Should You Laminate Or Varnish Your Labels?

In the world of print finishing, two popular methods are laminate and varnish. Both of these enhance the look of everything from brochures to inkjet labels, adding shine and professionalism. They also work to protect the ink to ensure that printed information remains legible for long periods of time. But which is the better choice? Where a decision is elusive, it can help to understand the differences between lamination and varnish, as well as the benefits of each.

Lamination and Varnish

Lamination is the process by which a very thin layer of film is applied to labels. This process occurs after printing has been completed. Varnish, also known as coating, is also applied after printing has been completed. Lamination is available in high gloss, which gives contrast and sharpness to images and photos. Matte laminate is more subtle, but is an elegant option.

In the case of varnish, there are several types available. Gloss varnish tends to have a high shine, which can be beneficial where an increase in image depth is desired. Spot coating covers only certain places of a label or document. Matte varnish is non-reflective, and best used where the softening and flattening of a printed product is desired. Satin varnish combines matte and gloss for a shiny yet durable finish. Opaque varnish is often used to improve the appearance of dark colours, where an aqueous coating will render printed materials resistant to certain liquids when applied.

Where additional sturdiness is required for printed products like business cards, lamination can provide it. However, where a product needs added impact – for example a contrast between gloss and matte on a business card, varnish can be the best choice.

Reasons for Laminating Your Labels

Labels are one of many ways that a product interacts with the customer. But when a label passes through so many hands, it can become worn and faded. Lamination not only keeps your labels readable, but it also enhances their look and feel, thereby enhancing their quality.

Again, lamination is ideal in situations where added strength is required. For example, if a label will travel through many hands before reaching its destination, it must be able to stand up to wear and tear as well as any potential damage. Using lamination on your labels will also ensure they look newer for a longer period of time.

The promotion of a product can also have more impact with laminated labels. This is especially important for new products needing to make that successful first impression.

Lamination will also prevent ink from cracking. And so if your labels become bent, their printed information will not be compromised. As well, laminate provides inkjet labels with a degree of protection against damage due to grease or water.

Those looking to laminate lightweight paper of 135gsm and under may benefit more from varnish. Where budgetary constraints exists, varnish may be the less costly option. As well, laminate should only be considered where an entire surface needs to be covered. Finally, marking of the laminate can occur where it has been applied over dark areas.

Reasons for Varnishing your Labels

The wide range of finishes available with varnish offer lots of choice. As well, this option is less expensive than laminate, but offers virtually the same appearance as laminate. There are no limits to the weights of paper that varnish can be applied to; even the thinnest and lightest weight paper can be finished with varnish. Another benefit of varnish is that it can be placed in particular areas.

Although varnish does look similar to laminate, it does not afford the same durability. Therefore, any labels that are varnished can be torn easily. As well, varnish cannot protect against ink cracking when a label is bent or folded. Finally, varnish does not offer the same resistance to liquid as laminate does.

Both laminate and varnish have many benefits. And in understanding the differences between them, you can make an informed decision.

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Get Top Quality Security Labels with these Tips

Although you may have a picture in your head of the perfect labels, you may encounter many things throughout the process that can threaten their quality. This is especially something to avoid when you need security labels for your business.

Whether you are printing your labels yourself or hiring a company to do it for you, there are several things to watch out for, as they can all contribute to reduced label security.

Ensure that Label Type Matches the Purpose

Often, the material on which labels are printed is not the right type for the way in which the label will be used. For example, a lot of damage is possible for labels that will be affixed to products that are being shipped on pallets. This scenario can see the shifting, moving and rubbing of one stack onto another, which can cause scraping to occur, rendering important security information being completely unreadable. Any security label affixed to any product or piece of equipment must be able to be readable and identifiable for the life of the product on which it is placed.

Use the Correct Printing Products

All too often, the quality of the finished product can be compromised. This is usually due to errors on the operator’s side in the form of incorrect setup of the printer. However, if the setup is sound, the problem could very well lie in the fact that the incorrect ink or printer ribbon is being used for the material being printed on.

