What’s in a label? Sometimes a label is the flag bearer for a long product history that’s somehow made an impact on you; often the label may connect you to a slice of life.
Consider the varied, interesting and eclectic labels on wine bottles, for instance. Many wine connoisseurs have quaffed a fine vintage and then carefully soaked and gently removed the label from the bottle. Then, it is dried and held between the pages of a scrapbook to contain the recollection of some momentous occasion — or just kept in a wine label reference book as a reminder of what red to pick up from the grocer’s wine rack next time steak au poivre is on the menu.
Perhaps a label conjurs a childhood memory. Diana Fruit Company has a history that dates back to the 1920s when the European delicacy, the maraschino cherry, found a new home in California and a company to support it. Not long after came a canned good known to most children who grew up in the 30s through the 70s — fruit cocktail with the signature hot pink cherry. The colorful stand-alone cherry from the Santa Clara company also was the perfect topping to childhood treats like the ice cream sundae and banana split. As a condiment, it could transform as the customer aged, turning into the finishing touch on that happy hour cocktail. The familiar labels on the Diana maraschino cherry jars invoke memories for many customers.
“The label is so important because it’s the billboard for your product,” says Daryl Isaacs, purchasing manager of Santa Cruz Nutritionals in northern California. Design and a certain look and feel that identify the brand are key components of labeling. But Isaacs understands there’s a lot more behind a label.
In production and packaging, labeling likely is one of the last applications before a package is complete, whether filling a bag on a vertical form and fill seal line or packing a master case, Isaacs explains.
“It’s just absolutely imperative to have a high quality label from the backing to the roll stock to the adhesive,” says Isaacs. Any issues with a label—from a label not adhering to a package to ink that comes off the label — may lead to potential rework and repack. This means lost productivity, decreased efficiency and increased scrap.
Beginning as a snack manufacturer, Santa Cruz Nutritionals has evolved through the years to its current iteration as a producer of vitamin-enriched gummy products. In that time, hundreds of product lines have been produced and shipped in a wide array of packaging formats, all of which require a variety of label applications. Through the years, Gilroy, Calif.-based Creative Labels, Inc. has been instrumental in meeting the dynamic and ever-changing label requirements of Santa Cruz Nutritionals and has worked with the company to make the best decisions on labeling, ultimately delivering the highest quality roll stock, Isaacs says.
Getting to that end product, according to Isaacs, means navigating a label production planning process and carefully working through a variety of considerations. This includes determining whether the label requires a permanent or nonpermanent adhesive, how many colors need to be used in the printing process and to what sort of material — acrylic, PET bottles, flexible polyester packaging or corrugated shippers — the label will be applied, among other considerations. Santa Cruz Nutritionals has many ongoing projects and essentially fills customer orders to demand and some to forecast.
“Creative Labels has a very strong commitment to customer service. Our basic orders have always been high quality, competitively priced and turned around quickly,” Isaacs says. “They have been able to find solutions for several projects that had very unique applications and precise requirements,” he adds.
Based in Salinas, Calif., Monterey Gourmet Foods has seven premium brands under its umbrella: Monterey Pasta Company, Monterey Gourmet Foods, Cibo Naturals, Emerald Valley Organics, Sonoma Foods and Isabella's Kitchen. Their pastas, pestos, tapenades, cheeses, dips and salsas are sold in most natural foods stores and a variety of grocery store chains.
The product labels are reminiscent of an old Monterey and days of John Steinbeck during the historic days of canneries. “Our labels have come a long way,” says Heidi Moore, senior buyer with Monterey Gourmet Foods.
Moore also appreciates working with Creative Labels because of the consistent print quality, the quick turnaround and the close working relationship the two companies have developed. “I would love to clone them,” she says.
Consistency in the product labels is very crucial for manufacturers because even the slightest variance can be quite noticeable on the store shelves.
Moore adds that a bonus of working with Creative Labels is they are local. “Our service is very fast, because they just drive our order directly to us,” says Moore, who also is pleased to work with an environmentally friendly business that has a strong commitment to recycling and solar power.
Founded in 1980, Creative Labels specializes in one-color to full-color high quality printing of pressure-sensitive labels, tags and coupons for a variety of industries. A HarvestMark certified company, Creative Labels is equipped to handle the most technical and advanced label applications required and can produce a wide variety of custom printed products with variable data. For more information, contact Creative Labels, Inc., 6670 Silacci Way, Gilroy, CA 95020; Phone: (866) 552-2357 / (408) 842-0376; Fax: (408) 842-7188 or visit the website at www.creativelabels.com.