The Ultimate Guide to Intelligent Label Management in the Food & Beverage Industry

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a tight leash on food and beverage labeling standards. Regulations are prone to change and become more stringent to avoid misinformation and misrepresentation of facts on labels.

To top this, customers are demanding labels that help them understand what they’re consuming to help them manage their health and wellness goals. And according to a study, 86% of consumers wanted retailers to go above and beyond federal regulations to improve ingredient clarity.

That’s why ensuring accuracy in labeling has become more important than ever. But it’s not easy for industries to satisfy consumer and federal demands when it comes to labeling so in this guide, we’ll discuss:

    The status of the food & beverage industry in 2022

    The FDA made changes to Nutrition Label Facts on packaged drinks and food in 2022 based on scientific research and inputs from consumers. This is the first major update in 20 years and will help consumers make informed food choices to support a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of the major changes to nutritional labels:

    Changes to serving size

    Serving sizes or servings per container have been updated to better reflect the amount people typically eat and drink today. For example, the serving size of ice cream was ½ cup in 1993, but today, it’s ⅔ cup.

    The font size for servings per container have also increased to highlight the information.

    Changes to calorie information

    “Calories” is now in a bigger font to ensure that consumers can find the information easily.

    Updated % Daily Value information

    • Daily value for nutrients has been updated based on scientific evidence. So, brands will have to change the nutrient values on the labels accordingly.
    • The footnote at the bottom of the label has changed to better explain the meaning of %DV.

    Information that has been removed

    • Vitamin A & C can be declared on a voluntary basis because the deficiencies are rare today.
    • “Calories of Fat” has been removed because research shows that type of fat consumed is more important than the amount.

    Additional information

    • Vitamin D & Potassium are required to be added on labels since Americans don’t generally get the required amounts.
    • “Added Sugars” in grams and as a percent Daily Value (%DV) must be declared on all labels as it’s difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits when sugar is consumed.

    Consequences of not having updated labels

    The changes discussed above may seem minor but failure to update labels can result in major consequences like product recalls and fines. Here are some major FDA recalls that took place because brands didn’t declare allergen information or were mislabeled.

    • Blue Moose voluntarily recalled its artichoke parmesan dips because it contained undeclared cashew and soy, both of which are major allergens
    • Dierbergs market has recalled their pasta as it contains undeclared egg (a major allergen.) The error occurred because the Broccoli Cheddar Pasta Salad was mislabeled as a fresh garden spiral pasta salad.
    • HP Hood LLC recalled 4,481 packages of Planet Oat Chocolate Chip on account of undeclared peanuts (allergens).
    • Mrs. Miller's homemade jam had to issue a product recall due to a missing soy allergen declaration.
    • Natural organics, Inc also issued a voluntary announcement and recalled their product Keto Living Sugar Capsule as it was found to contain undeclared gluten.

    Challenges in the current labeling process

    Food labeling regulations are subject to sudden change and severe scrutiny by the FDA. So, various stakeholders in the supply chain need to quickly adapt to these changes to avoid product launch delays and secure market share before their competitors. But this is easier said than done because of the following labeling challenges.

    1. Continuous iteration in the labeling process

    Every label goes through several revisions from different cross-functional teams (Legal, Marketing/Branding, and Design) to make sure they meet FDA standards and live up to customer expectations. However, keeping track of these revisions and changes quickly spirals out of control as companies use generic tools like Google Drive, emails, and chat applications to receive feedback. The endless chain of communication makes it impossible to maintain audit trails, assign tasks, and find artwork-related messages easily. As a result, your brand may face launch delays and even lose revenue.

    2. Difficulty in adapting to labeling regulations

    Making labeling changes based on regulations isn’t easy. You’ve to go through the review and approval process again and there’s a high chance that reviewers let a few changes slip through the cracks. Plus, many companies still send hard copies of printed labels to various teams. So, tracking version changes and tracing which team member made the changes is also difficult and increases the risks of non-compliance. Ultimately, these factors affect the bottom line of the company, thanks to the delayed time to market.

