Imagine a world without barcodes

We can’t imagine it and when you consider that for a huge number of people they will not have lived without them, simply because the barcode first appeared in 1952 in America and although it was slow to take off, by the early 80’s it was beginning to be commonplace.

For many of us the barcode is just something that tells the cashier at the checkout the price of the item that has been scanned through a barcode reader, but it does a lot more than that. For example the purchasing office will be able to see the current stock levels of each item scanned and re-order as necessary to make sure the shelves are kept stocked. This enables the business to keep stock to a minimum, today this is often referred to as “just in time”. No longer does the shopkeeper or manufacturers have to keep expensive items in stock, it also reduces the need for large warehousing facilities; just sufficient room until the next delivery truck brings in the newly ordered supplies.

We can offer barcodes printed on a variety of materials which can include paper, vinyl, metal and plastic. The barcode is attached to the product and naturally requires an adhesive which is suitable for the environment and conditions that product is expected to meet, for example, changes in temperature or have to withstand extremes of cold or be in contact with moisture

Printing for a barcode has to be of a quality that will enable the code to be “read” by the barcode reader, something which caused some problems in the early days when universal barcodes evolved. We are pleased that with our modern digital printing process, our printed barcodes present no problem for the barcode reader.

We can see that the use of barcodes can make a business more efficient, cost effective and keep prices low, whilst enabling overheads in staff, stock levels and storage to be kept to a minimum. So if you are considering using barcoding for the first time, or at the point where a new supply is needed, contact us and we will be pleased to discuss the numerous options that are available, also let you have a free quotation and samples of our barcodes if required.

Bottle and Jar Labels from DataLabel

It may appear to be an obvious statement to make, but a label attached to a jar or bottle has a simple and very basic function; to describe what is in the container, provide branding for your company, plus there may be some legal requirements too.

For example some of the statutory requirements would include; on alcoholic beverages need the name and address of supplier or bottler, country of origin and in the case of wines France or Blend of wines from Italy, Spain and Portugal. The all-important quantity within the bottle, the alcoholic strength and the use by dates are just some.

Food packaged in jars requires the weight to be prominently displayed, a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date, the name of the food, allergy warnings,  a list of all the ingredients if more than one, storage information and if necessary guide lines for cooking the product. We will be more than happy to discuss what you may and what you must include on your bottle or jar label.

Putting all this information on the label would be pointless if it became unreadable because of exposure to sunlight, moisture, or adverse temperature for example. We can offer a variety of solutions if your product is liable to be exposed to difficult conditions, two examples being UV varnished, or laminated for added print protection will make the label last for a longer period of time than usual. In this respect the adhesive is vital, again we can advise which adhesive would be suitable for just about any condition and ensure that the labels stay firmly attached to the bottle or jar.

Naturally you will want your bottle or jar to attract the customer and stand out from your competitors, material is important and shape too. You may have a particular shape in mind and we are able to supply most shapes from our range of stock cutters, but we can for a small charge supply any shape and size to your own customised unique measurements.

We will help you make your bottle or jar stand out on the shelf from your competitors, with printing techniques that are at  the forefront of label production because we are equipped with the very best digital printing technology, ready to meet today’s demand for high quality labels.

So when you are ready for a supply of labels contact a member of our experienced team who will be happy to help, just call us on 01293 551520, email if you prefer to sales@datalabel.co.uk, or complete our online enquiry form at our website https://www.data-label.co.uk

World’s biggest food companies fail to agree on new unified nutrition label for Europe

Producing a food label designed to help consumers decide whether the product would be suitable for people with a diabetic condition, high blood pressure, heart disease or obesity has proved to be a bit of a minefield. The European idea was to have a “Traffic Light” system depicting colours ranging from red to green, to indicate whether a portion of a given food was high in calories, fat, and sugar or salt.

Getting 27, or 28 if the United Kingdom is included, countries agreeing completely to a unified system, is not unlike the  ”design by committee” which as we know is a disparaging term for a project that has many designers involved but no unifying plan or vision. A maxim which many will remember is when asked to design a horse; the committee came up with a camel!

The project seems to have hit stormy waters as five of the largest food companies in the world Coca-Cola, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever, have abandoned the trials of designing and developing a unified system for the whole of the EU.

Health professionals and governments are naturally disappointed that the trials seemed to have stalled, as they argue that many foods should be avoided or at least restricted because if the product is high in some additives, these can include added sugars and processed carbohydrates as well as sodium (salt) it is known that they may increase your blood pressure and, in turn, the risk of heart disease or stroke.

