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Local Label Solutions – 3 New England Producers

Our business has been rooted in Vermont for decades and in that time we’ve had the pleasure of partnering with some of New England’s leading, local brands. From specialty foods, to craft beer and hemp producers, we’ve teamed up with some of the areas most well-known companies, delivering custom label solutions that stick.

When it comes to labels and packaging, every business has its own unique set of challenges.  We’ve picked up our fair share of tricks along the way and our years of experience help us to fast-track custom label solutions for all kinds of customers. We thought we’d share some of the issues we’ve come across over our years in business. So, we picked few of our favorite, local companies and with their blessing, decided to tell you a little more about how we helped them overcome their labeling hurdles.

North Country Smokehouse

local label solutions, food labels, custom food labels, specialty food labels, custom labels

As one of the America’s few remaining, family owned smokehouses, North Country Smokehouse has been crafting artisanal smoked meats and cheeses for more than a century. Their new smokehouse is located in Claremont, NH and as you can imagine, producing smoky meats for the masses means meeting strict safety, environmental, and equipment standards.

Challenge: NCS moved into a new facility just a few short months before we met them, and with that came a long-list of challenges. The company had been labeling their products the same way for years and up until the move, they had it all figured out. That was, until their first day of production in the new smokehouse. The labels were no longer sticking but why?

Solution: Our label gurus headed on over to the new smokehouse. Choosing a local label provider means feet on the ground when problems arise. After a brief assessment, we learned that the new smokehouse was built with tighter temperature controls and the label application was a bit colder than it was previously. The temperature changes, however small, were preventing the adhesive from binding to the flexible packaging substrate. We paired a new aggressive, cold temp adhesive with a polypropylene media and moisture resistant over laminate, and had NCS up and running again in no time.

Bent Hill Brewing

local label solutions, craft beer labels, beer bottle labels, beer can labels

This three barrel brewery is located on a 16-acre farm in the Braintree Mountain range of central Vermont. They produce a variety of artisanal craft beers using ingredients from their own land. They grow their own hops, blackberries, blueberries, currants, and cherries. How cool is that?

Brewing over 20 different styles of beer means they had a lot to think about – and anyone who knows anything about craft beer knows one thing. These days – the labels are everything.

Challenges: The first order of business for Bent Hill was finding a local label provider that can respond quickly and ship fast. The brewery is known for producing seasonal flavors in short runs and it was important to them that their provider be quick and nimble. Next in line, was sourcing a cost effective label supplier who could print variable labels without stacking up expensive setup fees.  When you have two dozen label versions, hidden artwork charges can add up fast. Last but not least, beer cans are made from aluminum and have a smooth surface. The low surface energy of the beer cans and cold, wet environments required ultimate label performance.

Solution: With over a decade of experience labeling craft beer cans, we were more than familiar with Bent Hill’s label requirements. Our low label minimums, complimentary setup for variable designs and 5-day shipping guarantee made us the right fit for this brewery, and lucky for us, we’ve been printing their labels for some time. We worked with them to pair specialty media with the right cold temp adhesive combination that survives refrigerated environments and enhances their intricate label designs. 

VT Bacon Soap

local label solutions, cosmetics labels, soap labels, custom health and beauty labels

If you cock your head to the right, stand on one foot and squint – you can see Okemo Mountain from our office. At the base of the mountain sits VT Bacon Soap. In case the name didn’t give it away, they make soap…. with BACON. Aside the obvious points for coolest company ever, their making strides towards sustainability by producing soaps, shower gels and sugar scrubs that are phthalate and paraben free, non GMO, without harsh chemicals or preservatives. Despite everything they’re doing right, the fact remains, labeling soap can be hard. 

Challenge:

VT Bacon Soap called us looking for a flexible label with good contour to accommodate their specialty shapes. The label had to hug the soap just right, without cracking, wrinkling or curling. It also had to survive the life cycle of the product by resisting oils and residue, to maintain a shelf stable presentation.

Solution:

First things first – we sent multiple sets of media over for testing. With a little finesse and a  lot of teamwork, VT Bacon Soap found a media combination that was malleable enough for their specialty label shapes and could withstand the soaps natural characteristics. Our laser cutting Spartanics system meant VT Bacon Soap could avoid expensive tooling charges, and by printing digitally, they saved money on color charges. This was an ideal solution for their them, being that their custom soap labels are vibrant with a full color floodcoat.