When choosing the right ink or ribbon, you must keep in mind that the required print quality is what will determine which ribbon grade you need. By not considering this, you may be putting your print job at risk for several quality problems that can include anything from missing characters, unwanted diagonal lines, smudges and fading to disintegration of material, too-thick barcode bars, poor edge definition and bars that are not dark enough.

Consider the Industry

Different industries will have different label requirements. For example, a different label will be required for use in the automotive industry than one being used in the medical industry. Every industry will have to meet its own set of labelling regulations. Again, not doing so can result in labels that deteriorate over time and lose their information.

Non-Compliance is a Real Risk

In not using the correct materials in your label printing process, you can put your business at risk of non-compliance of federal and industry regulations. Non-compliance can ultimately result in your products being seized or recalled, not to mention causing your business a significant loss of profit. Of course, the end result of all this is that your business’s reputation can take a very real hit from which full recovery may not be possible.

Quality Assurance can save the Day

Regardless of the types of labels your business prints or needs to be printed, you can improve the quality of anything you print by having some sort of quality assurance programme in place. This involves training all staff who will be directly involved with your label printing. Training should cover showing employees how to identify any issues before printing begins so that they can be eliminated before money and time are lost.

Any company, whether they are planning to print their own labels or hire a company to complete the job should ensure that all ribbon, paper and label suppliers have been consulted with to ensure that the proper materials are being used. This will allow for poor quality to be avoided, as well as compliance and damage issues. Each supplier should be able to provide a list of options for everything they sell.

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Print Finishing for added Effect

Print finishing is a popular choice today. This is because it provides printed items with high quality enhancement. There is more than one way to add print finishing to advertising materials or product labels.

Lamination

Lamination occurs when a thin plastic film is applied to printed items. Available in several finishes including matte, gloss and silk, lamination covers one or more sides of a document.

Lamination enhances the appearance of whatever it’s placed over, and at low cost. This treatment also increases the durability of the material it is placed over, as well as offering some protection from damage via water or grease. Lamination also incurs no set up fees and prevents ink located on creases from cracking.

Due to the way in which it’s applied, lamination cannot be placed on just one spot; it must cover the entire document. As well, care should be taken about which finish is used on dark-coloured paper or board. For example, fingerprints may show more readily on dark paper covered by laminate in a matte finish.

Cellophane

Cellophane is similar to laminate in that a very thin layer is applied to board or paper. This type is available in two finishes, which are matte and glossy. Cellophane finishing can be applied to either one or both sides. Cellophane or film lamination involves stretching the material over the paper or board using heat, pressure and transparent glue.

Cellophane is great for print products as it provides a soft appearance and feel. As well, cellophane offers low glare, which can soften images and text. Cellophane lamination with a glossy finish results in stronger and deeper colours. This type of lamination offers resistance to scratching and abrasion, as well as repellence to water.

UV Varnish

This type of lamination is a liquid coating which can be applied to specific areas of an advertisement or poster design. This is done with the purpose of drawing attention to one or more features. UV varnish is available in several versions including matte and glossy.

UV varnish can include different substances such as glitter and various colours for virtually endless options. It can also be used along with a different laminate type and be printed on top of cellophane or another substance for a unique effect.

Care should be taken to ensure that additional set up is required for this lamination type, as well as additional cost for die charges if it is used over images or text. As well, UV varnish will crack if placed over a document crease.

Dispersion

Dispersion coating is often visible on folders, brochures and flyers. Applied after printing, this lamination type is available in matte or glossy finish and once applied, is left to air dry. As it dries, the material it’s been applied to will gradually take on the look of the chosen finish. The result is a surface that’s slightly water-repellent that provides some protection against abrasion. Any paper or board treated with dispersion coating will make it nearly impossible to write on using conventional pens, especially following laser or inkjet printing.

Regardless of the finish chosen, each has the potential to not only increase the quality of printed items, but also protect the ink used to print on the items. Lamination also protects the ink itself from cracking and fading. Careful consideration of each available lamination type for suitability will need to occur in order to choose the correct one for your application.

