But Seriously, How Does an Impossible Whopper Taste?

food labelsBack in May, we alerted you to the fact that Impossible Foods, which makes soy-based burgers that (by all reports) taste like the real thing, had rolled out the Impossible Whopper at 61 locations in St. Louis, Missouri. Well, the burger is in nationwide distribution now, so we decided to have someone familiar with the taste of regular Whoppers try this new kind.

Our conclusion: the previous reports are right. Our tester (who is not a vegetarian, unlike our illustrious founder) tried one, and couldn’t tell any difference between it and the meat burger. This is a case where the freezer boxes the Impossible Whoppers are shipped in will need very accurate, easily readable freezer labels so the fry cooks don’t mistake the meatless Whoppers for the original kind, and vice-versa. While we haven’t seen an uncooked Impossible Whopper in person, photos of the Impossible product online look like the real thing, right down to the reddish hue caused by the same molecule, heme, that gives blood its red color. Only this time, the heme is derived from plants. The burger itself is made of textured and flavored soy, a well-established technology.

The result, when cooked and included with all the fixings, is spot-on. BK and its new partner have made the impossible possible. And the great thing is, it costs the same as a regular Whopper! Ours was $5.49 with tax.

While PETA doesn’t like the fact that Impossible tests some of its products on animals, and BK probably shouldn’t cook these burgers on the same grills as meat burgers, the truth is that when you order an Impossible Whopper, you:

  • Don’t contribute to animal suffering.
  • Don’t contribute to global warming from increase greenhouse gases.
  • Don’t contribute to environmental degradation.
  • Encourage responsible use of limited resources, including the cultivation of plant foods.
  • Encourage further research into meat-replacements that don’t harm anyone.

Not to mention, you leave more grain for the production of good beer, which is important.

All that’s pretty impressive, given it costs only what you’d spend on a meat Whopper. Now, we’ll admit that the Impossible Whopper may not be as healthy as lean meat, since it has more fats and oils. But here’s the thing: wouldn’t you rather do a little more exercise than eat processed chunks of Elsie, Belle, or, heaven forbid, Mooley Cyrus?

A New Way to Lick Whiskey Counterfeiters

Whenever someone invents something that other people love, someone else will eventually offer a counterfeit version for sell, often more cheaply. This was the central issue that sent the tiny Duchy of Grand Fenwick to war in The Mouse that Roared: a fake version of their signature wine and only export. As you might imagine, people all over the world have been counterfeiting good booze for pretty much as long as other people have been selling it. All it takes is a lack of ethics and a source of halfway decent labels. That’s one reason we always make sure the people we make our beverage labels for are on the up and up.

Recently, scientists at the University of Glasgow in Scotland grew so concerned about the counterfeiting of proper Scotch that they invented an artificial tongue that uses 500 “taste buds” made from aluminum and gold to determine the chemical content of any liquid placed upon it. The electronic tongue proved to be so sensitive that it could tell the difference between not just various brands of Scotch, but also the difference between Scotch aged to various lengths of time, and even the difference between batches from different barrels! In addition to detecting counterfeits, the tongue can be used to guarantee that any Scotch whiskey meets the industry’s tough standards, so that the bottle labels are fully accurate.

The inventers of the “tongue” were quick to point out that it could be used to test the quality of just about any liquid, including water supplies, various chemical agents, and presumably even formerly liquid or semi-liquid and frozen snacks and other types of alcohol. So if you wanted, you could check your favorite vodka before you put it in the freezer, assuming you have the appropriate freezer labels on the bottles. And in truth, the point of the testing is to test not just the booze, but the labeling. It’s too easy to label low-quality alcohol as better quality types, or even just refill old bottles, so unscrupulous producers can steal the fame of the better product and make more money.

