Top 4 Reasons Why You Should Be Printing Prepared Food Labels In-House

Many companies outsource their product labels to save on costs and maintain production efficiency. But when you break it down, is outsourcing really the most efficient route? Depending on your business size and needs, it could be more beneficial printing prepared food labels in-house.

Here are the top four reasons why taking label production in-house can be the better option:

1. Outsourced Printing Comes at a Price

While using another facility to produce your prepared food labels might seem like a giant weight off your shoulders, it may not necessarily be the case.  Outsourcing can end up severely delaying your labeling process, costing your business valuable time and money.

For example, if an outsourced label shipment becomes delayed, so will the orders your company was scheduled to have in stock and on the shelves. These delays will happen, as do errors.

Misprints can cause setbacks and affect the use by/sell by dates on your products. This is especially true for made to order businesses and prepared foods.

prepared food labelsThe best way to avoid these dilemmas is by investing in a small, short-run digital label printer to easily bring production in-house.

On implementing short-run digital label printers in-house, Impression Technology Europe reveals, “Not only is the initial investment much more affordable but the cost per print is extremely low. After doing the math, most clients will find it will be much more cost-effective than outsourcing, and based on the output.”

Our main alternative to outsourcing, investing in an in-house digital label printer will not only save you time but also reduce cost-per-label.

2. NOT ALL ENVIRONMENTS ARE CREATED EQUAL

frozen food labelsPrinting prepared food labels in-house have its benefits when varying environmental requirements come into play.

Just because some prepared foods need to be frozen, doesn’t mean the quality and appearance of your packaging should suffer. Your store’s frozen foods need to remain cohesive with the rest of your prepared food line. After all, it is your brand. However, using the wrong label for the products environment can lead to wrinkles due to condensation, fading due to exposure or loss of adhesion, and labels falling off.

If your business is using regular pre-printed labels, chances are, the labels won’t hold up in your storage environment.

Ultimately, finding the correct label material is just as important to your printed results as your design. AstroNova has developed special materials that are capable of absorbing the inks so that printed labels do not smear and reproduce the most accurate colors possible.

The ability to maintain complete control over your label materials and printing process will allow your business to have a streamlined, efficient process with branded labels that look the part.

One example of an easy in-house printing solution is the QuickLabel QL-120X, or wide-format QL-850 inkjet label printers. These printers are known for printing frozen food labels that are extremely durable.  With the right in-house printer, you’ll have professional frozen food or beverage labels printed instantly and can be applied to products that are already frozen, or before they go into the freezer.

3. It’s Not Easy to Keep Up with FDA Regulations & Demands

label nutrition facts table

Keeping up with the FDA’s changing regulations and formats can greatly affect your product labels. If standards are not met, your entire product line could suffer from massive recalls.

This intimidating process includes font restrictions, mandatory statements, allergen alerts, and stringent calculations for daily values.

As a food manufacturer or grocer, you want to spend your energy on your recipes, production, branding, and sales – not on interpreting FDA labeling mandates.

While it is absolutely necessary to adhere to FDA regulations to avoid recalls and present your customers with the quality and transparency they deserve, you can make it easier on your business.

This is where an in-house label printer truly shines. For every change in date, rule, format, etc., you can immediately customize your labels on the spot.

Printing prepared food labels in-house give you the ability to print the exact number of labels you need on-demand. Meaning no more wasted labels, no more overstock, and no more falling short.  This gives you more flexibility in your printing process, as well as introducing the option for seasonal or promotional packaging.

4. Things Are Better When You’re in Control

Your labels are the face of your brand, so you always want to maintain professionalism and put your best foot forward. If you want to be in control of your business and remove exterior dilemmas, it may be time to consider printing prepared food labels in-house.

Looking to Print Food Labels In-House? 

If you’re interested in high-quality, short-run label printing in-house, feel free to compare our line of complete labeling solutions, including software, media, and a wide range of digital label printers from monochrome barcode printers to photographic inkjet color labeling systems and presses.

Or, if you’d like to speak with one of our field sales engineers or media specialists, feel free to contact us for more information! They would be happy to work with you to find the right solution for your application.

Jody’s Popcorn Labels POP!

In Virginia Beach, Jody’s Popcorn sells freshly made, caramel-coated, chocolate drizzled and savory popcorn snacks. With their unique line of product flavors, they rely on their Kiaro! label printer (our updated printer is the QL-120X) to produce the famous popcorn labels that pop!

What Makes It Gourmet?