However, it’s important also to consider the life span of the item being laminated. A temporary product may not require as costly a lamination type as one that’s expected to have a longer life, such as inkjet labels on food products.

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The Label Converter

When attached to items, labels can provide information about an item or allow an item to be identified in some way. And in a few cases, an existing label type can be changed by converting it to another label type. This is known as conversion and is done with a label converter.

A label converter modifies labels in many ways. This machine can change the shape and colour of a label, as well as cut and produce ready-to-use labels. Converter machines of a small size can produce labels of simpler design and construction in low volumes. The labels that this kind of converter produces can be used for pricing, coding and addressing as well as for other purposes. The larger version of label converter machinery can produce labels in many different shapes and sizes, and is able to die-cut labels as well as perforate them.

How Label Converters are Categorised

Label converters are usually categorised according to the types of labels they produce. For example, a label converter can be categorised according to how its labels will be used. So it might be a mail label, caution label, pricing, container or pricing label machine.

It can also be categorised according to the characteristics of the labels it produces. So for example, a label machine may be called a blank, permanent, self-adhesive or warehouse label converter.

Label converters are also named according to the technology they use. For instance, if you want a converter that creates security labels, one type is the RFID label converter.

Technology and Caveats

Label converting machines continue their technological evolution. Today’s machines can print labels accurately and efficiently, and can reach production levels of millions of labels in any given month. However, machines with older technology are just as able to do the job, albeit for simpler labels.

One major technological advancement in label converting machinery has been in the reduction of noise. These sometimes-gargantuan machines used to produce noise at high decibels just a decade ago. Today however, they are practically noiseless.

Thermal Converters

Thermal label converting machines make use of heat to create labels, producing them on special thermal paper. Although this process is efficient and accurate, it may only be a short time before these labels may need to be replaced due to the susceptibility of the thermal paper to sunlight and heat and the fading that this can cause.

Thermal labels are ideal for situations where temporary tags are necessary, such as for bi-annual inventory or short-term product shipments, where tags will remain out of sunlight and away from variable temperatures for that period of time. However, they are less than ideal for situations requiring labels to last a year or longer.

Thermal Transfer

The thermal transfer process utilised by some label converters does allow for more durable labels to be printed. This process allows printed items like ID numbers or bar codes to retain their clarity and ease-of-reading for far longer than their thermal counterparts.

The Market

The furthest advancements in label creation technology, whether for security labels or otherwise is currently occurring in several countries around the world. India continues to innovate and is considered to be one of the most important developers of label conversion technology. China, on the other hand, possesses its own skill set as far as technological innovation ability and advanced communications infrastructure.

In choosing the right label converter, you can get the ideal solution in terms of the labelling system you need, as well as the ability to have professional labels when you need them. However, label converters are just one kind of solution; where there is doubt as to which system may work better, it can help to speak with a professional who understand each type of machinery and the labels it is capable of producing.

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Considerations For RFID Label Selection & Management

When thinking about implementing an RFID system, it’s important that the one you choose is right for your application. But even if the system you choose is the ideal one for your needs, there are still some considerations which, if not made can compromise your system’s success.

For any RFID system to work properly, it must be able to transfer data reliably, and in such a way as to be predictable and dependable. And this means ensuring that the right conditions exist for this to occur. Of course, when considering the right conditions for an RFID system, these must exist for both the receiver and the security labels themselves.

Testing

Before purchase of any system which allows you to print your own labels, it should be tested to ensure that the media being used is right for the encoder you plan to utilise. Some RFID printing systems may require additional signal shielding or mechanical changes in order to ensure their efficiency over the long term.

Similarly, the printer should be matched to the position on the label where the chip will be located. All too often, the media is ordered before it’s been confirmed that it will suit the printer. Matching the RFID protocol between printer and label is crucial. Otherwise, calibration may be necessary to ensure the correct encoding and alignment.

