If you’re just starting to sell your own craft beer or homemade food product, you’re probably aware that you need to mark and code your items in order to comply with local and federal regulations. But you’re probably not aware of all the benefits marking and coding can give your business and your customers. In today’s blog, we’ll explain how marking and coding is far more than just a mandatory requirement—it’s a way to keep your customers happy, drive sales, and turn a profit!
First: what needs to be printed on my product label?
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration requires the following to be clearly printed on every packaged food label:
- Product name
- Product weight
- Manufacturer/distributor’s name and address
- Ingredients (listed according to amount, from highest to lowest)
- Serving size and calories in each
- Number of servings per product
- Nutritional information
- Any artificial flavor or preservative added
- “Best before” date indication
- A barcode
Note that, while the FDA regulates labeling for most packaged food products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates meat products, which will therefore require additional information. Also, if you want to place a claim on your label, like “100% organic” or “fat free,” be aware that these terms must meet certain criteria to be legally placed on a label.
So, now that we know what we’re putting on our labels, let’s dive into the benefits of doing so—other than complying with the law.
Build trust and drive sales
When consumers can quickly and easily identify what your product contains, they will be more likely to purchase it, because the risk of making a bad purchase is greatly reduced. Marking and coding helps consumers assess whether a product is right for them; whether they will like its taste; whether it contains harmful allergens; and whether it was made in a safe, hygienic area. More and more consumers are distrustful of products—especially food products—that are made in poorly-regulated countries like China, so letting customers know that your product was made in the U.S.A will help them feel more secure in their buying choice. Expiration or “best-by” dates can also help buyers determine that your products are fresh and safe to consume.
Track and manage your inventory
One of the biggest benefits of marking and coding is that it helps you with inventory management. When you’re able to track the movement of your products throughout the supply chain, you can adjust your production schedule according to what is needed. If one item is moving particularly quickly, you can ensure that you are producing enough new batches to meet demand; if another product isn’t selling, you can halt its production, decrease waste, and save money.
Easily discard unwanted products
One of the greatest advantages of marking and coding your products is that it helps you easily discard products that aren’t up to your (or the government’s) standards. For instance, if you discover that a certain batch of cookies had soap accidentally added to it, you can easily identify which items were affected and discard them. If your products weren’t individually marked and coded, you would be forced to discard each and every item produced during a certain time period, wasting a great deal of unaffected product.
Reduce complaints and retain customers
There’s another benefit to being able to quickly recall your inventory: it helps with customer satisfaction and retention. When you discover that a batch of products is of poor quality, or may present a health and safety hazard, your first priority is to ensure as that as few other customers consume it as possible. Marking and coding helps you identify exactly where contaminated items might be, so you can reduce poor customer experiences, complaints, and even lawsuits, all of which will negatively impact your business.
While you’re just getting started, this might not be so much of a concern, but you never know—your product might one day be so popular that people try to sell knock-offs of it! In that case, having good marking and coding policies in place can help protect you from counterfeiting. One popular option is to apply variable codes on the product with UV ink. The codes are invisible to the naked eye, but appear beneath a blacklight, helping assure buyers and retailers that the product is legitimate. Ordinary, plain-ink coding also helps decrease instances of counterfeiting, by helping retailers and consumers trace the product back to its point of origin.
Find coding and marking equipment on the East Coast
If you are searching for marking and coding systems in VA, NC, SC, AL, or MD, call SSI Packaging. Our Richmond VA packaging company supplies a comprehensive range of marking and coding systems which can produce consistent, accurate, high-quality codes at rapid speeds. We are committed to helping you find the best marking and coding solution for your needs, and we provide 24/7 technical support and service for every printing and labeling machine we sell. To learn more, contact us today.