How Are Most Food Labels Printed?

How Are Most Food Labels Printed?

When you buy food at your local store, have you ever looked at the labels and wondered how this process is done?

As you can imagine, the labels need to be printed in such a way that they can fit on a can, box, and various other types of containers.

This means that the printers must be flexible, ones that can print the very small writing that goes on the labels, along with any of the logos that will be on these products.

There are even ways that you can do this yourself if you have a small business where you are producing edible products on your own.

Let's take a look at the different ways that food labels are printed today.


The First Consideration Is Always Safety

Before you print anything, or before a professional company does this, safety is always their priority.

The ink that is used, or the toner, must be something that will not migrate.

Once the printing is done, even though it should be dry, during the packing process of the containers, it could get into the exterior wrapping.

If this occurs, and people open the containers, some of those particles which are only microns in size, might get into the food.

Therefore, they need to maintain proper temperatures, manage the ink properly and need to stay away from products like liquid toner when doing this type of printing.

However, they may decide to use inkjet printing which utilises water-based pigments, or they could do UV curable ink instead.

Once the correct ink has been determined, they will be able to begin the printing process knowing that the ink being used won’t affect the packaging or the contents.


How Are These Labels Printed

The labels will be printed either on rolls or sheets of paper. It just depends on the size of the labels, and the type of product in which the label will be affixed.

Once that has been determined, they will need to choose between digital printing and flexo printing options.

If they need to print millions of labels, flexo is probably the best choice simply because of the speed at which the labels can be completed.

For those that want more stylised printing, or extremely small words that will be on the labels, digital printing is easily the best option.

Once the printing is done, the labels will be on non-stick paper. From here, there are two options.  

They will either manually apply the labels to the containers, or they will use a machine that can take the rolls of labels and instantly put the labels on the products.

There are machines that can perform all of these functions.

Once they have set up everything properly, it's simply a matter of getting the labels to go through the process.

As you can imagine, this can be a very time-consuming process without machines.

This is why companies opt to invest in machines that can do labels, especially for businesses that produce millions of products every month.



When it comes to superior quality food labels, your customers deserve only the best quality as it’s a reflection on their brand. This is where Onpack comes into it.


Onpack is an Australian owned company and we offer a personalised digital printing service catering to each individual brief and label requirement. Call us today on +61 3 8388 8100 for all your digital label requirements.