Needless to say, aficionados of a particular liquor will be able to taste the difference, but casual drinkers, or those who’ve never had a top-notch Scotch or vodka, may be fooled. That’s what the counterfeiters count on. But now that we have an unbiased artificial tongue to help us, it probably won’t be long before random testing of all batches is required — and special beverage labels proclaiming the brand’s genuineness are required.

Cannabis Treats to Beat the Heat

Ice Cream Labels as Wonderful as Your ProductsCannabis products have become all the rage, now that marijuana is a legal for medicinal and recreational use in the majority of North America. What does that mean to us? That the market for cannabis product labels is skyrocketing.

Now, you might think there wouldn’t be much of a market for cannabis refrigerator labels and freezer labels, but if so, you’re thinking small. Cannabis is no longer just buds and blunts. THC and cannabis oils are major ingredients in everything from vape liquids, to medications, popcorn, cheese, cotton candy, and ice cream. And no, we’re not kidding. According to industry sources, cannabis ice cream in the new craze! Can cannabis popsicles be far behind? People are already making them in the kitchen, and we suspect they’ll soon be professionally manufactured as well. Luckily, we make ice cream labels galore, and popsicle labels too.

Not only that, cannabis confections (candy, cookies, cakes, even power bars) are on the rise. Many are susceptible to melting, which means they need sturdy refrigerator and freezer labels designed to handle not just the cold and moisture endemic to coolers and freezers, but also the oily nature of some cannabis products. Even body creams can stand to be chilled, so it’s best to look for tough freezer labels that can handle the adhesive-deadening nature of not just oily surfaces (since spills are inevitable), but also the deadening caused by cold. The best cannabis refrigerator and freezer labels should also be made of plastic or metallic materials, to better handle the cold conditions and resist spills.

If you need sturdy cannabis labels for use in refrigerators and freezers, we’ve got you covered. Not only do we have standard sheet labels ready for custom printing, we can also provide the labels with the fold-over tamper proof tabs that are becoming the norm for cannabis products sealed in jars, bottles, and boxes. If there’s one kind of product you don’t want people tampering with on the shelves, it’s cannabis-related ones, whether they’re medicinal or recreational in nature. Just give us a call telling us your needs, and we’ll get back to you ASAP with a quote.

The Increasing Importance of Seafood Labels

The Increasing Importance of Seafood Labels

Seafood LabelsUntil about a century ago, if you lived more than a few miles from the ocean, you were pretty much out of luck when it came to eating seafood regularly. You might be able to get your “water produce” from local rivers or lakes, but it tended to be limited in quantity and nature. You certainly weren’t going to be eating swordfish or lobster. Catfish and crawfish, maybe.

The Refrigeration Revolution changed all that. Suddenly, people in the continental interior could have all the fresh fish, crustaceans, seaweed, and other oceanic foods they wanted, either in frozen or refrigerated formats. That naturally created a huge market for seafood labels, much to the joy and good fortune of label printers everywhere.

Now, before refrigeration, it was possible to get some seafood, in a way, but for centuries it didn’t need labels. Not only was it obvious what it was, no one cared about labeling it, because it was considered food for poor people and slaves. We’re referring specifically to the dried fish, almost always cod, a species that used to be so common that in some areas, people could practically walk across the ocean on their backs.

Dried cod, however, had to last for long periods in order to make it all over the world, and was just this side of edible. Contemporary descriptions basically describe it as boards made from heavily salted and dried fish flesh. Maybe that’s why the Catholic Church proclaimed fish a vegetable, allowing its consumption on Friday. (Beavers were called fish for a while, too.) After traveling thousands of miles, the fish would hit people’s kitchen’s solid as a rock.

If you really wanted to label it, you could write the name on the cod board.

Luckily, we’ve got better preservation methods now for seafood of all kinds, and freezer labels that can cover all of them. These days, identification of the kind of seafood involved is joined on the seafood labels by warnings that some seafood causes allergies, or that things like oysters can cause illnesses during some seasons. Many labels also notify the reader that they are dolphin free safe, or that they were acquired from sustainable fisheries. Many labels will also note whether the food is halal or kosher, so the labels can get pretty busy once you add a logo and image.

