How to Label Your Honey Products
Why Product Labels Matter
Product labels are all around us: on food, clothes, cosmetics, technical equipment, furniture, office supplies, and many more items. They serve three different purposes: to help producers keep track of their products, to inform buyers about an item’s characteristics and to make the product packaging visually appealing to the consumer.
There are many different approaches to creating product labels. Some businesses like their labels to be simple and straightforward (including only a logo, or a single word in a beautiful font), while others are in favor of elaborate designs and wealth of information (as much as it can fit on a label). In general there is no right approach to creating product labels, but each business and company should develop their own unique stickers that will be recognizable and professionally represent a brand.
4 elements that are combined to create a product label are:
In order to create all these elements, a serious research should be conducted prior to starting the design. Some basic questions to ask are: what does the company represent and what feelings should it evoke? Should the label be serious and communicate to business professionals, or funny and communicate to younger population? What colors should be used to attract buyers? No element on a product label should be chosen randomly.
The best way to understand how important these elements are is to use the example of colors. For example, a business owner might like the color red. However, if they are trying to sell a product that should help people relax and de-stress, the energetic, passionate red is probably not the best color to instill a sense of trust in consumers that this product is really useful for their particular problem or need. Honey producers, for example, often choose the warm color of honey for their labels because it directly affects the consumer’s basic emotions and appetite.
Another key factor in creating successful product labels is: text placement. Having important information about the product prominently displayed on the label is not only a benefit for the consumers, but also a legal requirement in many countries. In some countries these requirements for proper food labeling are so complex, that many companies hire labeling experts to help them out. One example is the US Food and Drug Administration that regulates how packaged food products in the States are labeled.
The Importance of Food Safety Agencies
With the rise of diseases caused by unhealthy nutrition, people are increasingly concerned with what they are eating. It’s not only a matter of whether the food is delicious anymore. People have never been as informed about food safety as they are today, but there’s still a long way to go before everyone is as informed about food as they should be.
Health departments and food safety agencies such as the FDA and USDA in the United States, Food Standards Agency in the UK, Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Canada and similar agencies have been around for many decades, improving the ways they regulate food safety issues. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is in charge of most of the packaged foods that are sold and distributed throughout the United States, and their heavy responsibilities include monitoring food labeling, so that all the consumers are properly informed about the contents of food packaging they buy.
The problem with FDA labeling regulations for many food producers is their complexity. There are thousands and thousands of pages of text on how to place information about the food on a label. Some of the things that food producers need to know are:
Complex or not, the FDA regulations have to be met. They are made to protect the consumers’ interests, and it’s certainly in every food manufacturer’s interest to instill a sense of trust in a potential customer.
Honey products that are sold commercially in supermarkets across the US states are among those products that need to be labeled according to FDA requirements. These requirements are general and state that honey labels need to contain:
1. Statement of identity (the word
“Honey” prominently displayed at the front of the label)
If sweeteners or other ingredients are added to the product, that needs to be clearly stated in the ingredients section.
Aside from these requirements, there are rules for including other claims such as notifying the consumers that the honey is pure, natural, organic, raw, unfiltered, pasteurized, etc. When included on the label, these claims mean the following:
- Pure honey is honey that is not
mixed with water, sweeteners and other added ingredients.
Though many beekeepers are dissatisfied with how some of these claims are regulated in the US (especially the “organic” claim), serious honey producers know that truthful and proper labeling will earn them customers and keep them from getting penalized.
There are several U.S. states that have their own honey labeling regulations, among which are Florida, North Carolina, Minnesota, etc.
Also, most hobby and part-time beekeepers who produce honey in smaller quantities for themselves and local consumers do not conform to their state’s regulations, but create honey labels according to general standards.
Laws on honey labeling differ across the globe, but the main requirements are usually the same. Most countries require that honey jars or bottles sold in stores contain labels with information on what is inside the packaging (i.e. “honey”), country of origin, address of the manufacturer/packer/distributor and weight of the contents, but there are some countries and states that require additional information.
For example, in Australia honey labels need to contain the lot identification, date marking and nutrition labels. England also requires honey manufacturers to provide best before date. In Canada they need to include information about the grade and color of honey. Honey products that are exported from Alberta need to contain a registration number. The rest of the world also has their own regulations when it comes to honey. Though many beekeepers and consumers will agree that food safety and labeling standards could be improved and better regulated, it is generally considered that labels are an absolutely necessary and essential component of every product packaging.
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