By Sagrika Sanjay
The food industry is required to keep track of a lot of information about their products to ensure their products are safe and handled correctly. BRANDING, ARTWORK, MATERIAL, SHAPES AND FINISHES are the key points to consider for labeling. A Label is the cover to tell the story of every product. While talking about the beverage industry, it holds all the information that one should know. In other words, the label belongs to that part of the cover that must be judged.
A good-looking pressure-sensitive label on your package gives you the flexibility to tell your story and to entice customers to try your product. The label should be able to withstand shipment, grocery storage and home use. Whether your product is bottled water, juice, coffee or an energy drink, technology should create a label experience that makes your product stand out.
With the recent increase in efforts to raise consumer awareness, it has become very important for food processing companies to make people aware of their products. Labels not only provide clarification with regards to the food items that customers are buying but also help spread general awareness about the product. Labeling is also important from the marketing point of view because we believe in what we see. Labeling provides both transparency and clarity helping us make a more informed consumer choice.
Beverage labels often have to stand up to the challenges of moisture, friction and varying temperatures. If moisture is a concern, using a laminate finish on paper label materials will help repel condensation and product contents from ruining design. Film labels & shrink sleeves for a variety of beverages are another option that works well for beverage products that face a lot of moisture. Using clear label material allows the product to be seen by the consumer, plus it can give the label a backlit appearance. For bottled water, be sure to use label materials that will stand up to being in wet or refrigerated conditions for a length of time. If using a recyclable plastic container, one must use the right compatible recyclable label material.
There are certain general requirements for labeling as per the standards set by the regulatory bodies. The general packaging requirement for canned products is that all containers shall be securely packed and sealed; the exterior of the cans shall be free from major dents, rust, perforations or seam distortions and that the cans shall be free from leaks.
Packaging requirements for Drinking Water (Both Packaged and Mineral Water) state that cans should be packed in clean, hygienic, colourless, transparent and tamperproof bottles/containers made of polyethylene (PE), conforming to the IS.
Recently, with advancement in technology, different printing methods have been incorporated.
Laser Marking Systems: A beam of infrared light focused and steered with a series of carefully controlled small mirrors to create marks where the heat of the beam interacts with the packaging surface.
Thermal inkjet (TIJ): Ink-based, non-contact printing using heat and surface tension to move ink onto a package surface. It is generally used to print 2D Data Matrix and other bar codes.
Thermal Transfer Overprinting (TTO): A digitally controlled print head precisely melts ink from a ribbon directly onto flexible films to provide high resolution, real-time prints.
Continuous inkjet (CIJ): Fluid based, non-contact printing of up to five lines of text, linear and 2D bar codes, or graphics, printed on a variety of packaging types.
Large Character Marking (LCM): Ink-based, non-contact printing of multiple data types (alphanumeric, logos and bar codes) in large sizes primarily used for secondary packaging such as cases.
Label Printer Applicator (LPA): Prints and places labels of various sizes on multiple package types.
Common challenges faced today are the handling of various types, shapes and sizes of products while packaging. The important task is to deal efficiently with production lines, changes in products, coding locations, date/lot codes, etc. The operating equipment in high-speed lines along with the use of multiple labels or codes on a product, case or carton is another big challenge. Environmental elements such as condensation, dust, and temperature changes also have a huge impact on product labeling as this may hamper the quality of the product.