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Carol Houghton: Label innovation at our fingertips

Since starting at Labels & Labeling I’ve become aware of the standards put in place to protect consumers’ health, particularly with regards to ink migration and adhesives for food applications.

It has occurred to me when buying fruit and vegetables, having peeled off the label and bitten into it, if some of the label’s residue has been left on the skin which I am then chewing on. Furthermore – as an example – apples are displayed loose in cardboard boxes; I’ll rummage through until I find the greenest apple, one without any bruises and that doesn’t have the slightly mottled brown patch near the stem. Who knows whose hands have been all over the apple I might select, or where their hands have been. I might rinse the apple under the tap, but what does that do? I’m sure it doesn’t remove the adhesive left from the label nor the germs from other shoppers, let alone the pesticides used for growing.

L&L’s North American editor, Danielle Jerschefske, recently sent me an interesting link; designer Scott Amron has created an innovative alternative to the fruit label. Like other labels, the Fruitwash Label displays price look-up codes for fast and accurate check-out; the clever part is activated when washed or rubbed with water, causing it to dissolve into ‘an organic fruit cleansing produce wash’. The soap helps removes wax, pesticides, fungicides, dirt and bacteria.

In my last blog I mentioned the HomePlus story: using QR codes to ‘turn waiting time into shopping time’. Frosta in Poland has begun using the codes to make consumers’ lives easier in another way. When scanning a code printed on the packaging of Frosta’s frozen pan fried vegetable products, the consumer is taken to a website of recipe suggestions and ways to prepare the product. Once a consumer selects a meal from this site, they are provided with a list of additional ingredients needed to help them complete their shopping. A paper version of the recipe can also be printed.

Please feel free to share any other innovations or technological advances that you’ve seen or heard about recently!

Carol Houghton
Editorial assistant
Labels & Labeling