Michael Katz, Vice President of Jody’s Popcorn, explains, “People often ask what gourmet popcorn is. What gourmet means to us is that we use the highest quality ingredients that we can find because we are very concerned about our flavor profile and the quality of our product.”

We traveled to Virginia Beach to get a taste of what Jody’s Popcorn is made of and see how they use their QuickLabel printer to make their popcorn labels look as good as their freshly popped batches taste.

It’s About Quality AND Quantity

popcorn“Our quality is not just about the product, but the overall experience at Jody’s,” stresses Katz, “At our oceanfront store, we make freshly popped popcorn right there.”

While the quality of their popcorn is a priority, their quantity demands (no matter how big or small) are important to them as well.

Michael Katz explains, “The oceanfront store grew in popularity. We had lots of demand for our products, so Jody’s leased facilities that we’re able to produce much larger quantities of popcorn. We were then able to label that product and offer a much wider variety at our oceanfront store, also satisfying the needs of wholesale customers.”

But with that expansion, Jody’s needed a reliable printer that could take on their growth, as well as take care of quick in-store demands. As the business grew, so did Jody’s product line. It became less affordable to order thousands of popcorn labels for all of their many flavors, changing order sizes, and special requests for custom labeling.

“What we had before was outsource printing,” explains Katz, “We were making a lot of products and sending a lot of products to be outsourced. But the cost of having all that inventory sitting on our shelves didn’t seem to make much sense.”

QuickLabel Meets Jody…

Looking for a short-run labeling solution, Jody’s found QuickLabel Systems and the Kiaro! label printer.

michael_katz_kiaroKatz quickly discovered how easy it was to operate a Kiaro!, stating, “My concern then came, how difficult is that to operate? And it was really very simple. Anybody that could operate a printer can operate this printer.”

“When I first saw the Kiaro!, my initial impression was, ‘Wow! It’s not drab, and I’m not interested in printing anything that’s drab.’ So I really connected with that,” reveals Katz, “Once I looked at it operate, I was impressed with the quality of what was being ‘spit out,’ if you will, as the finished product. These labels were just coming off and they were beautiful.”

QuickLabel’s Kiaro! Saved Them Time & Money

“Our ability to flourish in both the promotional products industry and the wholesale business has been greatly enhanced by our ability to create custom labels. That gives us the ability to very quickly customize a package for customers. If a particular customer wants to have their farm store on it or their gift store, we’re able to produce that here, quickly, in our facility and put that on the bag and get it out the door,” Katz states.

“There are times when we find that we forgot to order a pre-printed label and we need it right now, or we’ve ordered it, but there’s a problem at the printing company and they can’t deliver the label at the time we expect,” Katz explains.

He expands,“With the Kiaro!, we not only use it to print our custom labels and small quantity product labels, but we also use it as a back-up printer. We can print exactly the same label we send out for our large-runs of pre-printed labels and the Kiaro! labels look indistinguishable from an outsourced label. It is really a wonderful situation.”

“The Kiaro! printer has saved Jody’s time and production. The amount of time it takes for us to produce a custom job has decreased greatly. We can literally have somebody walk into the printing area and say ‘I need this’ and turn it around in 10-15 minutes,” concludes Katz.

Want More?

To learn more about how the Kiaro! the color label printer can save you time, money, and provide you with gorgeous customized color labels, click here.

Or contact us today by giving us a call, sending us an email, or deciding to schedule your own Kiaro! demonstration!

About Jody’s Gourmet Popcorn

Jody’s Gourmet Popcorn of Virginia Beach, VA makes fresh, delectable kettle corn, caramel corn, and flavored seasonal popcorn for all the world to love. Shop in-person at their beautiful oceanfront store at 31 Ocean Shops, or online at www.JodysPopcorn.com.

If you’d like to sell Jody’s Popcorn in your own retail store, wholesale pricing and quantities are available. Jody’s makes a great fundraiser for your school or organization with custom packaging for special events and other special orders.

To contact Jody’s, please call 866.797.JODY or visit their Facebook page.

Browndog Creamery Keeps it Cool with Freezer Safe Labels

With an ever-changing variety of ice cream flavors as evocative as Dragon Bite, Tuscan Sun, Buttered Berry Brioche, and French Press Mocha, the owners of Browndog Creamery needed freezer safe labels and a labeling solution that could adapt to label changes on-the-fly.

For example, they may need 20 freezer safe labels for Triple Vanilla this morning, and 15 for Mystery Cookie this afternoon.  Luckily for owners Brian Scherle and Paul Gabriel, they found the Kiaro! label printer (our updated printer is now the QL-120X) to print labels for their pints of ice cream on demand, in the exact quantity that they need.