Temperature

Fortunately, in most cases, temperature does not represent a concern for RFID systems. But it can still help to know which temperatures ensure optimal performance. Typically, as long as a storage area’s temperature is kept between -51 and +95°C, a system should be able to perform reliably, properly and consistently.

Metals

Smart labels do not perform properly when they are metal or foil-based. This is because metal is an RF signal reflector. As well, metal continues to be a top source of interference for RFID tags. Should an RFID inlay be embedded in some kind of foil or metal label, range can be severely limited. As well, it would not allow for easy or successful reading or encoding. Finally, RFID labels do not rely on optical technology as do their bar code counterparts. Therefore, they will not benefit from the inclusion of metals for the purpose of enhancing light reflection and performance as is so often done with bar codes.

ESD

ESD, or electrostatic discharge can cause the complete failure of RFID tags. Therefore, the dangers of ESD should be a definite consideration, especially in areas of high altitude and low humidity. One way to control for the amount of ESD which occurs near RFID tags is to store media in materials which are non-conductive, such as cardboard containers. This will protect the tags from existing ESD.  Where electrostatic discharge is significant, other measures may need to be taken, such as outfitting equipment and workers with grounding straps and anti-static clothing.

Liquids

Besides metal, liquids are another enemy of the RFID system. This is because they actually absorb the RFID signal. This can render a tag completely unreadable and unable to be encoded or severely limit its range. When placing RFID tags on liquid items, it’s important to do so in such a way that allows for the longest range and most reliable readings possible.

In addition to ensuring the right temperature levels, amounts of ESD and presence of liquids and metals, the successful operation of any RFID system will also depend on having the right training and procedures in place, as well as ensuring that the tags are placed in the most readable locations. With all of these considerations made, your RFID system can not only increase the efficiency of your operations, but may also mean that less operator intervention is required should something go amiss.

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Adhesives and Label Security

Believe it or not, a label’s ability to provide security is directly related to the self-adhesive that’s being used. Basically, a self-adhesive is a chemical fastening system that isn’t heat-activated or activated by the evaporation of a solvent. Rather, the self-adhesive is activated by the application of pressure. It is only through the strength of an adhesive that the other elements of security labels like the substrate, seal or lamination on a label can be deemed effective.

Today’s adhesives, thanks to modern chemistry are able to provide labels with all of the needed properties for the increase and maintenance of security. But adhesives go beyond simply applying a label to a surface; adhesives can also be used to achieve certain label properties.

Opacity vs. Transparency

When an adhesive is loaded with aluminium powder, and then opaque materials are selected such as metallised film, opacity is achieved. It can also be achieved by printing labels using a single or series of particular printing processes.

Transparency is actually the more difficult property to achieve. There is a high demand for transparent labels, especially for ‘invisible’ style labels. Where ever the protection of documents, photographs or other security label elements is required, testing must occur beyond the lab.

Elements of Transparency Testing

Of course, the testing of any adhesive should occur in the laboratory. But even if real-world conditions can be replicated in a laboratory, real-world testing should also occur. For example, if a security label is supposed to adhere to a vehicle’s window, the fact that it will be exposed to all intensities of light and temperature should definitely be considered.

But in addition to that, it’s the fact that light and intensity will affect the label on both sides. A vehicle’s interior temperature can vary greatly from the temperature outside the vehicle. And a label’s temperature on the outer-facing side may also vary greatly on its inner-facing side.

The ability of a transparent label to be repositioned is another element that needs to be considered. As well, a label’s ability to be repositioned can also be affected by both internal and external temperatures. However, the client’s needs must also be thought of. If a client requires their labels to be permanently affixed, this will require a different set of properties than a client needing a highly-repositionable label.

Materials being adhered to

Understandably, there is a level of concern with regard to the potential damage of surfaces that labels are being adhered to. Indeed, there are several potential complications, especially where a label needs to be affixed to a wide range of surfaces.

Clarity of Transparency

Currently, the material offering the most clarity in terms of transparent films is PET or polyester. After this, it’s polypropylene, polystyrene and polyethylene. But of course, a high degree of transparency must ensure that both the label and its adhesive are equally transparent.

