A supermarket

Food labeling: consumers expect more transparency

Never before have there been more choices when shopping for groceries. The decision seems easy when a food product is similar, but cheaper: It’s all about the price, right? That’s not true for most people. They want to know what’s really in there. However, an ingredient list is not enough. A recent representative Bitkom study from Germany reveals that consumers rate the following information on the packaging important when buying food:

  • Animal welfare and sustainability (87%)
  • Transparency in ingredients and traceability (75%)
  • Country or region of origin (71%)
  • Certification marks and labels (51%)
  • Low price (36%)

Food labeling yields trust

According to the study, 84% of consumers are willing to pay more money for a high-quality food product. In return, they expect detailed information about its ingredients and how it was produced.

Mandatory food labeling

Mandatory labeling satisfies the consumer’s demand for transparency only partially. According to EU regulation 1169/2011, food packaging must include the following information:

  • Name of the food
  • List of ingredients and allergen labeling
  • Quantity of certain ingredients
  • Net quantity of the food
  • “best before” or “use by” date
  • Country of origin or place of provenance
  • Name and address of the food business operator
  • Nutrition declaration

Voluntary food labeling

Manufacturers also have many voluntary labeling options to market their products and build brand loyalty. For example, a Nutri-Score label helps consumers to evaluate the nutritional quality of foods or drinks by just one look. It is already in use in several European countries. Other companies have started marking their own carbon footprint on their products: Swedish oat drink manufacturer Oatly has introduced CO2e labeling to raise more awareness for the food industry’s climate impact.

Furthermore, many consumers check for commonly-known labels and certification marks such as these on food products:

  • Certified Organic label
  • Non-GMO label
  • MSC ecolabel for sustainable fishing
  • Fairtrade certification mark
  • Rainforest Alliance seal
  • UTZ-Certified label
  • Demeter certification
  • ECOCERT certification
  • Indications of Geographical Origin (GI) which include:
    • Protected designations of origin (PDO)
    • Protected geographical indications (PGI)
  • Recycling symbol and code
  • Vegan label
  • Carbon labels

Barcodes and digital technologies

scanning a qr code with a smartphonePackaging is often quite simply too small to accommodate additional product information. With approx. 300 million smartphone users in Europe alone, interactive solutions have become very popular. QR-codes allow consumers to access further digital content and applications with their smartphone camera: from tracking fresh fruits and vegetables back to the grower, to getting a live webcam view into the farm that sells free-range eggs.

Make customers and production managers equally happy

booklet labels for food products

Excellent food labeling is not just a matter of what is displayed on the packaging. Manufacturers also need to consider how to apply product information efficiently and reliably.

Labels are a great way to add additional and variable data onto packaging without having to change the packaging design. Folding booklet labels provide even more space in small areas. All types of labels can be automatically printed and applied with the highly customizable and easy-to-integrate labeling systems from Weber Marking Systems. There are very good reasons why printing labels inhouse pays off for many businesses.

food-grade inkjet marking on chocolate bar

When it comes to variable tracking codes or serial numbers, industrial inkjet printers are a perfect solution for applications that call for high speed, nonstop production and cost efficiency.

With over 50 years of experience, Weber Marking Systems is one of Europe’s leading specialists for labeling and marking solutions. We offer high quality made in Germany and our services include consumables, maintenance and support. Our experts know what is important when it comes to marking packaging along the entire production line. Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like personal consultation!

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