Archives for category: labels

The beginning of November was a rather interesting beginning for the supporters of genetically engineered food labels. Even if victory was not on their side, as the Californian ballot proposing the labelling of genetically modified ingredients in food products was rejected, the movement was still considered important. Why? Because of the increased awareness that GE food labels have started to receive lately.

The polls showed 47% voted in favour and 53% against. Monsanto and food companies such as PepsiCo and Nestle spent $45m on advertising and lobbying for the “no” campaign, while the “yes campaign” only spent around $8m, which was mainly funded by organic food companies.

The “yes” campaign has attracted several celebrity supporters, such as Gwyneth Paltrow and rap star Pharrell Williams who tweeted : “vote yes on Prop 37 if you believe you have the right to know what’s in your food.”

If until recently, the main concern has been the amount of saturated fats and sugars, the latest movement in food labelling shows how really concerned consumers are regarding the foods they intake. Targeted at people’s right to know which foods are genetically modified and which aren’t, the movement triggered the following reaction on behalf of The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), “These efforts [to label] are not driven by evidence that GM foods are actually dangerous. Indeed, the science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe.”

The reality is that almost 90% of US-grown corn and soybean is GM.

What Exactly Does Genetically Modified Food Mean?

Genetically modified food  have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques. These techniques are much more precise  than mutagenesis (mutation breeding) where an organism is exposed to radiation or chemicals to create a non-specific but stable change.

genetically modified

A popular fruit that has been genetically modified is Papya. The reason? To resist the ringspot virus. The New York Times stated that “in the early 1990s, Hawaii’s papaya industry was facing disaster because of the deadly papaya ringspot virus. Without the introduction of the genetically modified breed, the state’s papaya industry would have collapsed. Today, 80% of Hawaiian papaya is genetically engineered, and there is still no conventional or organic method to control ringspot virus.

As expected, the technique has both strong supporters and strong opponents. And while the debates around safety and whether this is ethical or not seem to be endless, the labelling industry is getting ready for what seems to be the next natural step in informing the general public. Product labelling should be as accurate as possible.  Anyway, the choice will always be the consumers’.

Resources: The Guardian, Wikipedia


Product labelling of food items has been a public issue for quite some time. In May 2012 the government began a nationwide consultation of front-of-pack labelling in an attempt to make choosing healthier food easier.

NFU Campaign

Now the public have taken action after a new National Farmers Union campaign launched 12th October 2012 to encourage shoppers to take photos of food labels they view as poor quality. This can mean the person finds them to be uninformative, misleading or confusing.

The real point of contention for the ‘Flag It’ campaign is that the labelling of products such as cheese and milk do not clearly state the country of origin. NFU director of corporate affairs Tom Hind is concerned that this “can confuse consumers into thinking that they are buying British produce when they are not”.

The campaign will use the photographs sent in from the public to review how supermarkets are currently labelling items, and how the clarity can be improved.

Contract Labelling Service

For customers requiring temporary additional resources for specialist labelling applications, the ALS store offers a cost effective contract labelling service with our industrial labeller. This even includes label on label, which can conceal previous labels you feel may be outmoded or improvable.

From the seed that is planted by some blistered hands to the product that is displayed on a shop shelf, there is a long way of hard work, profits and losses. Fairtrade is an alternative approach to conventional trade and is aimed at improving farmers’ lives. It targets small communities, gives shoppers the opportunity to reduce poverty through a simple purchase. Although the initiative was more than laudable, something else was needed to make the small community shops more connected and responding to the demands of the supermarket chains that owned the majority of consumers.

The solution was found in 1988, when the first Fairtrade label, Max Havelaar, was launched under the initiative of Nico Roozen, Frans van der Hoff and Dutch ecumenical development agency Solidaridad. The independent certification allowed the goods to reach the supermarkets. Fairtrade labelling allowed consumers and distributors alike to track the origin of the goods and make sure they benefited the farmers at the end of the chain. Label printers make it possible for other business to use the label, but its use on packaging requires prior license agreement.

In 1997, the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) was created, with the goal of inspecting that the standards were met across all countries that had adopted the system.

In 2002 FLO launched a new International Fairtrade Certification Mark aiming at increased shelf visibility and easier cross border processes.

At present, there are Fairtrade Certification Marks on many products, the most popular being coffee, tea, bananas, mangoes, cotton, etc.  There are an estimated 14 million people in the developing world that depend on cocoa production. 90% of cocoa is grown and harvested on small family farms of 5 hectares or less, while only 5% comes from larger plantations. Coffee, so much in demand, and so much a product we are used to, requires a lot of hard work. It takes four years for a coffee plant to yield fruit.

The reputation of fair trade has soured over the past few years and more and more young people and children are educated in this direction.

Fairtrade is an example to understand the value of a label. It can enrich a life, financially speaking, it can save one, in the case of food labels, it can help shape the prestige of a brand.

