Choose the proper label
Dairy processors seek shrink-sleeve films that match their sustainability goals. Label vendors have upgraded their technical capabilities. A vendor shares best practices when it comes to labeling dairy foods and beverages.
The best labels to use for cheese are pressure-sensitive film-based labels that are laminated to avoid the destructive nature of condensation and handling. That is the opinion of Don Earl, the president of Overnight Labels, Deer Park, N.Y.
He adds that there is a special pressure-sensitive material for milk containers. It is a wet-strength material that is conducive to the plastic container substrate and is inexpensive.
“Many companies use shrink sleeves for yogurt because of the special shapes of the containers. Shrink sleeves will conform to any shape containers,” Earl said.
Dairy processors must be aware of whether the label is coming in direct contact with the food or if the contact will be indirect. The rules are much more stringent for direct food contact. Earl said he recommends that all labels that come in indirect contact be laminated.
For dairy processors with sustainable practices, Earl’s company offers PLA shrink sleeves and labels made from “tree-free stocks as well as recycled material,” Earl said. The EarthFirst PLA film is printed with water-based inks that are said to contain 90% fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds) than solvent-based inks.
“We let the processor or customer determine what level of sustainability they want to offer. Generally, the more environmentally friendly materials are more expensive. So it’s up to the customer to decide how much cost they want to add to their product.”
Overnight Labels has made two important upgrades recently. It has perfected the ability to print foil on shrink sleeves.
“We can print holographic, gold and silver foil on sleeves. We can also custom tint the foil if a client has a specific foil color that they would like to decorate their package with,” Earl said.
His company also installed a high-definition Flexographic plate processor at its plant. This gives the company the ability to make digital plates with dots at less than 1%, thus eliminating the hard edges most flexo printers struggle with. Earl said another advantage is that the system allows for the ability to change screen patterns from traditional screen values to custom. He added that there are fewer than 100 of the installations worldwide. N
5 best practices for labels in dairy processing
- Add a revision number and date to all labels for traceability.
- Request a PDF proof of the label when ordering, regardless of whether it is a repeat job or not.
- Establish color standards with the vendor.
- Make sure the vendor has the tools to measure color to ensure repeatability and color consistency from run to run.
- Proofread the label backwards to make sure all content is accurate. “Many people only read the label forwards and get lazy,” said Don Earl, president of Overnight Labels.
Source: Overnight Labels, Deer Park, N.Y.