What’s in a label

How often do you really look at a food label? Have a rummage in your kitchen cupboard, find a packet or tin and take a good long look.  They’re actually pretty complex things.  There’s an awful lot of quite detailed information conveyed on them and it’s laid out in a very precise way. That’s because they’re governed by very strict rules and regulations about what they must cover and how it is to be presented.  Recently we were lucky enough to work with a team of bright young business school students from Edinburgh Napier University who wanted to explore just how complex the process was for putting together a food label and to see if there was anyway to make life easier for those who have the responsibility and headache of getting it right.

The team began by understanding all of the requirements, rules, laws and regulations for putting together a new food product label and the complex multi-step, multi-actor process that underpins it.  They were especially keen to understand the difference between the UK (post Brexit) and the EU – since many companies want to sell their products into both markets. The requirements cover things like compositional descriptions, quantitative ingredients, nutritional values, storage instructions, best before or use by dates, warnings and allergens, place of origin, packaging and directions for use. Of course, all of this must sit alongside your design, branding and bar codes.

Once they’d got to grips with the regulations and complexity the team modelled the process in our Okuda tool.  We were able to help them rapidly create a working prototype workflow tool that would allow anyone to monitor and control the end-to-end process for creating a fully compliant food label that ensures all the right people, departments and organisations that need to be involved had done their part in the right order and to the right standard. The penalties for not getting a food label right can be severe so it makes sense to have a simple tool that makes sure every label you create is right whichever country your product is being sold in. You can see a video demo of their solution here: https://youtu.be/RfSpXFf0zrQ.  If your creating complex labels for products and you’d like some help making sure you get the process right every time, drop us a message – we’d love to chat.