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Label manufacturing for the food sector

Stampa etichette alimentari

Labels can be considered as the business cards of products.

Any kind of product is actually introduced by its label, that includes information on the product and allows consumers to evaluate which product is the more suitable for their needs, also comparing it to other products of the same kind, but different brand.

In the case of food products, labels are even more important since, for these products, any choice can be determined by personal factors or more specifically based on the needs of the individual consumer.

Labels in the food world are sometimes variegated and always tend to draw consumers’ attention; moreover, labels of food products intended for children or adolescents are very coloured and captivating so that they can be noticed even more easily.

Mandatory minimum information in labels

In general, however, according to the regulations, food labels should always report mandatory minimum information, i.e.: the name of the food, a list of ingredients, the presence of ingredients that might cause allergy or intolerance (such ingredients should be also specified if they are used in the manufacturing or preparation of a food and are still present in the finished product, even if in an altered form), the quantity of some ingredients or category of ingredients, the net quantity of the food, the mimimum storage time or the expiry date, any special storage and/or use conditions, the name or trade name of the food business operator (FBO) responsible for the product, the country of origin or the place of provenance (when provided), the use instructions in case the correct consumption of the food can be difficult when not reported, the actual alcohol by volume titration for drinks containing more than 1.2% of alcohol by volume, and the nutritional facts.

Moreover, for specific food types or categories, further mandatory minimum indications can be provided for, to be reported in the label.

All this information shall be well readable, not hidden or shaded in any way, and easily detectable by consumers.

Voluntary and optional information

Voluntary and optional information adds to this set of mandatory minimuminformation. The former can be reported by the company to better describe the product or to provide consumers with further indications and allow them to choose more consciously based on a wider and detailed view of the product.

Of course, all information reported in the label must be true and demonstrable, and the product must always be presented objectively without exaggerating its properties.

It is therefore evident that label manufacturing for the food sector has to be precise and accurate to ensure that all information can be clearly read.

During the batch release it is also necessary to control the appropriate food labelling, therefore the printing of food labels is not an irrelevant phase. On the contrary, it fully belongs to the manufacturing process of the product.

How to include changes in food labels

Unfortunately, it happens sometimes that a product has already been labelled, and some information needs to be amended or added and this becomes an issue for the company, both for practical reasons and in terms of financial losses.

One of the solutions could be, then, the application of adhesive stickers on the food labels in order to avoid a new print of the whole label, but only the part to be added and/or updated.

In the last years the attention to the packaging sustainability has also grown, and so for food labels as well. More and more companies look for printable food labels that are biodegradable or with a low impact on environment, but that are still very resistant and stick to the product.

The manufacturing of labels for the food sector is even more delicate when labels are in contact with foods; in this case, in fact, only suitable materials can be used, i.e. the so called MOCA (Italian acronym for materials and object in contact with foods).

The company has therefore the faculty to choose the aesthetics of the labelling (shining or matt materials, more or less striking colours and drawings, and a general layout of the information and label), but the regulations and the properties of the food to be labelled should still be taken into account.

Written by: Federica Montozzi

Foto di monicore da Pixabay