Watch How Browndog Uses the Kiaro! for All Their Gourmet Creations:

Browndog Creamery, a “micro-creamery” located in the heart of downtown Northville Michigan, west of Detroit, brings customers delicious and unique handcrafted ice creams.

Being a micro-creamery, as explained by co-owner Paul Gabriel, “basically means that we make our ice cream in very small batches. We’re not a mass factory where we make thousands of gallons of ice cream. We make about four or five gallons at a time for each flavor.”

Browndog Creamery’s unique flavor combinations are all created in-house by Gabriel and Scherle. “I always tell people I refuse to make butter pecan, so instead we make a bourbon pecan,” said Gabriel. “For our Cinco de Mayo we made a Holy Guacamole ice cream, and that’s the type of stuff that we really like: the really unique, creative stuff that you’re not going to find anywhere else. “

The Perfect Freezer Safe Label For Every Single Batch

Browndog rotates flavors of ice creams so frequently because each batch made in their micro-creamery is only a few gallons. Even before they opened their business, they knew that using pre-printed labels wouldn’t make any sense, because buying minimum orders of labels would lead to excessive costs and way too much label inventory for their small backroom.

“I knew we would be running small batches of ice cream and I didn’t want to take an inventory of a hundred or a thousand labels of one flavor because I knew we might only need ten,” said Gabriel. “The Kiaro! has been a wonderful fit in our business to allow us to make these very small run labels and customize them to everything that we needed to do.”

“Being able to create products and without having to go to a mass printing,” has been a boon to business said, Scherle. “Using the Kiaro! printer to label our ice cream, and to create amazing and attractive packaging is just part and parcel of creating our products.”

Scherle described his first impressions of the Kiaro!, “When it was delivered I found that it’s bright purple. Upon seeing it, I was pleasantly surprised that the Kiaro! looks as fun as it is to use.  It’s a good addition to our shop.”

Kiaro! Labels Handle Freezing Temps  

One of Browndog’s chief concerns was whether or not their Kiaro! labels would stand up to the freezing temperatures necessary for storing ice cream.

“The synthetic material that we use for the pint labels is pretty resistant to water and we actually label the pints after they’ve gone through the freezing process,” said Gabriel.  “We were a little skeptical about how they would adhere to a frozen pint, but the Kiaro! labels do quite well.”

“It’s surprising how fast the printer is,” said Gabriel.  “We have taught some of our employees how to use the Kiaro! and besides its flexibility and other benefits, it’s also very easy to use. The first time one of our managers used it she thought, ‘oh goodness I have to print out 150 labels that are going to take all day’ and they started to come out and she was trying hard to keep up with the printer, and roll labels up so they weren’t all over the floor, it was actually quite humorous,” added Scherle. “The print speed is amazing.”

More Questions About Label Printing?

The Kiaro! digital label printer lets you print gorgeous labels while reducing excess label inventory, saving you time, and allowing you to make more money. The Kiaro! gives you control over your entire labeling process, and allows you to more affordably label your products.

Contact us today to schedule your virtual demonstration.

About Browndog Creamery…

frozen food labelsBrowndog Creamery is a gourmet ice cream shop and dessert bar on East Main St. in Northville, MI. “Browndog started off as an ice cream line,  but we also now have a retail space where we sell t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, and gift cards; along with our own unique blend of coffee,” said co-owner Brian Scherle. “Plus, we now have a pastry chef who is making anything from a simple ice cream cakes all the way up to wedding cakes and specialized cookies, so we’re becoming a full-fledged creamery and dessert bar.”

Stop by their gourmet ice cream shop and dessert bar on 118 East Main St. in Northville, MI, visit them on Facebook, follow them on twitter @browndogcreamery, and stop by their website Browndogcreamery.com

 

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and connect with us on LinkedIn.

Important Changes for EU Food Labeling Requirements

Important Information: EU Food Labeling Regulations

There are several new changes to EU Food Labeling Requirements in the European Union, and we’ve compiled information to make you aware of them, and more importantly, to help you comply with them – whether you are based in Europe, or exporting to a European country.

There are three things customers generally look for when they’re purchasing food: quality, safety, and security. You have the quality aspect down pat, but the safety and security part is receiving some changes that are crucial to be aware of.

Quick Overview of New EU Food Label Regulation

The new EU Regulation 1169/2011 is making some important changes in legislation for requirements about the information on food labels such as origin information/provenance of animals for meats, allergen information, and more specific fat to collagen ratios for minced meats to consumers.

