4-minute read
On a typical grocery store shelf, dozens of competitive products are packed together in close quarters, inches apart, vying to be put in the shopping cart. Competition is fierce.

The goal of purchasing that valuable retail shelf space is to have the product purchased, not just to sit on the shelves. The question is — When a consumer is looking at a shelf of related products and chooses one to buy, which factor most influenced their purchasing decision? Along with popularity, price, and ingredients, one of the main components of the choice is based on the products’ visual appeal. Does it look good? Does it look better than the others on the shelf?

Other than the actual product inside (if you can see it), the product’s label will enhance the visual appeal. Businesses often spend valuable time brainstorming for the perfect label design that represents the product, as well as the company or brand. Do not minimize the importance of the product label when it comes to increasing your sales! Here are a couple of tips for food product label design to help your products get through the checkout lane more often than your competitor.

Know Your Audience

You need to know what your customers are looking for before you begin to draft design ideas. Food labels typically have minimal space to convey a lot of information. Food labels must convey your company’s commitment to fresh and quality ingredients, sanitary processes, and delicious taste. You must understand the expectations of your audience. If they want an Italian dish, they are looking for colors, images, and lettering that they associate with Italy. If they want a healthy meal, they may want to see whole grains and vegetables. You can also capture a snapshot of your target audience on the label — think of the face of a baby on a jar of baby food or a tough cowboy on beef jerky packages.

Think about other aspects of your target audience, such as income level. Therefore, the packaging intention of an economy can of soup is to look generic, while a higher-end name-brand soup includes high-definition images, fancy lettering, and well-known logos. The same product can often have a distinctive look in its packaging and be labeled differently for different markets and different customers. There are other things you could learn about your audience, take time to study and do your research.

Know Your Competitors

Audience expectations can really help you pinpoint the type of label design you should move toward, but there is another thing to take into consideration — what are your competitors doing? If they are all following a widespread practice, such as making Italian product packages using red, green, and white colors, then the whole grocery aisle starts to look the same.

You want to stand out and “get noticed” — so you need to think differently. This is not to say you should ignore audience expectations, but you should meet them in a new and eye-catching way.

Whether it is a quote, picture, or object that represents your product, it should be straightforward and easily recognizable. It should trigger a certain emotion — like reminding the customers about a warm, home-cooked meal, or the great spice of a Mexican salsa they had on their vacation. Your product should communicate to the audience both how you will fulfill their expectations, and also show how your product is different from the products next to yours.

The Finished Label

Once you have developed a label design, you will need to get it produced. This is another decision that could impact customer response to the product. If the label printing quality is low or the material looks faulty, it could cause the customer to choose your competitor. And what about quality? If it looks great on the shelf but falls apart in the fridge, a consumer may choose someone else on the next grocery store trip.

There is a multitude of variables that come into play when custom printing product labels. Companies such as Columbine Label Company in Centennial, Colorado, can take your label design and determine the best process to use for printing your labels. They will decide based on multiple questions, such as: What will the packaging be? Is the product hot or cold? What is the shelf life of the product? They will determine what printing material and printing processes to use to make sure the label looks great over time.

The best next step is to contact Columbine Label and ask for a quote. They will help you get your eye-catching label on your product so you can get it sold!



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Printer of digital labels, tags, stickers, shrink sleeves, and flexible packaging. Quick turn around