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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.

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.

Health Food Labels Help Consumers Make Better Buying Decisions

Health Food Labeling is All the Buzz

 

As Non-GMO labeling debates line the airwaves,  cultural norms take a massive shift towards more natural food alternatives.  Consumers are reading health food labels now, more than ever before and food producers find themselves having to redesign their labels and packaging in an effort to keep their products relevant and stand out on grocery store shelves.health food labels and fda nutrition content

Recent studies show an shift in consumers purchasing trends, with more and more people making buying decisions based on the ‘healthfulness’ of a product rather than price and taste alone. In addition to these buying trends, many consumers find themselves shopping at specialty health food stores in an attempt to introduce themselves to more mindful products and a wider variety of health food options. So what does that mean for the food producers?

That is a question that has raised a lot of attention from not only food producers, but also health food retail buyers and the Food & Drug Administration labeling guidelines department. With more products making nutritional value claims, using labeling terms like Fat-Free, Light and All Natural, the label guru’s at the FDA realize that not all these claims do in-fact mean healthier food alternatives.

 

Health Food Label Guidelines and The FDA

 

In short, the Food & Drug Administration is looking for ways to tighten the health food compliance guidelines and differentiate health options from those masking themselves as mindful choices when they are in fact loaded with sugar and byproducts.

While it is important for producers to understand what types of health food factors influence buying decisions, it is imperative that they also understand what constitutes a valid health food claim and how to properly label their products. By doing so, not only are health food producers better able to design labels that help them sell their products but they are able to identify fraudulent products that might be intruding on their market share. In the long run, the more producers know and understand health food labeling guidelines, the easier it will be to communicate superior products to a health conscience audience.

 

Health Food Content Label Claims

 

Health food content label claims are made all the time. By simply opening your fridge, you are likely to find items claiming to be fat-free,fat free label claims low in sodium, or light. Unfortunately, consumers are learning that those claims don’t always mean a more healthy food product. Any item that is made by process, i.e.; engineered to alter the core ingredients of a whole food can only claim their products are ‘free’, ‘low’ or ‘without benefit of special processing, alteration, formulation or reformulation’; e.g., “broccoli, a fat-free food” or “celery, a low calorie food”. If the core whole food ingredient is not considered ‘fat-free’, or ‘low in sodium’, than the engineered byproduct through manufacture is not authorized to make the claim.

 

Health Food Nutrient Label Claims

 

Never mind content claims, what about nutritional value claims? How many times have you seen health food products that claim to cure you from certain ailments or prevent you from getting certain diseases by simple consumption of the product? The FDA has cracked down on these nutritional labels claims, mandating that health food labels use words like “may, could or might” on their labels to avoid giving the impression that their products alone are capable of overall better health or disease prevention.

An example of this would be a carton of milk. Not long ago consumers would see labels that claimed milk would “prevent osteoporosis” and “ensure strong bones”. Today, the same milk producers have traded in these broad label claims for more model statements like “adequate calcium throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet” and “may reduce the risk of osteoporosis”.

 

For other examples or to learn more about health food labeling and FDA guidelines visit www.fda.gov. For questions related to health food labeling contact ImageTek Labels at sales@imageteklabels.com or by call (866) 403-5223.  You may request a white page on FDA labeling guidelines by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Label News: The Cost of GMO Labeling

The debate rages on, but few are actually clear on how much this could cost consumers (as well as converters).

Few topics are as emotionally charged as the food we eat. It is the centerpiece of nearly every milestone in life. We use it to celebrate, to mourn, to comfort, and, as noted in a previous L&NW article, to achieve health. So, it comes as no surprise that the ongoing debate over genetically modified foods (specifically, whether or not they should be labeled as such), has reached a fever pitch.

Numerous food agencies of varying authority have deemed GMO foods as safe for consumption. However, several European

countries have banned their production and sale, and several states in the US are considering doing the same. Because the bans are relatively new, however, few people can say with any certainty what the costs might be, and whether or not they’re worth it. Here’s what we do know so far:

Last year, the Washington Academy of Sciences released a report called White Paper on Washington State Initiative 522: Labeling of Foods Containing Genetically Modified Ingredients. At the time of the report’s release, panel co-chair Eugene Nester, emeritus professor of microbiology at the University of Washington, told the Seattle Times that “the numbers just aren’t there, and the numbers that are there vary widely.” The debate has, unsurprisingly, become partisan, with each side throwing their own “facts” out into the void. Pro-labeling ads that were run  in Washington claimed that passing I-522 wouldn’t raise the cost of food for consumers. Opponents, citing a study, claimed the average food bill for a family of four would increase by $450 per year.

Once the Washington Academy of Sciences took a look at the data – collected largely after failed efforts in Oregon and California and successful labeling in Europe – they determined that the primary cost of labeling GMO products comes not from the actual labeling, but from food producers “having to separate genetically enhanced ingredients from other foods.”

The panel said, “Mandatory labeling is likely to affect trade and impose higher costs on firms producing and selling products in Washington. These costs are likely to be passed on to the consumer in higher food prices.”

