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Food packaging labels

Food and grocery labels

Purchasing food packaging labels is an investment in your product and brand. The right label drives sales, builds recognition with customers and delivers a tangible return on investment. To meet these goals, your label must:

  • Catch shoppers’ eyes and distinguish your product on store shelves
  • Convey the value of your product to customers
  • Create a memorable, trusted brand
  • Communicate all FDA-required information

A wide range of specialized labels has been developed to assist manufacturers in achieving these goals. Sure, there’s certain information and layout formats that the FDA requires from a label (more on FDA-compliance later). But labels have a lot to offer beyond those requirements. Different label types excel in different areas, and food producers should spend some time thinking about what they most want out of their food packaging label.

Is it most important that the label is durable and highly adhesive so that the food item is never without its label or too faded to read? Does the label need to convey a large amount of information? Should your label be delivering some other benefit to the consumer, like a coupon or a rebate?

Depending on your product, you can use several types of food packaging labels to meet your goals, including:

Pressure-sensitive labels are the most common for food, so we’ll go in-depth here about some of the areas in which they excel, and some considerations that should be taken into account when they’re used.

Purchasing considerations for pressure-sensitive labels

When purchasing a pressure-sensitive label (PSL) for your food packaging, you’ll need to consider not only your design vision and budget but also the environments your product will see. All product labels must withstand shipping and handling, while freezers, refrigerators, pantries, coolers and outdoor settings present many hazards, such as:

  • Extreme heat or cold
  • Humidity, moisture and condensation
  • Sunlight
  • The outdoors

For your label to meet your durability, cost and design requirements, it must use just the right materials. There are four parts of a PSL food label:

  • Topcoat — finish applied to protect and enhance a label
  • Face stock — primary label material with printed designs
  • Adhesive — adheres label to product
  • Liner — PSLs come on rolls (or liners) and are peeled off

We give you concise guidance on each of these elements in our guide to pressure-sensitive labels. In the guide, we also give you smart tips for saving money on labels and solutions for other order complexities. 

Consider your labeling equipment

Once you have your food packaging labels, you’ll need to apply them to your products. Depending on the scale of your operation, you may use automated, semi-automated or manual label applicators. If you use an automated or semi-automated label application system, your label rolls must be printed in the correct orientation to match your application equipment.

Learn more about label applicators here.

Getting FDA-compliant food packaging labels

In the U.S., the FDA governs food packaging labels and requires the following information on all food labels:

  • Product name
  • Manufacturer or distributor name and address
  • Product weight
  • Ingredients list — from highest to lowest in amount
  • Required nutritional and serving information in the Principal Display Panel (PDP)
  • Barcode

The FDA also has specific guidelines for many claims, such as organic, fat-free and low-calorie. For a complete breakdown of food labeling requirements, see the FDA’s guidelines.

In May 2016, the FDA issued a range of new requirements for nutrition information and the Principal Display Panel. We’ve published a brief rundown of these changes; you can access the guide here.

Our food packaging label capabilities

At Resource Label Group, we can custom print nearly any food label for a wide range of markets. From labels for coffee, sauce, juice and cider to labels for meat, fruit, salad dressing, candies, frozen packages, canned goods, condiments and more. We print it all. Our extensive capabilities include:

  • Eye-catching labels with custom label design and guidance to ensure any existing designs print seamlessly
  • Printing in any color combination with the highest quality
  • Printing on any material with any finish
  • Endless customization possibilities – from embossing and foil stamping to textured labels and more
  • Printing in any shape with our library of die cuts and custom die cutting
  • Cost-effective printing solutions and versatility with pressure-sensitive, shrink sleeve, glue label, flexible packaging and specialty label formats
  • Rapid, premium quality digital printing for short runs and versatile, economical flexographic printing for large runs

Value-added service

Every order comes with close guidance from our experienced team. We make the process easy for you, helping you select the right solutions for your product, budget, brand and more. And we deliver labels in rapid turnarounds with reliable order fulfillment. For guidance on your label, call any of our locations throughout the U.S. and Canada or request a free consultation here.

Find the best solution that makes the most sense for your brand.