficient allies.

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