    3. Inefficient artwork management

    A company that simultaneously creates a lot of artwork for different products in different languages is prone to be affected by launch delays if it can’t keep up with the volume of changes. For example, Lesser Evil, an American snack brand, and Artwork Flow customer, had to expand its product line quickly because more people started snacking during the pandemic. Their team had to approve 40-50 artworks every month and often, the same team would be involved in approving multiple projects, leading to miscommunication and confusion. Also, the project managers had a hard time combing through their assets to find the latest Artwork version that had to be sent to printing companies. They did eventually solve this problem — here’s how.

    4. Manual errors during review and approval

    When proofing an artwork, it’s easy to miss inconsistencies like font size, font type, brand colors, and more, and have a blind spot for grammatical inaccuracies. However, missing these factors damages brand reputation as it leaves room for the creation of counterfeit products and leads to compliance issues. It also leads to increased printing costs as you’ll have to reprint labels.

    How an intelligent label management system can help?

    We looked at the labeling challenges the food and beverage industry faces on a regular basis earlier. Now, let’s look at how an intelligent label management system can solve these challenges, streamline the approval process, and reduce product launch delays.

    1. Digital transformation: Labeling industries are resistant to change and rely on traditional methods. But when it comes to product recalls, most of them are due to undeclared allergens. An intelligent labeling management system will automatically point out the missing information so companies don’t have to issue recalls and deal with revenue loss.

    2. Reduce human errors: An intelligent labeling management system makes it easy to identify grammatical errors, misspellings, and other inaccuracies like font size, type, and color, so companies can quickly rectify them and accelerate product launches without losing market share to their competitors.

    3. Supercharge the product launch: Collaboration within teams is central to reducing time spent on the artwork approval process. An intelligent artwork management tool helps you track accountability and create automated workflows to streamline the entire process, leaving you with more time to market your upcoming product and focus on other important aspects of the product launch.

    What you should look for while implementing an intelligent label management system

    Now that we’ve understood how an intelligent label management system helps cut down unnecessary costs and scale your revenue, let’s look at what features you should look for while choosing an intelligent label management system.

    • Customizable workflows: Choose a label management system that allows you to customize workflows according to your packaging and labeling needs. For example, an intelligent label management system will send an automated email reminder to the assigned member whenever a deadline is approaching or missed.
    • Centralized asset management: Ideally, a good label management system should be able to track version changes so it’s easy to dig out the latest artwork versions instead of searching for them in endless threads.
    • Smart proofing features: Artwork creation is a long and tedious process. There will be multiple rounds of iterations and proofing tools help reduce the number of iterations. Options to run spell checks, identify font & color inconsistencies and check graphic dimensions can help designers get things right the first time.

    Next, let’s look at an intelligent label management tool that offers you all these features and more to help you stay compliant and reduce your launch delays.

    The only intelligent label management system you need in 2023

    Artwork Flow streamlines the entire artwork and label management process. From the early concept stage to the ready-to-publish stage, the software has built-in features to help you launch products on time without the risks of product recalls. The most beneficial one for the food and beverage industries is called the “smart proofing feature.” It helps our users check their labels for compliance against FSSAI & FDA regulations based on 5 factors with the help of AI models. This tool is available for free on our website to help you enable faster approvals and remain compliant with regulations.

    Here are other ways you can use Artwork Flow to streamline label management in the food and beverage industry:

    • Use customizable workflows and checklists to help your team members stay accountable and meet deadlines.
    • Track changes and maintain consistency in design and packaging through version control.
    • Meet compliances and avoid product recalls with smart proofing tools and checklists.
    • Access files from a single repository with Artwork Flow’s centralized asset management system.

    And if you want to streamline your approval process and eliminate launch delays, contact us right away for a free demo and we’ll show you how Artwork Flow helps you achieve these results.

    Talk to us today
    Manage your creatives and go to market faster with Artwork Flow.
    Book a demo