Baked goods on display at a restaurant.

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Are there benefits to not hand labeling foods?

Automated Labeling Puts Focus on the Food

Today’s “smart labels” relieve a lot of headaches for the full-service restaurant operator.

There is no doubt people are thinking a lot more about what they’re eating. It’s a trend that will continue to rise.

In fact, 80 percent of Americans say healthy food choices on the menu play a role in which restaurants they frequent, according to The Statistics Portal, a national marketing and statistical data firm. The full-service restaurant industry has long led the charge of healthy eating—from the farm-to-table movement and local sourcing to providing vegan and gluten-free options.

With the new labeling requirements, some full-service operators are getting smarter by using “intelligent labels” to track foods—such as fresh vegetables, cheeses, meats—as well as automated labels.

For pre-made items, many full-service restaurant owners are finding benefits in the use of special printers that offer easy-to-read labels with nutrition information already calculated—and pre-loaded—to eliminate errors, save time and remain in compliance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 2018 labeling mandate. 

It may seem acceptable to hand-label pre-made items, but employee handwriting is often illegible or can contain inadvertent errors, leading to potential compliance issues. The margin for error is simply too large.

When it comes to items in the cooler, Radio Frequency Identification labeling is growing in popularity among operators, helping them solve supply chain challenges related to food safety and traceability. A bar code easily scanned lets an operator know when something was ordered, when it expires and how often its being consumed and sold.  The information from that bar code is all logged digitally and easily accessible so operators can seasonally track inventory needs.

Today’s “smart labels” relieve a lot of headaches for the full-service restaurant operator—calculating nutrition and calories for pre-made foods and tracking inventory to stay on top of the supply chain. 

That information reduces waste and increases profits. So you can keep making—and selling—fresh, healthy food.

Ryan Yost is general manager for the Printer Solutions Division (PSD) for Avery Dennison Corporation. Avery Dennison Printer Solutions responds to the unique challenges of businesses in the food, retail and fulfillment markets. Its solutions are rooted in efficiency, cost savings, food safety and sustainability through intelligent innovations that solve business problems and improve business processes.

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