So, there you have it. Three local label challenges and the solutions that made them stick. For more information about how ImageTek Labels can help you overcome your labeling hurdles, simply drop us line by emailing sales@imageteklabels.com or calling (866) 403-5223.

Meet Us at the New England Food Show

The New England Food Show food show, food labeling, new england foods
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
March 3 & 4 – Boston, Massachusetts

The New England Food Show is one of our favorite events of the year. Bringing together foodservice exhibitors and experts from all over the region, this events gives show go’ers the chance to make connections that will strengthen their business. Attendees can take advantage of educational seminars that cover topics like operational efficiency, staff training and product packaging. Foodservice professionals can source the regions best, local ingredients and learn more about leading, culinary technology.

As one of the industry’s premier gatherings, this 3-day event is a great way for producers to learn more about specialty food label printing and packaging solutions. This year, the New England Food Show is introducing educational seminars for attendees in search of digital technology and non-commercial foodservice solutions. ImageTek Labels will be available to provide complimentary label samples to attendees in search of label solutions. Request a quick meet & greet and chat with our team about custom labels and auto apply labeling systems.

New England Food Show Schedule

Sunday, March 3
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Monday, March 4
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 5
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Learn more about exhibiting at the event.

Learn more about educational opportunities at the show.

Bioengineered Foods – Disclosure and Labeling Law

USDA bioengineered foods

Bioengineered Food & Label Compliance

Bioengineered foods will soon require disclosure and labeling compliance per the USDA. On December 20, 2018, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, announced the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law, passed by Congress in July of 2016, requires the USDA establish a national standard for disclosing foods that are or may be bioengineered.

Per the new standard, “bioengineered foods are those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through certain lab techniques and cannot be created through conventional breeding or found in nature”. Foods that meet the new bioengineered definition must be clearly marked with the new bioengineered seal.

The new standard is effective as of January 1, 2020, with the exception of small food manufacturers whose implementation date is January 1, 2021. The mandatory compliance for all U.S. based food producers is January 1, 2022. Food producers are encouraged to voluntarily comply with the new standard prior to the deadlines.

Bioengineered Foods List

A list of Bioengineered foods has been developed by The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and can be used to identify the crops or foods that are available in a bioengineered form throughout the world.  Regulated entities must maintain records about the manufacture of bioengineered foods and disclose their production of bioengineered foods to such entities.

Several disclosure options are available for food manufacturers, importers, and certain retailers being required to appropriately disclose their bioengineered foods information. Regulated entities are accepting text, symbol, electronic or digital link, and/or text messages as part of the disclosure process. Additional options such as a phone number or web address are available to small food manufacturers or for small and very small packages.

To learn more about the Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standards, please visit the USDA website. Producers may download a copy of the USDA mandated Bioengineered Food Disclosure labels here.

Bioengineered Food Labels for Compliance

To order bioengineered food labels please contact ImageTek Labels by emailing sales@imageteklabels.com or call (866) 403-5223. Custom sizes and roll dimensions can be created to fit your product packaging and auto apply equipment. Our specialty label media is designed to withstand cold storage, freezing temperatures and a variety of food packaging surfaces.

New England Made – Find ImageTek Labels at Booth 900

New England Made

New England Made Giftware & Specialty Food Show

This one of a kind show, curates some of the best that New England artisan have to offer.
Find us at Booth 900 on March 17-19 at the Portland Sports Complex in Portland, Maine.

ImageTek Labels will attend the New England Made Giftware & Specialty Food Show, March 17-19th at the Portland Sports Complex in Portland, Maine. This year, organizers celebrate the show’s 32nd consecutive year by inviting juried artisan to assemble in presenting the finest New England made giftware, specialty food and home furnishings to wholesalers from all across the country who gather in search of quality, locally manufactured products.

This annual event continues to attract authentic New England made crafters and is a true reflection of expertly crafted products that originate in the Eastern states. The show offers a venue for wholesale buyers to spend some one-on-one time with each artisan and learn more about their mission and unique talent. This event supports local business, encourages relationships between whole- sale buyers and the business owners and inevitably puts the best products in front of consumers. Each year, more than 250 producers will exhibit their products at The New England Made Giftware and Specialty Food Show. Absolutely no importers are allowed to attend the event, making it easy for wholesalers to source locally manufactured food, home furnishings, jewelry, apparel and art.

