Food safety by the label

Baked bread being packaged on a conveyor belt

Getting food products quickly and safely to retail outlets so they can be sold within their optimum quality period means the supply chain must work fast and accurately. 

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) states food and beverage processing is Australia's largest manufacturing industry. Industry players are diverse in size - from multinationals producing large volumes of fast-moving consumer goods through to smaller players with flexibility to meet demand for niche gourmet items.

The industry supplies a wide range of products to all distribution channels: retail, food service and food ingredients. Flexibility within the industry means product supply quickly matches consumer trends such as health and wellbeing, as well as convenience and value for money. And from paddock to consumer, the industry is supported by reliable and world-class transport and distribution infrastructure.

An important part of that transport and distribution infrastructure is the warehousing and dispatch element. Foodstuffs must be stored and handled in a careful and timely manner, giving thought to FIFO (first in, first out) batch processes and use-by dates.

A developing industry

From an industry that was for a long time dominated by high volume multinationals,  consumer preferences and trends of late have been demanding more convenient, healthier, fresher, less processed foods. This switch has given rise to a flourishing small to medium size industry developing a new range of fast-moving, less processed, nourishing food products called functional foods.

Functional foods are defined by Austrade as foods that provide inherent health benefits as well as those fortified with concentrated ingredients, modified in a way that aims to promote health and wellbeing, grown chemical-free, improve performance or reduce the risk of disease.

By their nature, functional foods demand less processing, lower investments in manufacturing, and are more diverse in flavour and ingredients. Because of the diversity in tastes and lower upfront investment required, a large number of entrepreneurs and eCommerce businesses have sprung up, delivering a huge range and variety of functional foods to every corner of Australia.

Why is food safety important, and what role does labelling play?

All foodstuffs have a use-by date, although their optimum consumption period may be shorter than this. For best taste and quality, and for food safety, foods should be packed and delivered as quickly as possible, ensuring fast sale by the retailer, ultimately to be enjoyed by the customer.

Whether it’s a small or larger food producer, warehouse and supply chain processes must be optimised for the business to succeed. This involves an appropriate storage environment, accurate data processing, quality labelling and efficient material handling.

Quality labelling is especially important in the food distribution network. Labelling must be clear and easy to read, as the amount of information may be quite large and all details are important. FIFO requires batch numbers and dates to be prominent and legible; product identification clear for fast and efficient picking, packing and dispatch; and customer/destination information similarly clear and easy to read for the delivery driver.

Food safety labels and regulations

Australia's rigorous food labelling standards ensure that consumers receive reliable, consistent and accurate information about the products they purchase. Food companies must abide by legislation in accordance with the Food Standards Code which require labels to contain a variety of details such as ingredient lists, nutritional information, product descriptions, allergens and more - all to guarantee quality assurance.

Ultimately, while legislation compels businesses to adopt technology to address these challenges, consumer pressures will drive responsible businesses to put suitable labelling solutions in place sooner rather than later.

4 reasons why labels are paramount to food businesses

One of the most crucial elements in ensuring food safety is the label. In Australia, the government has imposed stringent regulations on labelling requirements and standards. This has in turn prompted the industry to develop innovative technologies and solutions that can cater to these changing requirements.

Here are four reasons why labels play a vital role in maintaining food safety:

1. Compliance with labelling regulations

Food labelling is regulated by the Food Standards Code, which is mandated by legislation for the purpose of ensuring that food is safe and appropriately labelled. The label serves as a crucial means for food businesses to provide adequate information to consumers, including nutrition panel information and ingredients.

Without proper labelling, food businesses can face serious consequences like fines, legal cases, and loss of reputation. To avoid these risks, a reliable labelling solution is necessary.

2. Traceability and product authenticity

Another reason why labelling is critical to operations is to ensure traceability and authenticity throughout the food supply chain. Proper labelling allows manufacturers and distributors to trace the origins of ingredients and track product flow from the source to the consumer.

With the rise of counterfeiting and false advertising, food businesses are facing growing challenges in maintaining product integrity. A reliable labelling solution can help address these issues and provide assurance to consumers that they are getting authentic and safe products. 

3. Waste reduction and cost efficiency

Effective labelling can also bring significant benefits to businesses in terms of waste reduction and cost efficiency.

Labelling mistakes can cause incorrect products to be sent to the market, resulting in high volumes of returned goods and produce that need to be disposed of. This can lead to significant financial losses for businesses. Implementing a labelling solution that is customisable and adaptable to changing requirements can significantly reduce these risks while also saving costs.

4. Enhanced customer experience

Finally, a labelling solution can also enhance customer experience by providing accurate information on packaging and enabling efficient tracking of food items. Customers today demand greater transparency in food labelling, with many opting for natural and organic products.

A reliable labelling solution that can provide this level of transparency can help businesses stay relevant and meet customers’ growing demands. Additionally, with the rise of eCommerce, labelling is becoming increasingly important in tracking and delivering products to customers, ensuring efficient and timely delivery.

Enhance your food safety operations with Brother

Brother’s range of thermal label printers have been developed to help optimise the food delivery supply chain. With easy integration into an organisation’s IT infrastructure, label printers like the TD-4550DNWB are quick to install and provide fast, clear label printing capability at 300dpi across a range of label media. Warehouse staff will be able to focus on fast, efficient dispatch of orders to customers, without having to worry about smudged or unclear product information.

By investing in labelling solutions, food distribution companies can ensure that both the warehouse pick-pack-dispatch operations and the transport delivery to the customer will be optimised, ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty.

An effective labelling solution will streamline processes such as stock management, production tracking and quality control. From cost savings to convenience benefits, Brother’s labelling solutions offers food and beverage businesses an effective way to save resources while increasing overall efficiency.

Contact our labelling specialists for a free consultation today.


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