Nutrition Facts Label Changes: What They Are and What They Mean

What Has Changed and Why : In early May of 2016, the FDA released new regulations for the Nutrition Facts labels we are so used to seeing appear on a large portion of food and beverage packages. These new regulations are designed to highlight scientific information specific to various foods enjoyed by the American consumer. In addition to detailed nutrition facts these labels will provide information on the link between obesity and heart disease. Aside from requiring calories, servings per person, and serving sizes to have bolder and larger fonts, the physical appearance of the new label maintains its “iconic” look that we are accustomed to seeing on food and beverage packages. The serving size portion of the label now displays two metrics, the amount of cups from one serving and the equivalent amount of grams per serving.  Actual gram amounts of vitamins, calcium, iron, and potassium must be declared on the label and manufacturers can choose to include the gram amount for any additional vitamins and minerals. At the bottom of the label the percent Daily Value definition is more explicit and easy to interpret by telling consumers how much of a certain nutrient in one serving of food contributes to the daily diet of an average consumer. Specifically the new caption will read, “The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.” Source FDA.             

Left: Current Label - Right: New Label. Source: Food and Drug Administration
Left: Current Label – Right: New Label.
Source: Food and Drug Administration

The biggest change to the old label is the new requirement that includes “Added Sugars” measured in grams as a percent daily value relative to a 2,000 calorie diet.  This change is pivotal because scientific studies have shown that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs and stay within calorie limits when more than 10% of one’s daily calories come from added sugars which are common in most American diets. Another change that is geared to make consumers more conscious of what nutrients are present in their food is the removal of the title “Calories from Fat” because the important information that consumers need to know, in regard to calories from fat, is the different types of fat present in different foods. The new labels will still display the amounts of Total Fat, Saturated Fat, and Trans fat in different foods because they are required by law to appear on every label.


This change in appearance requires manufacturers with more than $10 million in sales to have their labels display the new the nutrition fact requirements by July 26, 2018. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual sales will have one additional year to include the new information required on their labels. The purpose of these changes is to educate consumers about what they are eating when they eat certain amounts of food rather than act as a guideline for what amount of food is considered healthy to eat by using scientifically accurate information.


Why Choose Apogee

Apogee proves to be the best resource for companies required to manufacture these new labels because of the many years that they have provided nutrition facts labels for a variety of food and beverage manufacturers. In fact, the largest portion of their business is comprised of food and beverage manufacturers in the Delaware Valley and Mid-Atlantic Region.

Apogee can guide you through new or existing Nutrition Facts labeling requirements. If you need a cover-up label (opaque adhesive), a small quantity of digitally printed Nutrition Facts labels, or if you need 10 million labels then please contact us.  If you need package re-design or similar help then let our graphics department ([email protected]) give you a hand.




Why Flexo Uses 8 & 10 & 12 Color Presses?

Narrow Web Flexo printing has grown very fast in the last 20 years.  Many food and household items packaging is printed on narrow web presses (20” and under) that are as little as 4 colors to sometimes 12 colors.  So why so many color decks?

Without going into too much detail regarding ink densities, spectrophotometer color matching and other color matching parameters the simple answer is two-fold:
One is color matching and second is press diversity.

Color matching on a flexo press is not the same as digital or offset.  Flexo printed 4 color process images often come through with excellent clarity and good color vibrancy  however solid colors made from process colors can often be muted or too bright.  Flexo printers like ourselves, will usually break out a solid color to its own PMS and print it as a solid; thus the need for a 5th or 6th color deck.  Also some of my colleagues are printing HD (High Definition) flexo and need 6 color decks to start. Also printing opaque whites on clear film is another reason for additional print units.   We need these extra print decks to achieve what the customer wants to be reproduced.

At Apogee every day of the week we are printing 4 color process plus a 5th or 6th or 7th spot color. We are also printing opaque whites on clear then overprinting the opaque whites with 4 color process images.

Mark Andy Press

Mark Andy Flexo Press

Press diversity is the second reason for this need for multiple print decks.  More print decks enable a narrow web flexo printer like Apogee to print more than just a label.  Multiple print decks enable us to print two sides of the web to do badges, tickets, timing marks and other information.  Multiple print decks enable print on the adhesive and then print multiple colors on the face of a label.
Apogee Industries Various Samples from recent label projects

Apogee Industries Flexo Printed 2-Sided Labels

Printing on both sides of the label
They also enable adhesive deadening to make specialty constructions like peel tab labels. If you are in need of booklet labels or similar items you need a minimum of 8 print decks for not only printing on multiple webs but also to marry multiple webs together to make the finished product.

At Apogee all of our narrow web flexo presses have 8 print decks enabling us to print a fine looking label but also very unique products to serve the simple and sometimes complex needs or our growing client base.

Discuss you application with a label specialist
Contact Apogee Industries
[email protected]


How To Choose Different Types Of Label Adhesives

It’s a little known fact that every supplier to a label manufacturer has their own proprietary adhesives.  Label buyers should always keep in mind that label converters like Apogee purchase label stock with the adhesive already on the substrate.