Visit Us at Booth 900 and Request Samples in Advance

ImageTek Labels looks forward to connecting with new and existing New England based businesses. Having partnered with a wide variety of consumable product manufacturers over the years, ImageTek understands the unique challenges associated with lean manufacturing; a huge benefit for the artisan producers tasked with managing time and production efficiencies. ImageTek continues to evolve with the newest digital print technology and the New England Made Giftware & Specialty Food Show is a wonderful opportunity to present these strides to New England producers.

For more information about The New England Made Giftware & Specialty Food Show please visit www.nemadeshows.com. Exhibitors may request sample media kits to be delivered in-hand on the during the event by contacting ImageTek Labels by emailing sales@imageteklabels.com or call (866) 403-5223.

Vermont Cheesemakers’ Festival Celebrates 9 Years!

VT cheese and dairy Join ImageTek Labels at the 9th Annual Vermont Cheesemakers’ Festival hosted by the Vermont Cheese Council on Saturday, July 16th, 2017 at the Coach Barn on Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont. This open market festival has been chosen by Fodor’s Travel as one of the “10 Best Summer Food Festivals in the United States.” The festival is designed as an open farmers market with 45 cheesemakers and over 90 Vermont and regional artisan food producers.

Vermont Cheesemakers’ Festival Details

The Vermont Cheesemakers festival brings together cheese, wine, beer, cider, spirits, and specialty food producers for a day of tastings, demonstrations and educational workshops.

Vermont is the leading artisanal cheese state with the highest number of cheesemakers per capita. This event is an experience all its own where attendees can network with food and beverage producers who share a passion for the craft.  Event participants will taste a variety of fresh, local foods and wines, as well as to learn all about the process used in making these fan favorite products. Spend a beautiful summer day along the shores of Lake Champlain sampling, buying and learning! Come and celebrate the Vermont summer season.

Participating food and beverage producers will compete in the “Best of the Fest” Awards, where leading producers are crowned for their perfectly crafted artisan products. This year, MapleBrook Farm defends their Best of Cheese title, Laughing Moon Chocolates comes prepared to hold tight  to their Artisanal Food title, and Idletime Brewing Company competes to maintain their hard-earned craft brew crown.

Vermont Cheesemaker Event Tickets & Pricing

General Admission Tickets are now on sale through Eventbrite for $60.00 plus $4.29 in handling fees. Tickets include a wine glass and shopping bag.  Children under 3 are admitted free. VIP Tickets are available and include VIP Valet Parking, separate VIP Entry, official Vermont Cheesemakers Festival tote and glass, entry to the Lakeside Libations Celebration from 9-10:30 AM, and one reserve ticket to Educational Seminars (choose the seminar on the day of the festival- first come, first served.)

View a full Event Calendar by visiting http://vtcheesefest.com/

Craft Brewers Face Added Nutritional Testing Expenses

Craft Brewers May be Forced into Big Beer Business

craft brewersCraft Brewers are at risk of incurring added manufacturing expenses. The Beer Institute, a trade association based in Washington, D.C. that represents brewers both big and small, as well as importers and suppliers to the beer industry, has recently published what it calls “The Brewer’s Voluntary Disclosure Initiative.”  The idea is for craft brewers and importers to voluntarily agree to disclose certain information to consumers – calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, and alcohol by volume or weight on the product label. The Initiative also calls for listing all ingredients and a freshness date on either the custom label or secondary packaging or through a website reference or bar code.  In theory, this will allow consumers to make better-informed decisions.  Some consumers may appreciate having the information available, but others probably would rather avoid it. Think about it – do you really want to know exactly how many calories are in that beer?

Many of the big beer companies like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors have already agreed to follow these guidelines. This is not a surprise, since the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Beer Institute are big shots with Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, respectively. But the more pressing reason is that starting in May of 2018, the FDA is requiring restaurants with 20 or more locations nationwide to disclose calories and other nutrition information for standard menu items, including beverages.  Many chain restaurants have been providing most of this information for some time, as the compliance date initially was set to be earlier but has been extended several times.

If a new or existing craft brewery seeks to distribute its beer to restaurants, it may need to factor nutritional testing into startup or business costs. The cost of testing a batch of beer to gather this information is estimated to be between $300 and $1,000. Small craft brewers may not be able to bear these costs without increasing their prices. Although craft beer offers on large chain restaurant menus are relatively few and far between, if an enticing opportunity arose for a craft brewer to sell its beer at such a place, it would miss that chance if it could not provide the required information to the restaurant. It is not yet clear what liability a brewer may have for providing erroneous information in this regard, but to avoid unnecessary risks brewers  will need to ensure their data is accurate. And consumers of craft beer may end up eating (drinking?) the cost.

