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Packaging rules are put in place for a reason, make sure you stick to them.

Every now and then the creative industry is placed in a stranglehold, as we attempt to spin our web of aesthetic prowess and prettiness, we are choke slammed, Undertaker style, by-laws and regulations. This frequently happens when completing design work within the food sector due to the rules and guidelines in place.

What can go wrong?

It is pivotal for everyone involved to know that mislabelling a product is a criminal offence whether the outcome of the labelling poses a threat or not. The offence is governed by the European Food Information to Consumers (FIC) and carries varying punishments dependent on the severity of the offence. As a business owner, you must investigate the laws beforehand to avoid landing yourself in a sticky situation further down the line. Also as a proactive design agency, we would advise against using designers who are unaware of the guidelines and regulations.

What are the restrictions?

It is difficult to pick a good place to start when it comes to the regulations in place, mainly due to certain specific product types having regulations of their own, for example, meats have a set of labelling rules that differ from those who govern sugars.


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Are there mandatory pieces of information?

With every food product packaging we design we have to take into account a certain amount of mandatory features which the label MUST include. These are:

  • Name of the food
  • List of ingredients
  • Ingredients or processing aids causing allergies or intolerances that are stated in the 14 Allergens
  • Quantity of certain ingredients or categories of ingredients
  • Net quantity of the food
  • Date of minimum durability or the ‘use by’ date
  • Special storage conditions and/or conditions of use
  • Name or business name and address of the food business operator
  • Country of origin or place of provenance
  • Instructions for use where it would be difficult to make appropriate use of the food in the absence of such instructions
  • The alcohol strength by volume for beverages containing more than 1.2 % of alcohol, by volume
  • Nutritional declaration

Other factors such as foods containing gases, sweeteners and high caffeine content must also be disclosed on the labelling.

Does mandatory information have to be portrayed in a certain way?

The short answer is yes. For the safety of the public, any savvy designer will know the exact details of what size font the relevant information needs to be designed in. A successful agency is after all only as successful as their clients and therefore extra care must be exercised when consumer health and safety is concerned. As much as a product design may mean to an individual the risk is far too great and none of the mandatory information can be concealed by another font or any graphics.

For any more information on the industry guidelines pop on to https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/packaging-and-labelling and feel free to contact us with any enquiries you may have. Also note, rules depend on the country you are in; make sure you check.