Importance of Reliable Food Labels
News 14 Dec 2021
Food labels are a legal requirement and play a crucial role in the safety of food consumption as well as enabling consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. In fact, since 2016 it’s been a legal requirement for food production companies to display nutritional information on the back of all pre-packaged food.
What Information is Included on Food Labels?
Under EU regulations, food labels should contain the following information:
Allergen information: Food producers must emphasise allergens within the ingredients listed on the label of pre-packed foods. This is commonly displayed via bold, underline or italics or via different text colours. This has also recently been updated to include Natasha’s Law from October 1st 2021 which requires food businesses to provide full ingredient lists and allergen labelling on foods pre-packaged for direct sale on the premises. This legislation was introduced to protect allergy sufferers and provide them with confidence in the food they buy.
Nutritional: Nutrition labels must display the amount of energy (calories), fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins and salts (all expressed in grams) present in 100g (or 100ml) of the food. The Reference Intake (RI) is a guide to the approximate daily amount of nutrients (fats, saturated fats, salt and sugar) and energy you need for a healthy diet. This is shown as a percentage (%) on the food label.
Dates: All foods and drinks must be marked with either a “Use by” or “Best before” date – these are dependent on the correct storage of the product.
Storage: To ensure food products remain safe to eat, you must always follow the storage instructions on labels e.g., keep refrigerated, store in a cool and dry place, refrigerate after opening or consume within the number of days on the label e.g., once opened please use within 3 days.
Importance of a Food Product Label
Due to the important information which must be contained and displayed on a food label, including ingredients and nutritional details, the construction and legibility of food labelling is crucial to ensuring key details can be carried throughout the products lifecycle. The durability of a food label is vital as it must stay in place from final application, right through to consumer storage, usage and when the product is at its end of life. This ensures all key information is present at all times and also allows for safe consumption, disposal/recycling of the product.
Label Face Materials
The face material you decide to use on your food product label is important in presenting key information which provides customers with a consistent brand look and feel they trust. With the growing importance of sustainable packaging materials, brands may research more environmentally friendly label materials, such as biodegradable options or materials from FSC® sources. Using an FSC® face material guarantees the paper grades are manufactured from pulp from sustained plantations, this allows brands to benefit from enhanced sustainability credentials.
In addition to the above, face materials can come in a whole host of varieties, see brief example list below:
- FSC® Certified Papers
- Recycled Papers
- Digital Thermal Papers
- Laid Papers
- Metallised Papers
Label adhesives are also important, as this determines how long your label will stay in place for on your food packaging. When it comes to selecting adhesives, our team always need to know the end application and the environment the label is exposed to. This allows our team to recommend the best adhesive to meet your requirements, from a tack and resilience perspective. We have more than 20 adhesives available, and we are also able to develop our own adhesives which can be customised or tailored to your unique requirements. For instance, our PurityWash adhesives were developed by our team with the objective of enabling labels to wash off PP, PE, HDPE and PET bottles and containers, leaving materials residue free which maximises the recyclability of both materials. Our adhesive and label materials are perfect for the food industry, not only for the final food packaging / label application, but for the entire back office, sorting and warehousing processes.
Speak to our team
If you are looking for a unique food label construction or materials for your food product, or for any backend food manufacturing processes then speak to our team about your unique food labelling requirements.