Maybe not that poetic, it is industrial labelling that helps a message – information or brand, get conveyed.

If you think of tomato purée, hand cream and oil paints and we give you a small hint: the container, you’ll soon get the picture of what unites them: the tube.

Having low costs of production and easily manufactured in multi-layered options which offer extra protection for certain products – cosmetics or food related, the tube has become one of the most demanded commercial container. Metal, plastic or laminate, it is flexible and air-tight which contributes to a longer and more hygienically storage of the contents.

The tube only receives value once this one gains commercial awareness by means of the label. Targeted at consumers, the label says everything there is to be known: the ingredients, the expiry date and the manufacturer. Proper tube labelling is very important and the advantages have to match those of the very manufacturing of the tube.

  • Improved logistics
  • High quality graphics at a lower cost
  • The labels can easily be re-thought in terms of colours, design and information
  • Can choose between paper, film or metalised labels
  • Labels can be applied in various ways: full-wrap; partial-wrap; with or without product orientation

The ALS tube labeller tackles the concept of labels from both the manufacturer’s and the consumer’s perspective. It is sophisticated, reliable and fast, already present in Europe, USA and Asia. It works at speeds in excess of 100 tubes per minute, being accurate every single time. This is due to the solid foundation that each ALS T-Series machine is built on, which keeps movement and vibration to an absolute minimum. In no time anonymous tubes will be labelled and made known to the consumers.

The packaging industry has made tremendous strides in quality, effectiveness and efficiency in recent decades. As technology has improved and the range and complexity of products needing to be packaged has increased, so has our ability to deliver advanced labelling and packaging solutions.

We now live in a global economy which means products are made and sent all over the world, all the time.The pressure on businesses to deliver products on time and to the highest standard is greater than ever. However thanks to technology such as fast labels and fast labelling machines, the process of packaging and labelling your product is now incredibly efficient.

Labelling machine by ALS, as seen in the video below can work at a relentless pace, delivering the highest quality labelling and packaging solutions. In the video below is ALS FastPaQ UHS 250 labeller, in-line on a carton folding and gluing line.

While there have been massive technological developments in the last 50 years there has been equally impressive advances in the understanding of marketing and customer behaviour which, as a result has influenced the way products we see packaged at the supermarket today.

There have also been big changes in legislation over the decades, particularly in relation to food packaging. Food manufacturers are now legally required to display a huge amount of nutritional information. The company that makes these food items might need to this product labelled tens of thousands of times and with an extremely low margin of error. Thankfully with products like the ALS FastPaQ there is an incredibly low margin of error. Just 0.4 mm!

The other major challenge for the labelling and packaging of products is all down to shape and complexity. Marketing departments are always looking for creative new pays of presenting products, which is fantastic, for customer. For the packaging and labelling industry, the most efficient shapes are simple ones, likes squares and rectangles. However the demands of modern packaging and label application have been met by companies such as ALS.

Barcodes are one of the most utilised items in the retail business word where most products will hold a label that has a printed barcode on it. We won’t talk about what barcode does as everybody already know.

Though, being one of the most used items in the retail world, it also stands a close chance as being the most boring things too. Typically, black strips on a white background for scanning purposes, printed on paper or cardboard by inkjet or thermal ribbons. Boring!

But, who says barcodes cannot be fun? We will share some images today of a collection of fun barcodes that has creative and innovative designs, which in terms of practicality, can be used perfectly well within the business world.

There are many aspects we encounter on our daily life that we pay very little towards or no attention at all, accumulated aspects that helps us create the sophisticated life style that many of us live today. Thermal transfer is one of those aspects that are encountered on a daily basis in various situations from the beginning of a day to the end of the night.

So what is this thermal transfer? Thermal transfer is a printing technology used by the printing industry. It involves printing on paper and other materials by melting a coating of ribbon so it stays glued onto the surface where it is applied. The quality of labels varies depending on the nature of the labels usage. This varies from day to day commercial use such as postage and packaging to industrial hazardous chemical use.

In the morning when checking the post, the labelling used on the letters are encounters of thermal transfer printing. Some labels have different durability purposes, whereby the post stamp itself is designed to be able to survive weather with minimal exposure to rain and water before the item is distorts. The material of the printing is determined by the type of thermal ribbon and the surface material used.

The stamp can be used with wax-resin ribbons where it is designed to last a long time, but should not be in direct contact with liquids such as water, oil or chemicals which would dissolve its image. Thermal transfer printing uses three different types of ribbons which are wax ribbon, wax-resin ribbon and resin ribbon.

During the rest of the day, encounters of thermal transfers will continue as the vast majority of packaged products today have used complex printing methods. Other products such as magazines will also use thermal transfer printing for various samples. Packaging is a vital part of a successful product in today’s competitive market where consumers are short on time and laden with choice.