Allergy Amendments

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Legislation ensuring that allergy information is overtly displayed on all food labels will come into effect on December 13, 2014. This upcoming legislative change states that separate allergy boxes are no longer allowed.

That is, a separate area for only allergy contents will be prohibited, and in its stead, those contents will be contained in the ingredients list either in bold, highlighted, or printed in a contrasting color.

Country of Origin Meat Labeling/Provenance Labeling Amendments

One extremely important amendment that was implemented recently (on December 13, 2013) regards the “mandatory origin labeling of unprocessed meat from pigs, sheep, goats, and poultry,” according to the official European Commission (EC) website. Another small, yet important amendment, implemented on January 1, 2014, outlines requirements concerning the designation of “minced meat.”

The minced meat requirements dictate that both the percentage of fat must appear on the label, as well as the collagen to meat ratio. Exact numbers can be found on Annex VI, Part B of the full regulation description.

How to Make EU Allergy Labels

eu labeling requirements

The part of these new EU food labeling regulations that applies to the majority of food producers is the fact that you will have to clearly present allergen information on your label if your product has any of the 14 recognized allergens.

You must highlight each allergen so that it catches the eye of a consumer.

It is up to the food producer to determine how to highlight the presence of an allergen on the food label ingredients list, but options are likely to include the use of text in a contrasting color and boldface type.

There are also minimum font sizes and phrases that should be used. The 14 food allergens recognized by the EU are as follows:

  • Cereals containing gluten
  • Celery
  • Crustaceans
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Lupin (plant in the legume family)
  • Milk
  • Mollusks
  • Mustard
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sulphur dioxide and sulphites

Some common phrases used to denote that there may be allergens in the food through cross-contamination include but are not limited to “may contain x” or “made on equipment that also processes x.”

All of these regulations call for changes in labels that could be expensive if your business does not make use of in-house label printing that can be easily tailored to specific needs.

More about Country of Origin Meat Labeling in the EU

Prior to the implementation of these regulations, country of origin labeling was only required for certain food types. It needed to be present on food types such as honey, fruit and vegetables, fish, beef and beef products, olive oil, wine, eggs, imported poultry, and spirits.

However, the official document COM(2013) 755, section 4, references the Food Chain Evaluation Consortium (FCEC) study, which found that 48% of meat consumers in the EU say that meat origin is of fifth most important when deciding what to purchase.

This prompted the European Parliament and Council to extend the mandate to all unprocessed pig, poultry, sheep, and goat meat. Also, it is now required that minced meat display on its packaging the percentage of fat content, and the collagen/meat ratio.

What the European Commission (EC) calls “cumulative traceability” is a new requirement as of December 13, 2013. It states that food manufacturers must list on their label the country of birth of their meat, the country in which it was raised, the country of slaughter, and the country in which it was processed.

The EC had to revamp the regulations about the way animal information was passed along from various suppliers so that there could be an established database containing the detailed history of each animal, therefore making it easier for you all to comply with these new countries of origin labeling laws.

EU Food Labeling Compliance Made Easy

A significant change that you may have to make to your existing label format is the removal of an “allergy box.”

This means that the content of allergens in your food product cannot be isolated in its own area on the label; rather it must be listed in bold, highlighted, underlined, or in the colored text as part of the normal ingredient list.

The QL-120X color label printer allows you to easily add color to specific text so that you are able to comply with the new regulations, satisfy your customers with easily seen allergen information, and even boost sales by enhancing your product aesthetically. QL-120X color label printer is the most efficient way to make changes to your labels.

Printing in-house provides many benefits such as the ability to manage every aspect of the printing process and make changes as needed without waste or downtime. You are able to print labels in any batch size, small to large, or for any product type; seasonal to the flagship.

You can even print your labels in captivating 1200 dpi, making for crisp, clear color on your labels that adds appeal to your packaging, and catch the eyes of new customers!
This color option is perfect for complying with the new requirement to add allergy information, which can require contrasting colors because label edits can be easily made through labeling software such as NiceLabel, which works seamlessly with our QuickLabel color label printers.

Easy software compatibility allows for templates to be created so you can automatically add information to labels, without having to constantly recreate fields for entering origin and allergen information.

Where Can I Learn More about EU Food Labeling Requirements?

If you are so inclined, you are able to access more information about these new regulations on the official EC page. Also, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) of the UK has a page with useful information about the allergen labeling aspect in the EU.