New food labelling is a pinch of salt says TCL Packaging

TCL-Printing-plate-1TCL Packaging of Telford, printers of packaging films say that introducing the new front-of-pack food labelling makes virtually no difference to flexible packaging costs and manufacturers should embrace this consumer-positive change.

The new labelling, widely expected in 2013, is likely to consist of coloured traffic light style indicators and one of the industry objections raised is that labelling could potentially add significant cost to packaging repro and print costs.

“With printed films, there’s a nominal cost to incorporate front of pack labelling but it’s insignificant” says TCL managing director Mike Golding. “We have reviewed our customer base and 85% of designs can use the existing number of colours and just exchange or add two new plates to achieve the new labelling. In some cases, changes will be cost neutral as part of a scheduled redesign programme”

TCL says good planning is the key to minimising waste and maximising print cost efficiency. “By working with packaging designers and repro houses” says Golding “we help them understand how to achieve optimum results from the minimum number of colours and the best separation techniques. With manufacturers and packers we advise on cost-efficient transition and minimising waste”

Some retailers and manufacturers have already adopted labelling, even though a uniform design has yet to be agreed and Golding believes this is to their credit “Although the labelling scheme is voluntary, we believe brands will gain in reputation from being early adopters and openly sharing this nutritional information with consumers – who will drive this change whether the industry likes it or not”

There is also some suggestion that prevaricating brand owners could lose market share as the labelling system becomes a consumer expectation, but the message from TCL is clear – increased print or repro costs are not a credible stalling factor.

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