Food Labeling – Food Date Labeling Act of 2016

New Food Labeling Legislation & It’s Potential US Industry Impact

In an effort to simplify food labeling and reduce US food waste, Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME-) introduced the Food Date Labeling Act of 2016 (HR5298) on May 19, 2016. This bill came about because:

  • Date food labeling practices on food labels causes consumer confusion because of “sell-by,”“best-by,”“use-by,” and “best before” dates.
  • Up to 90 percent of people in the United States occasionally throw out still-fresh food, due to this confusion.
  • This is estimated to cause 20 percent of consumer waste of safe, edible food ($29 billion)
  • Consumer education and standardized date labeling are the top 2 most cost-effective strategies for reducing food waste.

If your food labeling uses any of the phrases “sell-by,”“best-by,”“use-by”, and “best before”, and is not exempt, you may need to change your labels to “quality date, and “safety date.”

According to Freedonia, the US label market will reach $19.7 billion in 2019. Food labels make up $4.4 billion of that figure. This change in legislation will have a significant impact on the food labeling sector. Large, established brands with digital printing capability will be impacted the least, as they can make the necessary changes relatively quickly.

What about smaller brands that have their labels printed by third parties?

The solution is printing labels and packaging in-house. Afinia Label has a number of solutions, depending on the scale of your operation.

L301 Small Business Label Printer


The L301 is a sub-$2,000 food labeling printer powered by HP technology. Smaller brands sometimes print labels on sheet-fed desktop printers and then have to manually apply them. The L301 is designed for the specific purpose of printing high-quality labels from pre-cut roll stock, to increase the shelf appeal of your product.

If you happen to have your labels printed by a third party, the L301 can pay for itself by allowing you to print as many labels as you need, when you need them.

Imagine how many labels will become obsolete when the Food Date Labeling Act of 2016 passes. Printing your labels in-house makes you immune to changes in labeling regulations.

L801 Digital Label Printer

L801 Label Printer for Food Labeling

The Memjet-powered L801 is an excellent choice for brands needing thousands of different labels. It can print up to 14,400 4″ x 6″ labels/hour on pre-cut label stock. With its optional rewinder, the L801 can wind labels on rolls that are compatible with most adhesive-backed label application systems.

The L801 works with Wasatch SoftRIP software to make sure your products have effective branding and shelf appeal. Wasatch SoftRIP allows you to match your brand’s PMS colors no matter the label substrate or environmental conditions affecting your facility.

The L801 can also batch multiple label runs and will automatically cut in between each job.

DLP-2000 Mini Digital Label Press

Memjet-powered DLP-2000 Mini Digital Label Press

The DLP-2000 allows established brands to print their labels at-scale, for whatever environment your food products might face. It prints (with its included L801), laminates, rotary die-cuts, removes matrix, slits, and rolls labels and prepares them for automated application. You can use your existing RotoMetrics®, or similar, 12″ magnetic dies on the DLP-2000

The DLP-2000 can produce up to 7,200 4″ x 6″ labels/hour, which is fast enough to supply even the most aggressive food production schedules.

The DLP-2000 comes with the Memjet-powered L801, so your per-label ink cost will be among the lowest available: less than $0.03 for a 4″ x 6″ label with 75% coverage.

CP950 Carton & Package Printer

Afinia Label CP950 Digital Cardstock and Packaging Printer

Large food brands can afford to purchase huge runs of packaging to take advantage of low per unit costs. What do you do if you’re a small brand? Prior to the Afinia Label CP950, small food brands purchased packaging at high minimums. Now, that’s not necessary.

The Memjet-powered CP950 can print on packages and cartons that are up to 9″ wide and 1/4″ thick. Think corrugated and chip-board boxes and cartons. The CP950 also prints on bags, padded envelopes, letterhead, and regular mailing envelopes.

If you have an application, we would be happy to print your design on your packaging to make sure the CP950 is the right choice for your brand. Just send us a message.

A300 Label Applicator

Afinia Label A300 Label ApplicatorIt’s great to have engaging and well-designed labels. If they are not applied and oriented correctly, they lose shelf appeal. The Afinia Label A300 Label Applicator is a nice addition to the purchase of one of our label printers to ensure correct label application.

The A300 operates at five different label application speeds. It can consistently place up to three labels on  cylindrical containers ranging from 0.6″ to 6.7″ in diameter. The A300 operates hand-free via a foot pedal and, with its optional label backing rewinder, keeps the label application process moving by keeping the label backing out of the operator’s way.

The design of the A300 is a significant improvement over other label applicators.

Contact us to learn more about any of our label printing and finishing solutions, and how they work for your business.