The importance of food labels: How your labeling process can help or hinder your business

A label tells your product’s story—and it’s imperative to tell it right.

Marel Live Premium Weighing And Labeling Solutions

Labels are your product’s voice, allowing you to communicate essential information about how your food is made. Consumers need to know exactly what’s in their food, where it comes from, its nutritional content, how much of it there is, when it expires, and other important details that enable them to make informed decisions.

For food producers, labels are also crucial for branding and to ensure product traceability and compliance with regulations. Labels are highly regulated in most countries, and rules change constantly to meet the needs of an increasingly global supply chain.  

With this growing need for accurate and efficient food labeling, processors that can successfully adapt to changing conditions will be best positioned to compete today and into the future.

In this article, we dive into why modernizing your labeling process is vital and how it can benefit your business in more ways than you might expect.

Talk to an expert about Marel’s labeling solutions

Traditional labeling methods cannot keep up

Some processors still rely on methods that consist of little more than writing what a product is on a box, much like we might do when placing leftovers in our freezer at home. While some methods are slightly more advanced, for example creating a label in a Word document and printing it out, they are still slow, inefficient, and have a high risk of human error. 

Consider some scenarios where an outdated labeling process can let your business down:

  1. Your product is labeled and ready to go, but international labeling requirements change suddenly. With old-school labeling methods, your staff will have to spend many hours recreating the labels and then replacing them on each box. This can cause major delays or even a complete loss of shipments.
  2. Your product shipment gets rejected because the label on it doesn’t meet the customer’s specifications or regulatory requirements. Your customers will be left empty-handed and your staff will again have to spend valuable time and resources on fixing the problem.
  3. A contamination issue is detected at your facility, and now you need to track all of the potentially affected product as quickly and accurately as possible. With traditional labeling methods, this will be a slow and complicated process, wasting precious time that could mean the difference between a straightforward withdrawal and a large-scale product recall.

These considerable risks raise some important questions. How much confidence do you have in your current labeling system? Are you always sure that you have the right labels on the right boxes? And would your production be able to resolve the scenarios above as quickly as possible? 

Traditional Labeling Methods

The benefits of labeling software

Meet ever-changing regulatory requirements

Changing regulations are a constant struggle for exporting and selling. If you have an MES software platform with a flexible label design module, you’ll be able to immediately access product information and text to determine whether it all still meets the necessary standards. 

If you need to make any adjustments, labeling software enables you to quickly and easily update your existing label layouts. Design features also allow you to customize different label layouts based on individual customer preferences.

Create a fully traceable labeling process

After product has been packed and has exited the processing lines, you need to be able to track it. Labeling software not only provides a readable sticker to show what the product is, but also a scannable barcode with lot information, which can be used to scan product to inventory, scan it to a pallet, or scan it to an order. As long as the product is correctly labeled and scanned, it can be located in the system wherever it sits in the facility and give you an accurate record of its journey.

Unite your printers and labels in a centralized system

MES labeling software simplifies the management of all your labels by enabling you to manage all your printers and labels from one location. Any printer in the facility can print the same label design using the full range of available fonts and formatting features, with no need to download fonts or images to printers. 

Once you’ve designed a label and assigned it to a product, customer, or order from your office, you can let the system do the rest. Time spent on creating multiple label layouts is also greatly reduced by having all of the necessary information available through the database.

Increase labeling efficiency and speed

Labeling is made drastically more efficient by an MES software system that supports its own printer drivers for speedy printing, can assign label designs to different printers based on the order and product, allows reprints quickly if a label is damaged, and tracks what label has been printed and where it has been applied. A system like this helps save time and effort, reduces human error, and allows for statistical analysis to make sure the label printing process is as efficient as possible.

Display product information clearly and attractively

One of the biggest advantages of labeling software 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. Intelligent labeling software also makes it easy to brand your products with attractive labeling and useful information that help you stand out from your competitors on the supermarket shelf. 

Innova Labeling Software Can Do

Innova Labeling software can do all of this and more

As we have now seen, the food labeling process can have an enormous impact on everything from food safety to production efficiency to shipping your products on time. This is why Marel’s industry leading software experts have developed the Innova Labeling food software module.

Designed specifically for the food industry, Innova Labeling helps processors to dramatically improve the speed, ease, and accuracy of their labeling process. With Innova’s sophisticated user-friendly interface, you can easily create perfect labels that ensure your products really speak to customers and meet all the necessary regulations.

Want to learn more about Marel’s labeling solutions?

Get in touch with an expert

Get in touch

Our dedicated team is here to help and answer any questions you may have. Please complete the form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you.

Login to get full access

Enter password to continue

Wrong password