Other studies have had conflicting results. Opponents of GMO labeling often cite a study by the Northbridge Environmental Management Consultants. That report had a similar finding to the Washington Academy of Sciences; researches concluded that the costs would be incurred at the production level and would be passed on to consumers. Conversely, the Alliance for Natural Health, a “pro-labeling” organization based out of the UK, determined that consumers will likely see no increase in prices.

Recently, Slate examined the inconsistency in these estimates: “This disparity hinges less on sloppy science or ideological bias than a basic disagreement over how food suppliers and consumers would react to a freshly minted GMO label. One side – the no cost/low cost advocates – equates a labeling mandate with little more than the paper and ink required to manufacture the label. The idea here is that food suppliers and consumers wouldn’t necessarily shift their purchasing choices in the face of a GMO designation. Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott gave a nod to this assumption when he asked, ‘Ever seen the words ‘new and improved’ on some boxed delicacy?’ His implication was that the consumer’s gaze glosses over new labels all the time without leading to a radical shift in purchasing behavior. Why would it be any different with a GMO label?”

In spite of the potential costs to consumers, one could make the argument, from a converter’s perspective, that labeling GMO foods could be costly. The process for labeling GMO foods may very well be similar to labeling a line of products with multiple SKUs. Converters who use digital equipment may not bat an eye at the proposed regulations. But, in states where GMO labeling could soon be made mandatory, it could change the local landscape in terms of competition for converters.  – See more at: http://www.labelandnarrowweb.com/contents/view_online-exclusives/2014-05-27/label-news-the-cost-of-gmo-labeling/#sthash.58saSDT3.dpuf

Published by L&NW; June, 2014.

Non-GMO Labeling may be Mandatory in Vermont

Non-GMO Labeling may be Mandatory in Vermont by July 1, 2016

Vermont will likely be the first state to make the labeling of genetically modified food products mandatory. After a 35-minute debate on Wednesday, the Vermont Senate has approved a bill previously passed by the house in 2013, with a 114 to 30 sweep, in favor of labeling products containing GMO’s. The new bill will take effect July 1, 2016 and require labeling of all products that contain GMO’s.

Genetically modified organisms are foods that contain corn, soy or other plants that have been inserted with a gene from an unrelated species, to give them certain characteristics (like resistance to insects or enhanced nutrients). The impacts this bill will have on Vermont food producers is huge, with 70-80 percent of packaged food on a typical supermarket’s store shelves needing to be relabeled.   The bill grants the Attorney General’s Office the job of establishing rules surrounding the labels. Those requirements have yet to be released but the goal is clear, to decrease the risk to humans who ingest products containing genetically modified organisms.  Studies on the effects of GMO’s to humans are still in their infancy. With these organisms becoming popular in 1990, many believe the dangers of this manufacturing won’t be fully evident for years to come.

Along with the labeling of GMO’s, legislation is also seeking to ban the use of genetically modified seeds until labeling requirements can be more clearly defined. Labeling is already required in 64 countries but not the U.S. A few states like Maine and Connecticut have passed labeling laws but under the ruling, those laws won’t take effect until neighboring states have also joined the cause. Vermont lawmakers have rejected that route and supporters of the food labeling bill hope their efforts will clear the way for other states to do the same. “As Vermont goes, so goes the nation,” said Rep. Kate Webb, D-Shelburne, lead sponsor of the bill.

To read H.112, the GMO labeling bill, visit http://tiny.cc/8jesex. This law affects all food producers with the exception of meat, dairy, liquor and prepared food sold in restaurants.

For producers effected by the new bill, three options for wording are available, they are: “produced with genetic engineering.”, “partially produced with genetic engineering,” or “may be produced with genetic engineering,”. The labeling regulation will likely have an impact on product sales for many of these producers, as consumers will be able to compare products and choose non-GMO options.

To stay ahead of the bill and stand out on the grocery store shelve, ImageTek Labels is encouraging Vermont food producers to modify there labels early and in advance of labeling regulations. For more information about how you can digitally print your labels please contact sales@imageteklabels.com.

 

Whole Foods Announces Mandatory Labeling of all Genetically Engineered Food Products by 2018

The use of Non-GMO labels on your products has been suggested prior to the date of mandate. As Whole Food does favor Non-GMO products before foods which contain genetically modified ingredients.
To stay ahead of the curve and make sure your products not only meet future requirements but stand out from the competition, ImageTek has offered a few NON-GMO labels to our online store. For your convenience, stock and custom NON-GMO Labels are available and can be delivered in just three business days!
Non-GMO certification is suggested but not required. Certification can be attained through the NON-GMO Project organization. For information and fee’s associated with certifying your products please visit http://www.nongmoproject.org/
Once a business completes the necessary steps for certification, the organization will issue their standard NON-GMO Logo for you to use on your products. ImageTek Labels can then print this label on your behalf, or help you to customize a label all your own.
Make sure your products meet future mandates and stand out from the competition. Label your natural food products NON-GMO today!