Labels, linking products and consumers


Labeling is the link between the product and consumers. When a consumer buys a product they rely on the processor to provide information about what it is, what ingredients are in it, and how much of it there is. Labeling makes showing that information straightforward for processors to show information on all of their products with a cohesive and easy to read design. A label, in essence, is the physical representation of traceability.

The importance of labeling within food processing comes from its ability to speak to information about the product. With growing demands for traceability both from consumers and regulations, processors need a way to display the required information about their product. Labeling provides that display for them.

What is the best method of labeling?

One of the questions processors must ask themselves is whether or not their methods for labeling product is helping or hurting them. Before the development of software solutions, processors had to use pen and paper methods of marking product before it went to dispatch. There’s a lot of risk with these methods though as they are inherently susceptible to human error, be it writing the wrong information on the wrong product or even just having handwriting that’s hard to read.

The problem with traditional labeling methods

When we think of traditional labeling methods, we think of people writing what a product is on a box much like we might do with leftovers we are freezing at home. While this system might be fine for a smaller scale or for personal use, once you start trying to implement it into a larger production it can very quickly cause issues when it comes to traceability.

Traditional methods come with the inherent risk of human error, from incorrectly labeling a box to simply having handwriting that’s hard to read. While some methods are slightly more advanced than this, say creating a label in a word document and printing it out, without a software solution the cohesiveness of label design and implementation of new data into them can be troublesome.

It poses the question: How much confidence do you have in your current labeling system? Are the right labels on the right boxes? The dangers of that kind of mistake can be anywhere from having to recall and replace the product to potentially losing the entire contract with that customer.

Innova for food labeling systems

Innova software is solving food processors' challenges. Watch the webcast "Labeling by Design" now.

Why software?

If you’re facing risks like potentially having a shipment be rejected because the label on it doesn’t meet the customer or regulatory requirements, this should be an easy question to answer. To take a step back from that though, what do you do if those requirements change suddenly? With traditional methods this could mean many hours spent recreating the labels and then replacing them on each box, assuming that the team in charge of updating the labels even has the time to make the changes immediately.

With software solutions like our Innova food processing software’s label design module, you have the information necessary to change the data on the label at your fingertips already. When combined with the drag-and-drop method for designing labels, processors can have an updated label to send to printers within minutes of receiving the new requirements. The ability to implement changes as quickly as possible is imperative to keeping production flowing smoothly within a factory and not losing product because of delays.

Additional benefits of software use

There are additional benefits to using software solutions for labeling, such as the reduction of waste as a result of on-demand printing of labels. The time spent on creating multiple label layouts is greatly reduced by having all of the necessary information available through the database. Then there’s the optimization of labeling processes and the added benefits of cohesive label styles for processors with multiple sites as the designs for labels can be easily sent to another site when necessary.

One of the biggest advantages though is the accuracy of the information on each product or box, because it is being generated by a software system there is little room for error within each. With the ability to create barcodes, software even makes accessing more information than what is printed on the label even easier for processors.

While traditional methods of labeling may seem simpler, the demands of labeling are not simple. The advantages of software solutions for labeling definitely prove their worth in their ability, and ease, towards adapting to labeling demands. So the question for processors is, are the risks traditional methods have worth taking?

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