Sadly it looks as though the curse of “the committee” strikes again and as Bart Vandewaetere, a Nestlé government affairs executive commented “we have been working together for two years on an “Evolved Nutrition Label”, this would have replaced the current monochrome label now displayed on food items,” he went on to say “colour coding of food labels is very controversial in continental Europe and we need leadership from the European Commission to come up with a common approach.” It would appear that the stumbling block is that the companies could not gain consensus around the new portion-based, colour-based scheme, this after trials have been conducted in many countries, along with consultations with consumer groups and with academics too.

The outcome at the moment is that European countries will continue to design and develop their own labelling system, some such as the UK and Ireland have put in place a voluntary labelling scheme that uses a design based on the red amber green traffic light colours to convey information to people scanning packages in supermarkets. However, the French system does seem to be gaining momentum in Belgium and the Netherlands and is being considered by Spain. This assigns foods a single so-called NutriScore and colour code from red to green. However the industry as a whole is becoming very concerned that the current disjointed approach will, at some time, disrupt the supply chain.

Why choose vinyl stickers and labels from DataLabel?

Today, vinyl stickers and adhesive labels are in common use throughout industry and commerce, and we think that it would be unusual not to see them everyday life; after all the postage stamp that we buy at the Post Office is an adhesive label now!

Supermarkets are just one of the places where vinyl stickers and adhesive labels are in common use; often we can see them fixed over a barcode, for example, offering the product at a reduced price.  Another area where we all will have come across them at some time is in the pharmaceutical industry. Here they would be used widely; this could be to describe the contents of the packet or bottle, very often to tell or describe how the product should be used and stored.

With the ever-growing demand for vinyl stickers, we at DataLabel have, through our years of experience, kept abreast with technology. This allows us to produce vinyl labels that are of the very highest quality, and with a print quality that we believe is unmatched. Products which are to be stored and displayed in freezer cabinets require an adhesive that will ensure that the label will not detach. These labels can be produced in the standard matte finish or given a high gloss finish; the latter will also help to protect the label against moisture.

Using our state of the art HP Indigo equipment, we provide the highest quality print in full colour and Pantone, varnished or laminated to protect the print. Adhesive can be either peelable, permanent, or hi-tack acrylic and we can usually despatch the labels within just a few working days. We also offer a wide range of label sizes and shapes to suit your requirements.

 

Get in touch with one of our experienced team, and they can send you a free Vinyl sticker sample pack so that you can see the quality for yourself. You can also request a quotation over the phone on 01293 551520, or you can if you prefer, fill out our quick and simple online enquiry form, and we will call you.

Barcodes on polling cards to be trialled by three councils

At the last General Election there was a lot of talk in media circles regarding the possibility of some fraud having taken place, which could have affected the results in some constituencies. The British system of voting has changed very little since the Act of Union in 1707.

To vote in a general or local authority election a person must be 18 years of age or over on polling day, have to be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen and also must be resident at an address in the UK.

Those qualifying will be sent a polling card which has to be presented at the local area polling station, which is checked physically against a register. There are anomalies in this system, as students for example can register in with two separate addresses, home and their student accommodation meaning that they, in effect have two votes!

One of the problems seen in the current system is that no form of identification is required to cast a vote, other than the polling card. Under the proposed system, under trial at Mid Sussex, Watford and North West Leicestershire, polling cards will have a barcode on them, which will have to be scanned before voting.

Not having to present ID when voting in UK elections is one of the quaint anomalies that can be associated with the UK, it is not something which is seen in any other modern democracy, the barcoded polling card is seen as a way to address this, after all if we have to collect a parcel at a sorting office for example, ID must be presented.  As Chloe Smith the minister for the constitution pointed out, it is necessary for people to have complete confidence and assured that elections in this country are safeguarded against any threat or perception of electoral fraud.

Unilever and Veolia sign collaboration agreement to work on sustainable packaging

Unilever and Veolia have signed a deal to work together on emerging technologies, and in particular focusing on material collection. The new three-year collaboration will look to expand waste collection and recycling infrastructures around the world.

This work will ensure that recycled materials are used properly and that they are added back into the value chain as opposed to being sent to landfill. Veolia will execute used packaging collections, add to its recycling capacities and develop new processes and business models in various countries.

The project is due to start work in India and Indonesia initially, but will be expanded to other countries throughout the project.