Most transparent adhesives are a minimum of 10 microns thick. They are usually applied in coats of around 20 grams per square metre. Even with adhesives, care needs to be taken to ensure that any backing used to protect the self-adhesive will not damage the adhesive when removed or if left to sit for long periods of time.

The removal of any self-adhesive label by a thief can be prevented by ensuring that the adhesive being used is able to resist the efforts by the thief to breach the adhesive bond. As well, any attempts to remove the label should be accompanied by some form of visual clue that the label has been tampered with. And although it may not be the most desirable measure, attempts to remove a label can also be made evident on the surface where the label is affixed.

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Paper Finishes: Dispersion Coating

One very common surface enhancement of paper is called dispersion coating. Dispersion coating represents the most watery of available print coatings. Dispersion is defined as a mixture of two or more substances which are present in differing amounts. Several substances are present in dispersion coating. These include wax, defoamers, hydrosols, film formation aids, wetting agents and synthetic, water-soluble resins. As dispersion coating dries, its smooth surface is produced via the sticking together of water-soluble resins during the evaporation drying process.

The Dispersion Coating Process

Dispersion coating is usually applied after four colour or CYMK printing, where paper first passes through each of the four colours and then through a 5th coating unit. However, this coating can also be applied to paper via a system located inside the printing press itself, or via a dampening unit.

The drying of materials coated via the dispersion process occurs naturally. Due to the evaporation of hydrosols and the absorption of the coating itself, drying occurs very quickly. However, in instances where even quicker drying is required, heat can be applied. The inherent matte or glossy properties of paper will be enhanced by the dispersion coating process.

Why Is Dispersion Coating Ideal?

There are many advantages to dispersion coating beyond the facts that it is a very simple form of print finishing, is easy to apply and dries in a very short amount of time.

Any printed material, whether a series of inkjet labels, books or flyers can benefit from added protection when dispersion coating is applied. This protection shields printed materials from most forms of abrasion, as well as makes them slightly water-resistant. In addition, dispersion coating helps to preserve the colour of paper, preventing yellowing due to age. This is possible because the ink becomes bound with the coating once it’s been applied.

Dispersion coating also contains elements which give it an elastic quality. This quality is beneficial for printed documents which require further processing in the form of grooving, film embossing or creasing.

Which Products Are Best Suited To Dispersion Coating?

Dispersion coating can be used on virtually any product that will be printed and distributed. This includes brochures and inkjet labels. However, any items which may require anything to be written on them following printing such as business cards, postcards or flyers may benefit more from other coatings, as dispersion coating makes writing with a ballpoint pen or marker more difficult.

Paper which has gone through the dispersion coating process is also less likely to react well to printing or stamping. This is because the coating slows the absorption rate of ink. As a result, smudging can occur.

Two Potential Solutions

Where having materials coated with the dispersion print finish has been deemed a necessity and writing, printing or stamping will also need to occur, there are two potential solutions.

1) Depending on the intended use of the material being coated, it may be possible to alter both the combination and concentration of the coating so that it is spread onto the paper in a finer and thinner layer.

2) Another solution is to apply dispersion coating not over an entire product, but only in spots. This will allow for some areas of printed material to be stamped, written and printed on.

When considering dispersion coating, it’s a good idea to remember that different printing companies will have different set ups as far as dispersion coating units are concerned. Some coating units will be smaller in size than ink printing units, where others may be larger. However, the size of the coating unity should not affect coating quality or coverage.

Dispersion coating is both a very common and very popular form of print finishing. However, it isn’t the only kind. If there is some doubt as to whether dispersion coating is the ideal choice, an experienced printing professional can certainly provide further insight.

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Which Print Coating Is Right For Your Materials – Aqueous, Varnish Or UV? Part I

When you need to add an element of creativity to your printed materials or want to ensure they are protected, do you know which options are available to you? Not choosing the right coating for the paper being printed on can result in a much different look and feel than you originally intended.

