Food Labeling

With the increased importance placed on self service marketing, the role of packaging is becoming quite important. For example, in a typical supermarket a shopper passes about 600 items per minute or one item every tenth of a second. Thus, the only way to get some customers to notice the product is through displays, shelf hangers, other point of purchase devices, and last bust not least, effective packages.

Food labeling provides the customers with information to aid their purchase decision or help improve the experience of using the product. The food label:

  • Provides more knowledge about the food item constituents
  • Helps the consumer to stay away from allergic components or additives they do not wish to have
  • To compare similar products at varying prices
  • Helps to improve diet
  • Food producers have to consult their country’s regulations or importing countries’ regulations on proper food labeling before sending labels to be professionally printed. According to the FSSAI regulations, the particulars of declaration required to be specified on the label shall be in English or Hindi in Devanagari script. The food labels have to provide the following mandatory data:
    • Product Name
    • Net Quantity
    • Manufacturer’s name along with the address
    • Nutritional Facts
    • Ingredient List
    • Expiry Date/ Best Before Date
    • Country of Origin for imported food
    • Declaration regarding veg or non-veg
    • Declaration regarding food additives
    • Instructions for use
    • Specific parameters for storing the food item
    • Food Allergens
    • Bar Code
    • FSSAI License Number
    • Logos and symbols to be included in the label

    Apart from the above mentioned declarations, every pre- packaged food needs to comply with the general guidelines laid down by the FSSAI:

    • Pre-packaged food shall not be described or presented on any label or in any labeling manner that is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression regarding its character in any respect;
    • Label in pre- packaged foods shall be applied in such a manner that they will not become separated from the container;
    • Contents on the label shall be clear, prominent, indelible and readily legible by the consumer under normal conditions of purchase and use;
    • Where the container is covered by a wrapper, the wrapper shall carry the necessary information or the label on the container shall be readily legible through the outer wrapper and not obscured by it.

    Apart from the general guidelines, there are several specific guidelines laid down by FSSAI for the different types of food products. For example, every package containing Instant Coffee-Chicory mixture shall have affixed to it a label upon which shall be printed the following declarations;

    Instant Coffee-Chicory mixture made from blends of coffee and chicory

    Coffee…………………………… Per cent

    Chicory………………………….. Per cent

    Hence, before finalizing the food package design, the label needs to be validated to comply with regulations and to ensure they have the well being of consumers in mind.