For more information about craft beer and nutrition labeling visit thebeerinstitute.com. This article was published by JPSupra.com,  a daily source of legal intelligence on all topics business and personal.

2017 VRGA Convention & Exposition

2017 VRGA Convention & Exposition - Image Tek Digital Labels

ImageTek Labels is excited to announce that they will be exhibiting at the 2017 VRGA Convention & Expo exhibitor on April 28th at the Hilton Burlington, Vermont. This is a business-to-business event loaded with multiple networking opportunities over 2 days, with 8 information sessions and over 50 local and national exhibitors with quality goods and services at every price point for businesses of all sizes.

2-DAY CONVENTION & EXPO SCHEDULE

THURSDAY, APRIL 27 

  • 8:30 – 5:00 PM ServSafe® Certification Class & Exam – SOLD OUT
  • 6:00 PM Laughs at Vermont Comedy Club
  • 7:00 – 10:00 PM Brewery Hop: Switchback Brewery, Queen City Brewery, Zero Gravity Brewery, Citizen Cider & Foam Brewers
  • 9:00 PM Late Night at Nectar’s

FRIDAY, APRIL 28 

  • 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM Information sessions
  1. The Future of Healthcare in Vermont: Understanding the drivers of health costs & how it impacts you.
  2. How to Tackle Waste Regulation to be Compliant: What the Universal Recycling & Composting Law means for your business.
  3. Invest in Your Hiring Strategy: Learn how to recruit, hire and retain engaged and dedicated talent.
  4. Improving the Customer Experience: Creating unique experiences to increase customer growth and loyalty.
  5. Organized Retail Crime: Facts and Realities: What is the driving force of Organized Retail Crime & what tools and stories can help you prevent it from happening in your business.
  6. Smarter Energy Investing: Creative ways to save you money now while being an investment in your future.
  7. Maximizing Your Customer Base and Revenue in an Online World: Digital business strategies to attract customers to your website and your store.
  8. Social Media Strategies for Success: Quick tips for success at all experience levels.
  • 12:00 – 5:00 PM Tradeshow: Featuring 50+ exhibitors from local and national companies to answer your questions and provide quality solutions. Enjoy multiple raffle prize giveaways throughout the day and a GRAND PRIZE, product demonstrations, networking and so much more!Information Sessions & Tradeshow are FREE for members $10 for nonmembers or save 50% by registering online by April 21st.
  • 5:30 PM VIP Food & Beverage Pairing Workshop: Limited to 24 tickets. Presented by Farrell Distributing Cicerone Certified Beer Servers. This also includes your ticket to Vermonte Carlo afterwards.
  • 6:00 PM Vermonte Carlo: Network the night away with unlimited samples of local beer, cider, wine PLUS complimentary beverages, a cash bar, a buffet dinner and $250 of casino chips for a nigh of entertaining casino games.

Participating vendors will network with Retailers, Grocers, Specialty Food & Beverages Producers, Manufacturers and related Business Services Providers at this highly-anticipated annual event. Online registration is available at VRGA17.eventbrite.com. Follow Vermont Retail & Grocers Association on Facebook or #VRGA17 on twitter for the latest news.

Free Custom Samples on NEW Orders and 20% Off Your Purchase

Spring into Savings! (1)

There are all kinds of ways to take advantage of ImageTek Label’s Spring Savings Promotion! Whether you have a new seasonal label design, you’re introducing new products to an existing line or you’ve simply never done business with us,
you can cash in on quality labels!

FREE custom label samples on all first-time label orders & new designs! That would be our first-time, not yours.
If we’ve never printed your label design, you qualify.

If you place your order within 14 days of receiving your custom label samples you get 20% off your purchase.

No catch – just a deadline. All sample requests must be placed by 5pm on Friday, March 17, 2017.

To order your custom label samples, contact us at sales@imageteklabels.com or call (866) 403-5223.

Imagetek Labels Expands Digital Printing Capabilities

Cheese Labels: A Producers Guide to Labeling

Cheese labeling has it’s own unique set of specifications set forth by the Department of Food Safety in the state of origin. Producers are challenged with not only creating a label thatCheese Labels provides brand identity and shelf appeal but also contains all the necessary components of a proper nutrition label. By following these guidelines, you will be able to produce a cheese product label that will meet food safety requirements with ease.

