3 common challenges of food and beverage labeling
May 18, 2021
The food and beverage industry faces many challenges that include adhering to an increasingly complex set of global regulations, maintaining supply chain visibility and meeting localization requirements, like language.
In light of these challenges, many organizations struggle with labeling accuracy, efficiency, compliance and traceability.
All of these challenges can put unprecedented pressure on industries that traditionally use manual methods for data capture and tracking. An example is an organic dairy producer in the US Midwest who was struggling to accurately label testing samples with manual operations, resulting in errors and inefficiencies. With thousands of samples being processed, it became extremely challenging to safely monitor and trace each vial, which could also be in violation of standards, and put human health at risk.
Fortunately, with the right labeling software, companies like the dairy producer are able to automate and manage food labeling processes to address common challenges like those discussed below.
1. Evolving food labeling requirements
One of the biggest challenges with food and beverage labeling is keeping up with the ever-evolving global standards and regulations.
These may include:
- FDA labeling requirements: Such as nutrition facts labels that include serving size, calories, added sugars, daily values and vitamins and minerals.
- The EU’s Food Information to Consumers (FIC) allergen labeling standards: Designed to improve consumer safety by including clear, readable labels that highlight allergens in food.
- Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI): Aims to increase food supply chain transparency, traceability and safety by using standardized labels that include GS1 GTIN, lot number, pack date and voice pick code.
In addition to global compliance, there are regulations like the US FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which creates challenges for food producers and processors due to stringent requirements such as:
- Recording test and safety data for each lot of product
- Tracking a product’s journey throughout the supply chain
- Providing information to regulators within 24 hours of a request.
With so many food labeling requirements to follow, food and beverage operators are under pressure to quickly and accurately address changes to their supply chain while remaining compliant. Printing, traceability and global change management become important issues to address but are difficult to manage with manual systems.
Automated barcode and labeling software can be a game-changer, especially as food and beverage operations expand into new regions and include new or updated products. With automation, organizations don’t need to worry about whether new labels meet compliance standards, or if errors (like misprints, wrong color or barcode disruptions) are being properly addressed.
2. Meeting localization requirements
For global food and beverage labeling, localization is an important consideration. Country-specific labeling regulations must be met, so if a global organization is planning to expand or changes occur, they must be prepared to meet specific geographic requirements.
Common localization challenges include:
- Proper language translation on labels
- Barcode and label placement by region
- Label data
Without proper localization, organizations could be left with costly recalls and consumer distrust.
To ensure the utmost safety for end-users, it’s important for organizations to rely on labeling software with the capability to develop accurate labels in every language and for every region necessary.
3. Limited visibility into the supply chain
Food and beverage labeling processes are complex and with ongoing changes in regulations, expansion and new products, the supply chain can get confusing. If labeling processes get siloed by different parts of the supply chain, visibility decreases, which can lead to difficulties when labeling changes need to be made, like redundancies, inefficiencies and errors. All of this can lead to increased costs due to relabeling.
Business-to-business interoperability, traceability and clear communication between supply chain stakeholders are important for meeting the demands of the food supply chain while ensuring consumer safety. As dynamic information changes, each node of the supply chain will need to adjust to adhere to labeling requirements — from manufacturers and suppliers to distributors and logistics providers.
Food safety and regulatory requirements, like FDA labeling compliance, are particularly important because of the health risks that occur with food labeling errors. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported that, “An estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food, and 420,000 die every year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years (DALYs).”
While not all of those food-related illnesses are the result of improper labeling, it’s crucial that food and beverage supply chains maintain full transparency to prevent potentially life-threatening errors and maintain brand credibility.
Overcome food and beverage labeling challenges with BarTender
When it comes to food and beverage labeling requirements and compliance, localization and supply chain visibility, you need a timesaving, cost-effective labeling solution that will ensure accuracy and efficiency.
BarTender® software for food and beverage labeling is designed to drive business growth with powerful labeling solutions. No matter what size organization, BarTender software has the tools to streamline your food labeling process and meet standards from FDA regulations to global requirements.