There are three main print coatings: aqueous, varnish and UV. Each coating type has its own sub-set of styles. Under the aqueous coating group are matte, pencil receptive, gloss and dry erase, to name a few. Varnish coatings are available in the opaque, matte, satin, gloss and strike-through matte varieties.

What’s the difference between Aqueous and Varnish Coatings?

The aqueous coating, as its name suggests, is water-based. The application of aqueous coating involves the use of a special press unit and a rubber blanket. Varnish coatings can be tinted and are applied in the same way that ink is; on a printing press.

Aqueous Coatings in Detail

An aqueous coating is less likely to turn yellow over time than a varnish. As well, aqueous coatings are used on inkjet labels and other materials which require protection from fingerprints and similar blemishes. Because aqueous coatings dry quickly, projects which utilise them take far less time to complete on professional presses.

One interesting aspect of the aqueous coating is that when applied, it can prevent metallic inks from tarnishing. This is because the aqueous coating seals ink onto paper via air drying. Although it may not occur for a number of years, the aqueous coating has been known to cause certain spot colours to change completely. Finally, paper which is under a certain text weight may wrinkle, curl or distort because of the coating’s water-based nature.

Popular Aqueous Coating Types

There are several popular types of aqueous coating. One is used as primer, and is aptly named primer aqueous. This coating is applied prior to any lamination, or on materials that tend not to be receptive to the application of ink.

Another is called gloss aqueous coating. This particular type is usually applied all over a material. When gloss aqueous coating is applied, it dries right away. This property makes gloss aqueous ideal for small projects that need to be completed quickly.

Pencil-receptive aqueous, as its name suggests causes the material being printed to more easily accept the transfer of pencil, laser and pen inks.

Satin, matte and soft touch aqueous each have their own special properties. Satin has a soft sheen and protects materials, where matte is resistant to scuffs. Soft touch has a luxurious texture and a completely matte surface.

Dry erase aqueous coating is an alternative to lamination with an added benefit: it transforms nearly any paper into a surface that can be written on with dry-erase implements.

Varnish Coatings in Detail

In addition, to be able to be printed like ink, varnish coatings offer the ability to be incorporated with the ink itself, which allows for the visual enhancement of printed materials. Incorporation with ink can be accomplished via two methods: dry trapping and wet trapping.

The dry trapping of varnish occurs when it is printed following the drying of the ink. This is accomplished by sending materials through the system for a second time. Wet trapping is the application of varnish at the same time as other inks are applied.

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Paper Coating and Print Colour

You can easily tell uncoated paper from coated by looking at it. Uncoated paper will have a matte appearance and will have a bit of a rough feel to it. Coated paper will have a shimmer to its appearance and a smooth and slightly waxy feel. The differences between the two types of paper also make a significant difference to the way images and colour will appear once printed.

How Uncoated Paper Behaves with Ink

Uncoated paper is absorbent by nature. Therefore, any ink applied to this kind of paper will soak into it. When this happens, the dot gain effect occurs. Dot gain is referred to as a phenomenon whereby printed material looks darker than originally intended.

Dot gain can be identified by looking closely at a printed image or text. If the dots which make up the image or text appear fuzzy or smudged, then dot gain has occurred. Looking at the entire printed image or text, dot gain will affect the overall appearance by making it look less detailed than it should be.

It is not the colour, but the type of paper which causes dot gain to occur. However, the dot gain phenomenon can affect how printed colours look.

Why Paper Coating is Important

Paper coating becomes an important thing to consider when you need your printed items to have uniformity. For example, if you have a company logo, it is a representation of your brand. Everything about how a logo looks, from the fonts used to its colours and images, sends a message about your brand. For that message to be consistent, all of the elements of your logo must look the same on everything it’s placed on.

Coated paper is like a pane of glass; ink applied to its surface will tend to remain nearer to the surface. That will cause the final printed result to appear far more vibrant than that printed on uncoated paper, which is like a sponge, causing printed colours to be far less vibrant and duller.

