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Switching to Sustainable Food Labels in 2022

Sustainability is more than just a buzzword for the 21st century marketer.  Increasingly, consumers spanning all age groups and demographics are showing a preference for brands and businesses that do their ‘bit’ for the environment.

Among younger shoppers in particular, commitment to environmental concerns can be an all-out deal breaker. On a broader level, a recent article published by Forbes found that 80% of consumers want the companies they do business with to step up their eco-friendly initiative.

Or at least, demonstrate some kind of awareness about the importance of sustainability.

But this is where things can get somewhat muddled because of the fact that sustainability means different things to different people. Sustainability is something that can be achieved in a variety of ways, including transitioning to more sustainable and eco-friendly food labels.

The Meaning of Sustainable for Food Labelling

Mention sustainable labels and most (people consumers and businesses alike) immediately picture recycled materials, or the use of recyclable materials, enabling the labels to be recycled after being used.

In both instances, recycling plays the most critical role of all in building towards a circular economy. This is where a sector aims to become as self-sufficient as possible, utilising only the materials that are already in circulation.  The opposite of which is a linear economy, where new materials are manufactured, used and disposed of.

Something as simple as the product food label may appear inconsequential when considering the more major threats to the planet right now. When you consider just how many hundreds of billions of labels are printed and discarded daily, you begin to see how big of a deal really is.

Consumer pressure and government legislation are forcing businesses from all backgrounds to step up their eco-friendly game. The use of recyclable (and recycled) materials can help, but there are other ways food labelling activities can be made more sustainable.

For example:

Reusable Labels

Recycling is great, but reuse is even better. Where a product label can be reused, the energy and manpower required to recycle the material can be saved. Many types of food labels can be designed in a way that enables them to be peeled away from the surface, without leaving any residue behind. The use of reusable, low tack, removable labels could help a business significantly reduce label wastage where labelling errors occur.

Reducing Resources

One of the best ways to tackle unnecessary resource utilisation is to cut down product packaging to the bare minimum. Even today, it is still the norm for the tiniest of products to be shipped in enormous boxes up to five times the size of the actual product. All packed with the kinds of protective materials that simply are not necessary along with all manner superfluous embellishments. Most products can be presented, sold and shipped in the most basic packaging with an attractive and informative label, a far more eco-friendly and sustainable approach.

Clear Communication

Of equal importance is ensuring those purchasing the products are provided with the information they need to do their own bit. For example, clear guidelines on which parts of the packaging can be recycled, how much of the packaging comprises recyclable materials and honest information on anything that currently cannot be recycled. Experience has shown that the easier it is for a customer to take positive action, the higher the likelihood they will do so.

Why You Should Consider Sustainable Food Labels

Sustainability is about more than just complying with applicable legislation, or getting on board with the latest retail trends. Even if it means making a raft of alterations to your product packaging and labelling activities, the benefits outweigh the efforts involved.

A few of the reasons why more businesses should consider switching to sustainable food labels are:

  • To encourage sustainable shopping.  Demonstrating your commitment to sustainability sends a strong and important message to your target audience. It shows them that you take sustainability seriously, and so should they. And in doing so, it also speaks volumes for the responsibility and credibility of your brand.
  • To stand out from the competition.  Sustainability is still not being prioritised by nearly enough businesses. Consequently, those who step up their commitment to environmental concerns have every opportunity to differentiate themselves for all the right reasons. Your commitment to sustainability could be brought into your USP for added value.
  • To broaden your audience.  Younger generations in particular are placing heavier emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendliness than ever before. If you intend to appeal to younger consumer audiences and retain them long-term, demonstrating commitment to sustainability is essential.  Stepping up your product packaging and labelling policies could help extend your appeal to a much broader audience.
  • To enhance your image and reputation. There is something universally appealing about a brand that acknowledges and understands the importance of sustainability. Switching to eco-friendly labels could form part of your brand development strategy, giving you a major point of appeal to push at the core of your marketing activities.

Of course, there is also the inherent importance of contributing to a sustainable future in general. It is not exclusively about appealing to customers and selling more products – it is also about working together for the good of the planet.

Making the Switch to Sustainable Food Labels

In most instances, making the switch to sustainable food labels can be a straightforward process. If you already outsource your label printing requirements to a specialist provider they can advise on the environmentally friendly options available. If you handle your label printing requirements in-house, switching to third-party label printing could save you time, effort and money.

It could also simplify the process of making your labelling activities more sustainable with a wide range of high-quality materials and printing options to choose from.

Switching to environmentally-friendly labels and packaging need not adversely affect the appearance, attractiveness or perceived quality of your products. In fact, get it right with the highest-quality labels from a professional printing service and you could be looking at the opposite.

Craig Upton
Craig Upton supports UK businesses by increasing sales growth using various marketing solutions online. Creating strategic partnerships and keen focus to detail, Craig equips websites with the right tools to rank in organic search. Craig is also the CEO of iCONQUER, a UK based SEO Firm and has been working in the digital marketing arena for many years. A trusted SEO consultant and trainer, Craig has worked with British brands such as, and Bridging Finance. Craig has also supported UK doctors, solicitors and property developers to gain more exposure online. Craig has gained a wealth of knowledge using Google and is committed to creating new opportunities and partnerships.

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