Research by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that just 14% of the plastic packaging used globally is recycled after use, with a staggering 40% ending up in landfill and a 30% ending up in fragile ecosystems such as our oceans.

Unilever’s chief supply chain officer, Marc Engel talked about the project saying, “The scale of the plastic waste issue is getting worse, not better, with the production of plastics expected to double over the next two decades.  We all have a lot more to do to address this critical issue and we hope that by partnering with Veolia, a world leader in waste management, we can take meaningful strides towards a circular economy.”

Laurent Auguste, senior executive vice-president of Veolia for development, innovation and markets, added: “There is an undeniable need to transform the current way plastic packaging end of life is managed in order to reduce significantly its environmental footprint. It will take a collaboration of a new kind between all the actors of the value chain. With this global partnership, Veolia and Unilever join forces in various geographies around the globe and, from the collection to the recycling, take a leadership role to redefine a responsible and sustainable future for packaging.”

Michael Gove to launch new food strategy for the UK after Brexit

Michael Gove has set out plans to launch a new food strategy for the UK after Brexit, following criticism about his Agriculture Bill not talking about food policy. Gove also announced a £15m food surplus redistribution scheme, aimed at generating 250 extra meals per year.

Speaking at the Conservative Party event in Birmingham, Mr Gove stated that the Tory government is in the best position to bolster the UK’s food and farming industries, despite concerns about the effect a no-Brexit deal to have.

Under the scheme, farmers would be rewarded for making positive environmental impacts, food labelling would be reformed to provide consumers with the information they want and a new food redistribution scheme would generate 250 million extra meals a year.

Speaking at the conference, Gove said: “When we are outside the EU, we will also publish a new food strategy for Britain. We will ensure that food production is truly sustainable, replenishing the soil, using energy wisely and supporting innovation. And we will reform food labelling so that we uphold the highest animal welfare standards and give consumers the information they need to stay safe.

“Every year, millions of tonnes of good, nutritious, edible food is thrown away. This is an environmental, economic and moral folly, and we will address it.”

Some of the charities who are set to benefit from the new food distribution scheme include FareShare, who were postivie about the announcement saying, “We congratulate Michael Gove for responding to our call to use surplus food for social good.

“This fund means we can get so many more charities more of the food they so desperately need: fresh fruit and veg, meat, dairy and fish, by diverting food that would otherwise be wasted within the supply chain.”

In his speak, Gove also stated that new initiatives would be set up to deal with the issue of waste. Steps will be taken to make sure that recycling is easier, more investment is contributed into cleaner technologies and tougher penalties would be imposed on fly-tippers and criminals who pollute the landscape.

Gove reiterated that British food and agriculture will be able to act faster and be more flexible after leaving the European Union, saying, “Our new Agriculture Bill will help farmers to be more productive and ensure they get a fair price for their produce. It will mean that they can invest in new technology to help them provide a harvest for the world.”

Government launches public consultation on calorie labelling when eating out

In a bid to better educate consumers about the calorie content of food and drink they consume when dining out, the government has launched a public consultation initiative where consumers are asked for their views on whether pubs, restaurants and takeaways should display calorie information for their products.

The consultation will ask consumers for their views regarding:

  • Which businesses should display calorie information
  • What additional information should be displayed
  • Where this information should be displayed
  • How businesses can put this into practice

The report states:

“The purpose of calorie labelling is to make sure that people have clear and accurate information about the calorie content of the food and drink that they and their families are eating when dining out, so that they can make informed and healthy choices for themselves and their children.

“Nearly one in four children in England are obese or overweight by the time they start primary school, and this rises to one in three by the time they leave primary school.”

Those who want to know more information about the consultation or want to be a part of the discussion can do so by visiting the government website here.

The Government has been debating the implementation of compulsory calorie labelling for food and drink sold in pubs and restaurants for a number of years, however, this move has been widely critiqued by industry representatives including UKHospitality that say mandatory calorie labelling could represent a substantial impact on the hospitality sector, putting small businesses the at the most risk.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) however support the government’s move. RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer said, “We know that nutritional labelling provides an effective measure when helping individuals, parents and families to make healthier choices, and it is absolutely right that the government has launched this consultation on calorie labelling in places serving food and drink outside of the home.

“While we welcome these proposals, the Government must also continue to take forward other measures to tackle our increasingly ‘obesogenic environment’ including measures to encourage manufacturers to reformulate their product range, supporting Local Authorities to clamp down on the clustering of fast food takeaways and tackling price promotions and marketing of unhealthy products.”

