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.

A new study reveals that 1 in 3 men don’t read nutritional labels on food because they don’t understand them

A new study conducted by the National University of Ireland in Galway has found that 1 in 3 men do not read the nutritional labels on food because they do not understand them. While 95% of women look at food labels often, just 65% of men regularly look at the nutritional labels on food.

While this information can be hard to understand, experts have warned that ignoring the nutritional information on food packaging is leading to the obesity problem facing the UK. More worryingly, 4 out of 10 people who already have some form of heart disease admit to not checking food labels, while those with high cholesterol also ignore labelling.

The research also found in some cases that more than 80% of people struggled to make sense of labelling and struggled to figure out whether the food was high or low in sugar or fat.

Participants were asked about how often they read nutritional labels found on food packaging, and the results found that 35% of men never read the labels, compared to just 5% of women. Participants also stated that they were more able to understand the traffic light system, a colour coded nutritional guide which quickly tells consumers how much fat, sugar and calories there are in a product.

Although the traffic light system is easier for many to understand, it is not a mandatory system and manufacturers can choose to display the nutritional information however they want. There are now calls for food labels to be improved in order to increase public health and to advise consumers on the types of food they are eating.

What do you think? Are you confused be food labelling? Leave your comments below.

Why it’s important to design packaging with Millennials in mind

Millennials have now overtaken baby boomers as the largest generation and now represents a consumer base with immense buying power, so when designing packaging, it is more important than ever to keep millennials and their values in mind.

Millennials spend up to 18 hours a day consuming media content, whether it is online, TV or radio and their access to information at the touch of a button, while being bombarded with scrolling pictures on social media, streaming videos and digital adverts now means that the average attention span has diminished to just 5 seconds, so gaining their attention is key to promoting your brand.

Because of this constant bombardment, millennials are now very selective in what grabs their attention, meaning that packaging design has had to follow suit by providing relevant information about a product, appeal to the consumer and fit in with their values.

Here we will talk about some of the design features that your brand should be looking at when creating packaging for this modern era of consumerism.

Emotional Connections and Brand Loyalty

According to research conducted by Forbes, over 60% of Millennials state that they are loyal to specific brands because they develop an emotional connection to the brand. Some of the things that millennials look for in a brand or product are; does the brand fit in with my lifestyle, what does this brand say about me as an individual and how easy is it to access the brand.

Once a brand has created that emotional connection, millennials are more likely to become loyal to that brand and become unofficial brand ambassadors, telling their friends and family about them and in turn helping to promote the brand.

Packaging and Technology

In addition to creating products that fit in with millennials lifestyles, the packaging that it comes in also needs to be engaging. Many companies and brands are now utilising technology on their packaging such as QR codes that can be scanned with a smartphone to display additional information about a product, advertise additional products and tell users about special offers.

As stated above, Millennials have shorter attention spans due to being bombarded with content throughout the day and are less likely to be drawn to advertising than previous generations. This means that packaging designers have had to learn to display a products benefits and unique selling points in one glance, making the design, colours and text more important than ever.

New project sees homeless people given barcodes to accept cashless payments

A new project, backed by Oxford University is giving homeless people barcodes to wear around necks to increase donations as Britain moves further towards a cashless society. The initiative, called Greater Change gives homeless people laminated labels, similar to those found on online tickets.

Those who wish to donate money, but do not have any change on them can scan the code on their smartphone and make an online payment to the person. The money is collected in an account and is managed by a case worker who makes sure that the money is spent on agreed targets such as saving for a rent deposit.

The founder of Greater Change, Alex McCallion told the BBC, “The problem we’re trying to solve here is that we live in an increasingly cashless society and as well as this when people give they worry about what this money might be spent on,”

Adding, “So the solution we’ve come up with is a giving mechanism through your smart phone with a restrictive fund.”

When the barcode is scanned by a smartphone, a profile of the homeless person is shown; this tells the potential donator information about the person, including how they came to be homeless and what jobs they used to do.

The project is currently being trailed in Oxford

The Big Issue Magazine stated that as Britain moves towards a cashless society that it has contributed to a decline of sales for the magazine. Managing director of the magazine Russell Blackman said earlier this year that they were looking at suppling their vendors with cashless payment terminals.

He said, “It is vital that we develop the right contactless solution for our vendors, ensuring that they can get instant access to their funds, even if they don’t have their own bank account due to a lack of permanent address.”

Hospital patients could soon be tracked using barcodes

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock has vowed to invest £487 million on technology for the Health Service to make it one of the most advanced in the world, including introducing barcode labels and mobile apps to track and monitor patients.

