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< prev - next > Food processing Preserves KnO 100225_Food Labelling (Printable PDF)
Food labelling
Practical Action
Types of food label
All food products should be labelled. The type
of label used varies according to the type of
product, the packaging container, individual
preferences and local availability of labels. The
most common (and cheapest) type of label is
the paper label that is glued onto the container.
Self-adhesive labels are also available but may
be more expensive.
Paper labels are made out of plain paper. The
information can be written by hand, or it may be
printed if this facility is available. The labels are
glued and applied to the containers by hand.
The best way to apply these labels is to have a
guide rail affixed to the work surface. The pile
of labels is placed face down beneath the guide
rail. The top label is glued and the container is
rolled over the label, with the top pressed up to
the guide rail. The container is then rolled over
a rubber mat, to firmly press the label onto the
container. Figure 3 shows a simple frame that
can help in this operation. Labelling equipment
is available to apply the labels more quickly and
to give a better finish.
Figure 2: A table used to fix labels.
Water soluble glues such as starch or cellulose
based glues are best for returnable containers,
allowing labels to be removed easily. Water
soluble glues can loose adhesion in humid
climates so non water-soluble glues, made from
plastic polymers, can be used.
Self-adhesive labels are already gummed and just
need to be stuck onto the container. Care should
still be taken to ensure the label is applied neatly.
Small labelling machines are available that can
apply the labels to the product. The type shown
in Figure 4 can apply 30-40 labels per minute.
Figure 3: A powered labelling machine.
Basic generic label design
If a range of products is being produced it is
possible to use a common label design that can
then be adapted for each product line. For smaller
producers this helps keep the design and print
costs down.
There should be some standard artwork or brand
image and standard information on the
manufacturer can be included with a blank area left
for further information about the product to be
added at a later stage. The product can be
identified either by writing on the label or by using
stickers containing the relevant information.
Figure 4: labelling dried jack fruit in Sri
Lanka. Photo: Practical Action / Zul.