Food shoppers favour supermarkets own brand products instead of traditional brands

After the recent news reports around misleading packaging on supermarket’s own based products, ones that had a similarity with the more well-known brands. We carried out several surveys to investigate further to see what consumers thought about the packaging and labelling.

There has been a lot of talk recently that supermarket’s own brand packaging was far too similar to well-known brands, and that this could cause confusion to consumers and misleading them to buy, what they think is the more traditional brands.

Our surveys polled over 2,000 Britons, asking to voice their opinions on supermarket own brand compared to traditional brands. The survey results showed the supermarkets with the best own brand products, which five products consumers lean more towards and overall (own brand or branded), and if consumers buy own brand or branded goods on a whole.

The results of our survey are below:

Which supermarket own brands do you prefer?

  • Aldi 23.9%
  • Tesco 19.0%
  • Asda 15.6%
  • Sainsbury’s 14.8%
  • Waitrose 12.0%
  • Morrisons 8.6%
  • Lidl 6.1%

Aldi took the top spot as the supermarket of choice for their own brand products for customers.

Do you buy brand names or supermarket own brands when shopping?

  • Brand names 45%
  • Supermarket own brands 55%

Surprisingly, people are more interested in supermarkets own brands and not the big brands we are bombarded with every day. This could either be a cost related approach, or people simply prefer the taste of supermarket’s own products.

In a bid to find out more, we thought we’d test out 5 own brand products against their branded equivalent, we asked:

Which products do you favour more?

  • Activia 46.4% – Active 53.6%
  • Pataks 41.9% – Madras 58.1%
  • Lattice 36.6% – Aldi Lattice 63.4%
  • Paxo 54.9% – Quixo 45.1%
  • Beautifully Buttery 43.8% – Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter 56.2%
  • Vita coco 48.7% – Coco loco 51.3%

In the scenarios of misleading packaging, it seems that consumers don’t get confused into buying the wrong product. The argument was suggesting that the packaging was so similar that consumers were buying own brand products thinking they were branded products, our survey found this to be false.

Most people can relate to different flavours that represent a colour, for example, ready salted crisps are red, and salt and vinegar flavours are blue. This doesn’t mean that big brands will only display these colours, supermarket own brands will showcase the colours that correspond towards the chosen flavour.

Check out our infographic of the results below:

Custom Waterproof Labels from DataLabel

Here at DataLabel, we manufacture a variety of waterproof labels, specially designed for the toughest of applications and harshest of environments. You can choose from a range of material including Polypropylene, Polyester or Vinyl which can withstand temperatures of between -40C to +140C our waterproof labels are built to last.

Our waterproof labels can be used for a multitude of indoor or outdoor scenarios, places where humidity and dampness are a factor including refrigerators and freezers. They will not fade or degrade over time like other types of labels, and are provided on rolls for ease of use. You can also choose between gloss or matt finishes and all our labels can be manufactured with either a permanent or removable adhesive.

Here is some information about the different types of waterproof labels we offer so you can choose the right one for your application:

Polypropylene Labels

Polypropylene is waterproof and is highly resistant to oils and chemicals, making it the perfect choice for use in outdoor applications, or where there is a prolonged exposure to water. These labels are also perfect to use where there is contact with foodstuff or drink as they do not stain.

Polyester Labels

Polyester is waterproof and can withstand harsh environments including extreme heat or cold. Polyester is also highly resistant to Ultraviolet light, making it particularly good at protecting colour and text from fading.

Polyester labels are strong and durable, able to be submerged in water without coming away and are predominantly resistant to scratching and scuffing; this makes them ideal for industrial applications.

Vinyl Labels

Vinyl is a synthetic material that is well suited to extreme weather conditions including heat and cold, humidity and damp. It is use in many applications such as horticultural sectors and is ideal for use in marine and underwater environments.

About our waterproof labels

All of our waterproof labels are printed on the latest printers, using eco-friendly inks which are specially designed to resist fading and UV radiation making them strong and durable in any situation.

We can print your labels using your own supplied artwork, and we accept a range of formats such as EPS files, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw and high resolution JPG files.

Our flexibility is key in providing our customers with the right product when they need it. With delivery times usually taking between 3-5 days, our clients will have their products in no time, however if you need something more urgent we can help.

To talk through your requirements, call our expert customer care team on 01293 551520, or request a quote here.

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