NAME OF PRODUCT: First, name your product with either a “Standard of identity” name, the common or usual name of the food or an appropriately descriptive term. The standard of identity must be used if the cheese fits the standard. Examples of standard of identity names include: Cheddar Cheese, Monterey Jack Cheese, Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese Common or usual names like String Cheese, Farmers Cheese, Farmers Pepper Cheese, Low-Moisture, Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese. A semisoft cheese spiced or flavored standardized cheeses should be labeled with the spice at the beginning or the end of the cheese name. The spice or flavor name must not be between the cheese variety and the word “cheese”. Examples include Caraway Colby Cheese, Salami Cheddar Cheese, Colby Cheese with Caraway, Cheddar Cheese with Salami (the word cheese must be included in the name of the product). The name of the product must be in a type size that is 50 % the height of the largest print on the label and generally parallel to the base of the package. All words in the name need to be given equal prominence. You cannot make the word cheese or the variety of the cheese used stand out more than the rest of the name. Any optional ingredients that are required to be declared on the label should not be given greater prominence than the name of the food.

NET QUANTITY OF CONTENTS: Next, determine the quantity of your cheese product. The total quantity must be located on the front of the package (the principal display panel). This includes random weight packages. The quantity must be stated in US Customary (e.g., pounds and ounces) and metric units EXCEPT for random weight packages that are labeled at retail. These packages are exempt from the requirements for metric units. When a product exceeds 16 ounces, the net quantity of contents needs to be stated in the largest whole unit (e.g., pound, pint, quart, gallon) and the remaining ounces.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Next, fill in your nutrition facts panel. The Full Format Nutrition Facts panel must be used on packages where the available labeling space is greater than 40 square inches. Single packs of slices, 6 ounce cups of shredded cheese, half moon blocks and large wedges are all package sizes that usually fit this size requirement. If there is less than 40 square inches of label space, the following are allowed in descending order of preference. 1. The column (vertical) display. The table at the bottom is replaced with a sentence stating, “Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.” 2. The tabular display 2. The linear (or string) format of the Nutrition Facts panel. Linear may only be used on packages when the package cannot accommodate a tabular display on any panel. Please note that cheese companies in particular are using the linear format with increasing frequency because they prefer how it looks on the label. This is undesirable and does not comply with NLEA requirements. The label is often designed this way because the companies do not want to use two labels. Remember that Nutrition Facts panels are based on the total available labeling space on the package. For cheese, this is the wrapped block minus the seams.

SERVING SIZE: Once you have completed your full nutrition panel, you must determine the serving size. The serving size could be measured in ounces or by a visual description must be used e.g. 1 ounce (28 g/about 1” cube). For random weight packages, the servings per container should be stated as “varied.” For exact weight packages, servings per container should equal the net weight divided by the serving size. The servings should be rounded to the nearest whole number except those that are between 2 and 5 servings should be rounded to the nearest 0.5 servings. Rounding should be indicated by the word “about.”

INGREDIENTS STATEMENT: In most cases, ingredients must be listed in descending order of predominance by weight (most to least). To learn more about whether your cheese qualifies foringredient statement exemptions click here. Cheese producers must use full standard of identity names and common or usual names of the ingredients. Common or Usual Names for Typical Ingredients Used in Dairy Products Ingredient Common or Usual Name skim milk, concentrated skim milk, reconstituted skim, and nonfat dry milk ” skim milk” or “nonfat milk”, concentrated milk, reconstituted milk, and dry whole milk “milk” bacteria culture “cultured ____”(the blank is filled in with the name of the milk used) sweet cream buttermilk, concentrated sweet cream buttermilk, reconstituted sweet cream buttermilk and dried sweet cream buttermilk “buttermilk ” whey, and concentrated whey are common ingredients. All sub-ingredients must be listed. Do not use extra words in the ingredient statement e.g. diced (as in diced peppers), whole (as in whole milk), fresh (as in fresh basil) All added colors result in an artificially colored food. No added color can be declared as “food” or “natural” color. Cheese cannot be called “natural” if it has annatto color. Food ingredients such as garlic, onion and celery cannot be included under the collective term “spice.” They must be listed individually. “Herb” and “herbs” can not be used as collective terms in an ingredient statement. Use the word “spice” or list all spices by name.

For more information about labeling cheese products, visit the Vermont Department of Agriculture. To learn more about having cheese label preprinted for wax and non wax coated products, contact ImageTek Labels.

* Article content was sourced by the T and Wisconsin Agricultural Department approved standards for cheese product labeling.