Labelling Trends for 2021


Labelling Trends for 2021

In this article...

In this article we’ll take you on a journey into the future

    • Natasha’s law – how it affects labelling for food businesses
    • QR Codes – Covid Track and Trace introduced them to millions of people
    • The continued push to sustainability for environmentally aware producers
    • The continued expansion of digital printing
    • The importance of supply chain resilience – including your labels
    • The rise of NFC labels – contact-less technology in labels for hospitality
    • Labels as a subscription for organisations in lean supply chains
    • Cloud labelling software

Let’s explore…

Natasha's Law

Allergen Labelling
Allergen Labelling from NiceLabel

In October 2021 Natasha’s Law comes into force. The tragic death of 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse on a flight from Heathrow in 2016 highlighted the potentially fatal consequences of inadequate food labelling. 

Whilst allergy labels were mandatory on packaged foods since 2014, they didn’t apply to foods packaged on-site, such as sandwiches and sushi.  That’s changing in October 2021. 
We’ve written a more detailed article here – which explains what Natasha’s law applies to for food manufacturers and how you can label your products if you need to.

Everyone's Using QR Codes - Now Take Advantage of Them

Every's Using QR Codes
Everyone's Using QR Codes

Corona virus has opened the general public’s eyes to QR codes.  For the majority of people, if you want to go somewhere public, you need to scan a QR code using the NHS app.  For many people this was the first time they even realised they had a QR code reader on their phones.

QR codes perfect for driving customer engagement in labelling for a whole range of products – but they work for so many industries.  We’ve even used them in heavy engineering to display technical drawings. 

How can you take advantage of QR codes?

There’s a ton of benefit to be had from QR codes from opening webpages (think food menus in hospitality), opening online order forms (order from the table in hospitality), opening map apps – take  a look at this article for many more ideas. 

The problem you used to have was encouraging people to scan the codes. 

Now they know how, you can start enjoying the benefits of QR codes on your labels and packaging.

The Continued Rise of Sustainable labels

Biodegradable label
Biodegradable label being tested

At the end of February 2020  I sneaked in a trade show.  Remember them?  

One thing that was inescapable was that every other stand seemed to be promoting sustainable packaging and labelling. 

We are noticing this as well.  A large proportion of our enquiries relate to biodegradable and environmentally friendly labels – because there’s a growing number of companies who consider the environment a key company value. 

Previously the problem with sustainable labels had been volume.  Biodegradable and sustainable label materials are now more readily available than ever – and that will gradually lead to a drop in price.  If the environment is rising in your list of priorities – read this article.

Expect to see more sustainable labels in 2021.

Digital Label Printing

Epson Colorworks C3500 colour label Printer
Entry level digital label printer

Digital label printing first appeared ten years ago.  Since then label printers have realised the advantages.  Minimised set up costs means that it’s viable to print much smaller batches of labels than used to be the case.  Digitally printed labels can each be unique – because plates aren’t needed.

Again, there’s a gradual move downwards in price with digital printing presses.  High volume professional presses still cost hundreds of thousands of pounds but desktop printers cost around £1,000 and produce very good results.

Expect to see more digital printing in 2021.

Supply Chain Resilience

Operation Stack
Critical supply chain holdups (Credit: Barry Davis)

In March, Covid caused a shock to supply chains not only in the UK but around the world.  Then at the end of the year there was another shock from the threat of Brexit and the closure to inbound traffic to France – both of these lead to shortages and delays.

Throughout 2020 supply chains became a talking point in the news.

One key part of the modern supply chain – something small but critical – is labelling.   Without labels – nothing can move. 

In order for your supply chain to be resilient – you must make sure you have labels to print onto – and systems that ensure the correct information is printed onto those labels.

Perhaps we’ll see more consideration to supply chain resilience in 2021.

NFC Labels

Near Field Communication (NFC) labels are a type of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) label.  We’ve talked about RFID labels for decades – so what make me think 2021 will be the year it’s all going to take off?

Covid makes me think these types of label will gain ‘traction’.  I don’t think we’ll see an explosion of use, but I think the pandemic will have accelerated their use.

A lot of people don’t like touching things.  Some people appreciate the sheer convenience of a label that you simply wave your phone near and it does something.  Combine the two and you have more people using NFC technology.

NFC Label
NFC Label

The ability to read NFC exists on pretty much all Android and Apple phones.  It doesn’t require you to download an app.  That makes it’s adoption much easier.

The other factor in the adoption of NFC is cost.  As with most things, technology products drop in price as volumes rise. 

Like QR Codes, NFC gives you the ability to open websites, display order forms, identify people, products and places, provide Wifi or other logins – all from an easily programmed ‘electronic label’.  In fact – it’s so easy to program, you just need a smart phone and a free app – and you can be programming your NFC tags.

Contact me to find out how you can jump ahead of your competition and make your users lives’ a little easier in 2021.

Labels as a Subscription

If you’re male you might be familiar with dollar shave club.  Described as “Everything you need in the bathroom – from razor blades to grooming products – automatically delivered to your door. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

This is interesting.  Most people visit the supermarket weekly.  It’s easy enough to grab razers, shaving cream and so on when you’re there – but the Dollar Shave Club grew from nothing to a $1Billion company in less than FIVE years – the convenience of subscription is pretty compelling.

Label Subscription Service

Labels lend them extremely well to subscription.  Every month or two a selected box of labels arrives at your door – automatically.  Twice a year you review how many labels you’re using and adjust how much you’re receiving.  It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Ask us to provide you with labels on subscription.  Order once and forget about reordering.  We’ll take care of everything.

If you use thermal ribbons with your labels – let us ship the exact number of rolls you need to match your labels – so you never over stock and never run out.

Contact us and ask about labelling subscriptions.

Labelling Software in the Cloud

For years now, software and resources have been moving to the cloud.  So why is that you still have to download label design and print software?

Whilst other software publishers have been slowly preparing their software for the cloud, Nicelabel, a leading company in the label design space have had software running in the cloud for years.

Nicelabel’s Label Cloud:

Nicelabel Cloud Printing
Web Print Labels
  • Design labels using their design software,
  • Save it centrally on the web – accessible to anyone who needs it,
  • Share one set of data – eliminate duplicate and out of date records
  • Simple software subscription
  • Easily Scaleable

I think the move to cloud computing will extend to label design software – and Nicelabel seems to be ahead of the game.

  • You won’t be surprised to know, we can help you with your cloud labelling.  Get in touch!

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