Did you ever notice that labels from one company or one product may stick better than labels on another product?  A permanent adhesive from one company may not stick as well as an adhesive from another supplier. This is why adhesives should always be tested.  All label companies should provide samples for testing the labels on the product or application.

Questions to ask to determine the right label adhesive:

  • What specifically is the label being applied to?
  • Is it going on a corrugated box, wax coated box; HDPE or LDPE plastic, etc.
  • What is the environment for the application?
  • Is it room temperature or freezer for food storage; or will this be in a dusty / dirty environment like a steel mill, or industrial environment?
Apogee Industries - Steel Marking Label
Steel Marking Label

Apogee Industries’ steel marking labels have proprietary formulas used in the tear-resistant film substrate and the super-strong adhesive combined with a split-back, non-adhesive section which allows the label to hang off the side of plates and sheets to create a 3rd dimension for improved inventory management.

How long should the label last? (Permanency)

  • Some applications require removability. This type of application requires more questions to determine the right adhesive.
  • Will it be removable over the long term? (2-3months or more) or removed a few weeks after application?
  • Is some adhesive residue allowed after removal or no residue allowed after removal required?
Removable label with no residue
Removable label with no residue

Do you want the label to be destructible? (Permanent Labels)
A label with aggressive adhesive will be extremely hard to remove.  Many electronics labels use tamper evident adhesive to show that the electronic was tampered with. In some applications the label leaves behind a pattern that may say “VOID” or similar mark.

Label with Tamper Evident Adhesive
Label with Tamper Evident Adhesive

Removable or Temporary vs. Repositionable adhesives
Temporary or Removable adhesives will run from a low tack, “post-it note” type of adhesives to highly aggressive but removable adhesives. The most removable are Static Cling labels. These may be useful but are becoming less common because they fall off easily.  There are also repositionable labels that can be removed & re-applied several times.  There are also ways to deaden adhesives on press which helps with removability. Ask us about that!  REMEMBER that removable or temporary adhesives should be thoroughly tested in your specific product environment!


What Is A Barcode Or Thermal Printer?

We all recognize a barcode when we see one, but knowledge of the barcode or thermal printer behind that prints these barcodes is less common.  Think of the last time you purchased cold cuts from a local delicatessen or supermarket and saw the barcode label sealing the package, this label was printed on a barcode / thermal printer.

Package meat label

Ever order something through the Internet and receive it in labeled box?  These shipping labels were printed by a barcode or thermal printer as well.

Package with label

In a nutshell, thermal barcode printers take blank or partially preprinted labels and print variable information on them which often includes a scannable barcode.

So what is a Thermal Transfer or Barcode Printer?

A Thermal Transfer printer is sometimes referred to as a barcode printer; which is a non-impact printer that uses heat to register an impression on paper or a thin film material.  A thermal transfer printer has a print head containing many small resistive heating pins or cells that on contact, depending on the type of thermal transfer printer, melt wax-based ink onto ordinary paper or burn dots onto special coated paper.

sato printer
A microprocessor determines which individual heating pins are heated to produce the printed image. The print head spans the entire width of the paper or medium to be printed on. Thermal transfer printers are popular for printing bar codes, labels, price tags, and other specialty print jobs. There are two types of thermal transfer printers: direct thermal and thermal transfer.

  • Direct Thermal Printer: A direct thermal printer prints the image by burning dots onto coated paper as it passes over the heated print head.  Direct thermal printers do not use ribbons. Early fax machines used direct thermal printing. The paper has a special coating that turns black when heated.
  • Thermal Transfer: This type of printer uses a thermal transfer ribbon that contains wax-based ink. Heat is applied to the ribbon using a thermal printhead (same as in a direct thermal printer) that melts the ink transferring it to the paper or film substrate (labelstock where it becomes permanent). A typical thermal transfer ribbon consists of three layers: the base material, the heat melting ink, and the coating on the print side of the base material. The ribbon type will vary depending on what you need printed.

There are countless applications for thermal printing from healthcare to ticketing.  We here at Apogee Industries service more of the B2B applications such as manufacturing, warehousing and shipping / distribution applications.

sato logo

Apogee is an authorized distributor for SATO thermal printers.  SATO is a Japanese brand printer that is recognized as one of the best in the world.  They are considered as the “Toyota” of thermal printers, with a worldwide brand and outstanding value with unsurpassed dependability.

Apogee goes beyond providing thermal printers:

• Installation help:  Apogee will install, set up and train you on your thermal printing needs working with you directly or with third party integrator.

• Service & Repair: Apogee not only sells parts, we are one of the few label companies to repair and refurbish your printer.

• Spares: If you are stuck and can’t afford downtime we will swap you a spare while we fix your old printer.

• Label Recommendation and Printing: Since Apogee is primarily a label printer we will help you make the best decision on your label or tag needs – we KNOW what works!!