Because the printed colour on uncoated paper can look far different from that printed on coated paper, some thought needs to be put into what kind of paper you are using. Your business cards may have a glossy finish, but if your stationery does not, this could cause a break in the visual uniformity of your logo.

Ways to Circumvent Colour Issues

One way that colour issues can be avoided is to add contrast to the image or text being printed. However, doing so can also negatively affect the outcome, and should be applied with caution.

Another way to avoid colour issues is to print several test images to ensure that colour levels are where they should be.

Finally, one reliable method is to choose Pantone brand colours. These colours are the standard reference for the print industry, allowing for an exact colour to be produced when an item is printed. However, caution needs to be taken here as well, because two types of Pantone colour exist: 185U for uncoated paper and 185C for coated paper.

What to Consider Before You Print

The paper types that your materials will be printed on should be as close to one another as possible regarding appearance and paper type. Otherwise, you may spend money on a large print job, only to find that each printed item appears to have been printed using completely different colours, even though this may not have been the case at all.

The best advice is to take lots of time to research the materials you plan to have your logo printed on. As well, speaking with your printing company is another good way to ensure that colours remain uniform across all of your printed materials.

Achieving Compliance with Nutrition Labelling

If your business sells food products, it is required by legislation to comply with certain regulations, specifically the Regulation (EU) No, 1169/2011. This regulation covers any and all food information that you make available to your consumer in terms of your product label or other means such as accompanying material, advertising, website, verbal communication or modern technology tools.

Mandatory Information

There is a list of requirements to which all food manufacturers must adhere when creating their food security labels. These requirements cover everything from alcoholic strength and allergens to the name of the food, special storage conditions, country of origin and date of minimum durability, to name but a few.

In addition to declaring the above information, each piece of information also needs to meet requirements in terms of font size. The font for this information must be no less than 1.2mm in height, and must be in Times New Roman face in size 8. Smaller packages having a largest surface area of 80 square centimetres and a height of 0.9mm must also declare mandatory information in Times New Roman font, but at the size of 6.

Principal Field of Vision

All information must be located on packages in such a way as to be in the consumer’s principal field of vision. This is the part of the package most likely to be seen by the consumer when they first glance the product at the time of purchase. The principal field of vision is what allows the consumer to identify a product’s nature, brand name and similar characteristics. In some cases, a product may have more than one principal field of vision. In this instance, a single field of vision must be chosen. This choice falls to the discretion of the food business operator.

Food Product Producers can Volunteer Information

In addition to the mandatory information you must provide to your customers, you can also choose to volunteer information. You can choose to display this information in general or detailed format. The general format will communicate the energy value of your product, where the detailed format will allow you to list their energy, fat, saturate, sugar and salt content. Regardless of the format you choose, if you’re volunteering this information, you’ll also need to include a reference for the intake of your product per average adult.

Label Colours Matter

Regulations stipulate that all nutrition labelling in terms of salt, sugars, saturates and fat follow a ‘traffic light’ colour scheme of green, amber and red. These portions of nutrition security labels should appear only in vibrant colours, and not their pastel counterparts.

In terms of printing these lozenges, the other colours in use on the package, as well as the materials from which the packages material is made from will determine the printing process and colours used. Establishing which colours will be used involves much consideration in terms of how legible and clear the information will be in relation to that colour. And this will require adequate contrast between text and colours used.

Requirements also clearly state the percentage of the lozenge to be coloured, as well as how colour should be used. At least 1/3 of the lozenge is required to be coloured. As well, it is not acceptable to colour just numbers or words, or surround the lozenge with colour.

Allergens

There are also guidelines in place for proper labelling of foods which may contain potential allergens. These guidelines require all food businesses to provide this information on all unpackaged food they sell. This covers food sold at deli counters, served on a catering basis, in sandwich bars and in bakeries.

In ensuring that your food security labels are not only permanent, but easily visible, clear and easy to read and understand, and not misleading, you help to inform the customer about their purchase.