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A flexible approach to product labelling.

TODAY, food packaging is just as important as the food itself. It is the packaging which distinguishes between brands and is often the deciding factor at point of sale. Obviously, food manufacturers are very aware of this and creative design in packaging is an important ingredient of all food products. Shelf appeal is obviously of great importance to food retailers, especially when they are offering 'own brands' and attractive, high quality 'own labels' are increasingly being used by supermarkets and the like to create shelf appeal and achieve brand loyalty.

The chief advantage of using labels is their flexibility, both in terms of application and in the way they can be quickly redesigned to reflect market shifts or solve unexpected packaging problems. However, this can lay users open to a charge of inferior quality, on the basis that anything which is stuck on cannot possibly be as good as something which reflects an integrated design concept. But today's label designs and sophisticated label printing technology are of such a high standard that it is now virtually impossible to distinguish a labelled product from a product where the design is integral with the packaging.

Thirty Years of Labelling Experience

The advances in design and the improvements in labelling quality are very much due to companies like Goodstrack of Moreton, a company which has been at the forefront of labels and labelling for over thirty years.

Goodstrack today offers the largest stock of catalogue labels available in Britain but its success has been built just as much on its innovation as on its ability to supply standard labels competitively and at very short notice. For example, Goodstrack originated the self-adhesive Polyethylene pouch specifically for the retail trade. This multi-purpose tag or ticket holder has since been adopted by many of the country's leading chain stores.

However, its philosophy of innovation is probably best demonstrated by the way it has worked directly with customers to develop labels for particular requirements. These developments have often been carried out through third parties with the labels eventually appearing on own brand goods of companies such as Tesco, Sainsbury, Safeway, Waitrose and many other multiple chains. More recently, the trend has been to deal direct with manufacturers and significant projects have been undertaken with Premier Brands, Northern Foods and Rank Hovis.

One of the major reasons why Goodstrack has been able to carry out these projects to the highest quality is its on-going investment programme, which has recently seen |pounds~400,000 invested in new plant and people.

A major slice of this investment was devoted to the purchase of a second Ko-Pack 8-colour rotary letter press machine, to back-up the first press which was installed in 1986.

The Ko-Pack machine, which can be operated at speeds up to 330 feet per minute, offers the capability of printing both sides of a face paper with high quality, multi-colour, halftone illustrations and incorporates a variety of in-line processes. It features a unique central impression drum configuration to ensure automatic registration, without the need for frequent operator adjustments. In addition, a built-on video system allows continuous, automatic check of colour register to give non-stop operation.

Goodstrack have already realised one unanticipated benefit from their in-house state-of-the-art printing as they can now offer scratch-free vinyl labels for product applications such as point of sale, where there is frequent spillage or handling. Conventionally, vinyl labels have been printed by a silk screen process, while the only method of imparting scratch-resistance to letter-press printed paper labels was by subsequent laminating. By utilising the Ko-Pack technology and modern UV curing and improved varnishes, Goodstrack can now produce very high quality vinyl labels which are as good as, and often better than, silk-screened products. This was demonstrated recently when Goodstrack developed vinyl labels specifically for a customer who had been using silk-screened bottles. The clear labels with a high gloss varnish to simulate the silk screen effect immediately eliminated the customer's previous problems with delivery delay and inconsistent quality, whilst requiring less storage space. This customer has now converted most of his product range to vinyl labels.

Conclusion

The use of labels in packaging is no longer to be considered only when there is a mistake to be rectified or an updated sales message is required. Even so, this is still and important function of the label.

However, there is now a trend to design labels into the packaging at the concept stage. This allows greater flexibility through the life of a product range, with no detriment to quality.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Food Trade Press Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:product labeling innovations of Goodstrack
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Words:755
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