Wristbands etched with barcodes will be used to track patients as they travel through different departments and wards within the hospital, while advanced mobile apps will monitor blood pressure and other vital signs at home, allowing patients to be diagnosed and discharged quicker.

In plans laid out by Mr Hancock, £412 million will be made available to the NHS to update technology and improve patient care in hospitals, while a further £75 million will be available for health trusts to replace existing paper-based systems with electronic systems.

This new comes after surgeons warned that many NHS hospitals still rely on fax machines and 15+ year old computer systems. Mr Hancock in his speech said, “Because we are one NHS, our health system is uniquely placed to become the most advanced health system in the world”

Adding, “The patient safety agenda is important to me and I strongly believe that technology has the power to further enhance safety and improve outcomes for patients.”

Mobile apps are already being trialled at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, where they are used to discharge patients faster and several trusts are already using barcodes to tack patient’s movements and current location within the hospital.

The Health Secretary believes that technology can not only play a huge part in reducing staff workload, but with ultimately improve patient care.

Smart packaging sector continues to evolve as consumers demand more

Smart food packaging is continuing to evolve at a staggering rate as consumers look to make more informed choices about the food they eat as well as reduce waste, with scientists all over the world working on new and improved packaging.

One of the many recent packaging solutions that has gained traction this year is from London-based company Skipping Rocks Lab which packages its Ohoo! Water in an edible and biodegradable seaweed membrane, which can be eaten or thrown away without harming the environment. The packaging is still in its early stages, but Skipping Rocks Labs is confident that it will be hitting the mass market soon and is dedicated to creating waste-free packaging alternatives.

Many food items available today already carry QR codes, which can be scanned using a smartphone and can tell the consumer extra nutritional information about a product, but what else is going on in the smart packaging sector?

Packaging Design is as innovative as ever!

Consumers are constantly looking for products and packaging that fits into their lifestyles, whether they need something on the go or some handy serving suggestions, consumers appreciate packaging that fits their needs.

We now see a wide range of products in re-sealable packaging or individually wrapped to keep things fresh, but with consumers voicing concerns about sustainability manufacturers have turned to technology to make sure that their packaging can be fully recycled.

Just in the way that technology has made it easier and more secure to pay for items via smart payment methods such as Apple Pay and Contactless, technology is now playing a role in packaging design as manufacturers look to lead the way in tomorrow’s ‘connected’ household.

QR codes are a common way to give consumers additional information about food products, but smart packaging has the ability to go further than that, giving consumers up to date information about quantities left, how fresh the produce is and suggesting recipes based on the products in the vicinity.

Technology Enhances Food Safety

We have already seen some manufacturer’s use smart packaging to enhance food safety by alerting consumers when the contents have spoiled. Tiny sensors are placed on the food that monitor such things as temperature and time, give the consumer up to date information about the product.

As technology improves we can expect to see packaging capable of detecting different types of bacteria to warn consumers about any harmful substances and remind them to cook their food thoroughly before consuming.

From packaging designs which allow products to be stored more easily, to embedded sensors to inform the buyer, smart packaging is set to become ever smarter in the near future.

New GE Appliances smart microwave

Do you even get confused with the array of cooking instructions on your food when using your microwave? Then GE Appliances has you covered. Their new Alexa- powered microwave allow you to scan the bar code on your food, sending it straight to the microwave to cook it perfectly every time.

By using the GE Appliances Kitchen App, users can scan the barcode of the food they want to cook, and the app will send the microwave the exact cooking times and power levels for best cooking results. This will be a relief for those who are easily confused by the variety of power settings and cooking modes that feature on modern microwaves.

The stainless steel GE Smart Countertop Microwave is rated at 900 watts and comes pre-programmed with over 3,000 frozen, refrigerated, and self-stable foods with more being added to the app all the time. The microwave is also Wi-Fi enabled and is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant, meaning that users can turn the microwave on and off, add extra time and change the microwave settings through voice commands.

Christian Taubman, Amazon Smart Home Devices director talked about the new GE Smart Countertop Microwave saying, “We’re excited to work with GE Appliances to continue extending the convenience of Alexa to the kitchen,”

Adding, “We think customers will love the simplicity of hands-free voice control whether popping popcorn or preparing the perfect meal.”

The GE Smart Countertop Microwave Oven is available in the United States now for $139 or $155 if bought with Amazon’s Echo Dot; it is not known when it will be available in the UK.