Food labels are a basic tool used by consumers when choosing food in stores. The information on the packaging label should be understandable, good quality printing, and must not be covered or interrupted by any text or pictorial representation which can prevent accurate information on product ingredients. Let’s take a look at the key content a food label must contain to comply with industry standards.
Food Product Label Checklist
Each food label should contain the following:
The Name of The Food
The name of the food product is actually a legally defined label item, which is different than the name brand of the product. This statement of identity should be printed prominently and be unobstructed by the artwork of the label. For example, this Powercrunch label’s statement of identity says “protein energy bar.”
The food expiration date is the date at which food retains its characteristic properties when properly stored. This should not be confused with the sell by date, which informs buyers when a product should be off the shelf by but still can be safely stored and consumed at home. Determine whether your product should use an expiration or a sell by date by referring to the USDA’s webpage on food product dating.
Special Conditions of Storage
In cases where food requires special conditions of storage, these conditions should be indicated on the label. Some foods need to be refrigerated after opening in order to maintain their safety for consumption. Make any special conditions clear and obvious on the product’s packaging to avoid any chance of miscommunication.
Special Conditions of Food Use
Food for infants and toddlers, food for special medical purposes and food for people on special diets should be labeled as such and list any potential dangers associated with not consuming the product correctly.
List of Ingredients
Product ingredients are ranked according to the quantities they contain. The first three ingredients usually make up most of what is in the product. Some ingredients have very technical sounding names that can be daunting to consumers, an example being Inulin -- a healthy form of fiber derived from the chicory root. Adding “chicory root” in parenthesis after the ingredient’s technical name will ease consumers concerns that they are ingesting something harmful or chemical in nature.
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Instructions For Use
Instructions are important particularly where, in the absence of such guidance, the proper use of food would not be possible. Some companies provide clear instructions to prepare the food traditionally as well as including directions for using the product in another recipe.
The net quantity states how much of a product is in a package and should be correctly printed on the label. This is usually located at the bottom of the front of the package.
All Additional Ingredients in The Production Process
Ingredients which can cause allergies or intolerance that are used in the food production process and are present in the finished product - even in an altered form - must be listed. These ingredients should be presented clearly in a “May include” section on the package separate from the traditional ingredients list.
A proper nutrition label should be complete with information such as the amount of fat, saturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, sugars, vitamins, proteins, salts, and energy value. If your product contains a high level of some beneficial nutrient, such as a vitamin, you may want to advertise that elsewhere on the packaging so it isn’t lost in the black and white blandness of the nutrition label.
Product Manufacturer Name And Address
Including information about the product manufacturer is important as people like to know where their food comes from. Instill even more confidence in your shoppers by providing a customer support phone number as well.
Along with the mandatory information listed above, producers can print voluntary food information on their labels as well. Food information provided voluntarily should be referred to in ways that do not deceive the end-user, and must be presented as accurate, clear and easy to understand. Voluntary food information can’t occupy space on a label intended for mandatory food information.
An example of this voluntary information is disclosing whether a product contains GMOs. If a food product contains genetically modified ingredients, a company can decide whether or not to reveal this information on the food label print. While this is not yet required, a law that obliges manufacturers to emphasise the use of GMO products is set to go into effect in 2018. Making the change early shows your customers you are committed to being transparent, which is vital when trying to earn their trust and loyalty.
It is clear that such a large amount of necessary information requires strict print accuracy. Consistently delivering reliable product information on a product’s packaging is essential when gaining the confidence of shoppers. Using a print inspection service is an easy way of ensuring that all of the information necessary is presented correctly on your product’s packaging. At the end of the day, your customers will appreciate you going the extra mile to convey accurate information about the food they use to fuel them.
Marvin Magusara studied Robotics Engineering at UWE Bristol and is currently an SEO manager at GlobalVision, a company that provides machine vision software technology for quality control in packaging inspection. Marvin is also an entrepreneur; he’s the founder of Graftene, a Web Agency and BubbleLocal SEO.