design food labels

As a business owner in the food or nutrition industry, you know that product labels play a crucial role in attracting consumers and building trust. In this article, we’ll explore the five essential decisions you need to make when planning and designing custom labels for your food, pet, or nutritional products.

Setting the Stage: The Power of Well-Designed Labels

Effective labels are more than just stickers on a package. They convey vital information, create brand identity, and influence purchasing decisions. Whether your product sits on a local store shelf or ships internationally, a well-designed label can make all the difference.

Consumer Expectations and Trust

Consumers rely on labels to make informed choices. Clear, accurate information builds trust and encourages repeat purchases. As a business owner, understanding your customers’ expectations is a key to label success. A product’s label should consider what you know about your customers. As a piece of marketing materials, the label should be an extension of your company’s brand.

Consider Your Label’s Natural Environment

Before diving into design decisions, consider where your product will be used. Is it indoors, outdoors, in a freezer, or on a store shelf? Will it be sold in the USA or internationally? Knowing this helps you choose the right labeling material. One versatile option is Pressure Sensitive Labels (PSLs) because of their versatility.

  1. Decision: Crafting Effective Marketing Language

When designing your label, keep these tips in mind:

  • Colors and Graphics: Choose colors that resonate with your brand and evoke the desired emotions. Graphics should be simple, relevant, and eye-catching.
  • Nutrient Claims: Nutrient-related claims (like “high-fiber” or “low-fat”) impact consumer perception. Be accurate and transparent.
  • Regulatory Limits: Understand terms like “gluten-free” and adhere to legal boundaries set by the FDA.
  • Source: Refer to the FDA’s guidelines on nutrient content claims.
  1. Decision: Serving Size and Caloric Information

  • Importance of Accuracy: Serving size affects calorie calculations. Ensure your label reflects realistic portions.
  • Nutrition Facts Label: Recent changes in serving size requirements impact how you present caloric information.
  • Source: Refer to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health for insights on serving size guidelines.
  1. Decision: Allergens and Ingredient Transparency

  • Allergen Labeling: Clearly list common allergens (e.g., gluten, nuts) to protect consumers.
  • Ingredient Lists: Transparency matters. Be thorough and concise.
  • Additives and Colorings: Follow FDA requirements for labeling additives.
  • Source: Explore the FDA’s allergen labeling regulations.
  1. Decision: Designing for Different Containers

  • Container Shape and Size: Labels should fit seamlessly on various containers (jars, bottles, pouches).
  • Label Durability: Consider wear and tear based on storage conditions.
  • Printing Techniques: Choose between digital, flexographic, or offset printing.
  • Source: Industry-specific resources provide valuable insights.
  1. Decision: Material Selection

  • Pressure Sensitive Labels (PSLs): Versatile, easy to apply, and suitable for various surfaces and environments.
  • Cut-and-Stack Labels: Ideal for glass containers.
  • Shrink Sleeves: Perfect for irregular shapes.
  • Source: Consult label manufacturers for material recommendations.


In the competitive world of food and nutrition products, your label is your voice. It is your ambassador. Make these five decisions wisely, and your product will stand out, inform consumers, and build lasting trust. Plus, you don’t have to make the decisions alone. At Better Label and Products, we’ve been helping companies with their strategy, design, and label application needs for more than 20 years. Give us a call at 404-948-3525