Don’t Confuse The Consumer: Effective Product Packaging

Packaging is not just about getting your product noticed. It is also a way of informing the consumer and allowing them to choose between different products. How do you stay within the prescribed legislation and what information should you be including on your packaging?

Getting your product onto the supermarket shelves isn’t just about what is inside. It is also important you consider the packaging requirements closely. They need to comply with the required legislation, as well as inform the consumer about the contents.

Consumers are much more aware of what should be visible on the packaging. They are also conscious of their rights if something is not as it should be. In the digital age it is far easier to complain via email and online and this could damage your company. There are a range of manufacturing processes to help, including a check weigher to measure the exact amount every time and meet the strict legislative requirements.

Government Legislation
There are a whole range of different legislations applying to the packaging industry. It is important you are up to date on exactly what these cover. This way you can be more confident the packaging you supply meets these strict guidelines. The rules are constantly changing and being updated. Therefore it is vital you seek independent advice if you are at all unsure.

If you don’t comply the fall out could damage your company’s reputation, slow down the market launch of a new product and lead to complaints.

The following legislations apply to the food industry and in particular packaging:

–       The Food Labeling Regulations 1996
–       The Food Safety Act 1990
–       The Trade Descriptions Act 1968
–       The Weights and Measures Act 1985
–       The Packaging ( Essential Requirements) Regulations 2003

What The Consumer Needs To Know
The purpose of packaging, apart from protecting the product, is to provide clear and accurate information about the item. The packaging should include the brand name, ingredients, weight, use by or best before date, instructions on how to store and use the product, as well as your business details. Depending on the type of product, you may also need to include where the product was grown or manufactured.

One area you need to be careful with on your packaging is the nutritional information. There are strict guidelines you need to adhere to, especially regarding the type of statements you can make. For example, there are rules as to which products can use the claims reduced or low fat.

There is also legislation concerning additives, preservatives, stabilizers, colors and the use of GM ingredients. Any product that contains these must be labeled accordingly.

Packaging doesn’t have to be a complex issue. As long as you understand what the requirements are, you will be able to create a product that not only sells well, but that also meets all the compulsory regulations. Failure to comply could not only be an offense, but could be disastrous for the business.

Jane Leigh writes regularly on packaging issues for a range of industry websites and blogs. She has worked with the industry for a number of years and understands how technology, including a check weigher and bag maker, can lead to better packaging solutions. Click here to know more about how packaging can help your business.

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