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Food labeling 101

How you design your label may well decide if your product is going to fly off the shelves or sit there forever.
By Entrepreneur Staff |

Your label must have visual appeal to make your product stand out in the supermarket shelves. It should be your silent salesman. "When you make a design or label, you have to think in terms of 'Where will I display it?'" says Divina Sonido, vice president for external affairs of the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization. "You have to visit the supermarket and see how it fares with the neighbors. Makikita ba sya o malulunod ba siya? (Will it be seen or will it get drowned amidst other products?

That said, Sonido, whose company, Food Development and Training System, offers label and packaging consultancy services, adds that your label must also contain accurate information to avoid misleading the buyer or giving false impressions of your product and its contents.

Your label's principal display panel is that portion shown in groceries and stores; its information panel is that part immediately to the right of your display panel.

  • Your display panel must contain your registered brand name and the contents and weight of your product, says Sonido.
  • Your information panel must include the complete list of your product's ingredients and things like the product's date of manufacture and expiration date, its bar code, and the manufacturer's name and address.

As well, there are extra labeling requirements for:

  1. Alcoholic beverages (alcohol content in percentages or proof units)
  2. Food supplements (statement declaring "No Approved Therapeutic Claim" unless otherwise proven)
  3. Fortified processed foods (nutrients added)
  4. Bottled drinking water (whether spring, mineral or purified).

Sonido also warns of prohibitions, such as one stopping you from using the picture of a mango if your product only contains mango flavor, or using a picture of a dish or food preparation in your sauce mix without a qualifying statement (such as "serving suggestion").


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