But no problem; we can handle them with ease. If you’re ready to label your seafood products, we’re ready to provide the labels. Contact us for a quote, and let’s get swimming.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game… For the Very First Time!

baseball peanuts labelsI love peanuts and peanut butter, almost as much as I love making labels for them. But the fact is, to millions of Americans, peanut products can be deadly. That’s why food labels for any product containing peanuts or processed in facilities that also process peanuts must, by law, include a clear and obvious warning about it.

And now, Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford, Connecticut, home of the Yard Goats (a AA Colorado Rockies team) has banned all peanut products… including the traditional “peanuts and Cracker Jack” made popular by the quintessential American song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” They’ve even sponsored a contest to replace that lyric in the song!

But no worries: there are plenty of chips, candy, nachos, cookies, snack cakes, and formerly refrigerated and frozen foods waiting in concession stands to be enjoyed.

Food allergies may not sound like a big deal to most people, but peanut allergies are no laughing matter. They tend to be life-threatening, because they can cause a severe anaphylactic shock that closes the victim’s airways, literally causing them to suffocate. So it’s good sense to take care so that sufferers can enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Several ballparks have declared peanut-free days and sections in recent years, but Dunkin’ Donuts Park has upped the ante by outright banning all products containing peanuts anywhere in the park. This may be the first time that millions of Americans can actually get taken out to the ballgame in complete safety. Assuming they can all fit in Connecticut.

Some observers say that’s a little too protectionist, but locals haven’t really complained; they just buy other food. We’re all for it, because hey, it’s getting deeper toward summer. Baseball fans are going to need popsicles and ice cream to keep cool. And smoothies and frozen yogurt. Oh, and let’s not forget all the hot dogs waiting in refrigerators to be grilled, and the frozen food (like fries and onion rings) that are going to be thawed for other popular treats. The freezer label market is looking up!

The Impossible Burger—Is it Really?

freezer labelsIf it looks just like meat, smells just like meat, tastes just like meat, cooks just like meat, has all the fat, protein, and caloric content of meat, even bleeds just like meat when it’s raw, then it’s gotta be meat, right? Q.E.D.

But logic fails sometimes when science weaves its tangled web to deceive. The new Impossible Burger, created by Impossible Foods (hence the name) is surprisingly possible. While PETA has denounced Impossible for performing live animal testing, the Impossible Burger “meats” all the above requirements while being purely vegetarian in nature. We hesitate to call it vegan, due to the animal testing, but it’s definitely made of completely plant-based components.

Which opens up a lot of questions, like, “How do we label Impossible Burgers when they hit the genera l market?” Obviously we’ll need tough freezer labels, since the product will need to be refrigerated and frozen, but otherwise, do we label them with vegetable labels or meat labels or what?

This is no simple matter. Apparently the active ingredient, besides the base protein (mostly soy,) is something called heme. Heme is a naturally red chemical that’s the most important component of hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that locks onto oxygen and carries it to every part of your body to help fuel the meat machine that is you. Impossible Foods has discovered that heme gives cooked meat its unique flavor and smell. The heme they use is derived from plants—specifically, the leghemoglobin found in, you guessed it, soy plants. No animals are killed in the making of an Impossible Burger.

As of April 2019, Impossible Burgers aren’t in supermarkets yet, but they’re sold in vegetarian restaurants local to Impossible Foods (i.e., in California), and are undergoing test marketing in 65 Burger King restaurants in the St. Louis, Missouri area in Impossible Whoppers. Apparently, Impossible Whoppers look and taste just like regular Whoppers, complete with the same texture and mouth-feel. That’s a promising start… but there’s a problem. While it may be a minor problem for most consumers, the fact that Burger King makes Impossible Whoppers on the same line they make real-meat Whoppers on is a no-go for vegans and many vegetarians. So Impossible Burgers may not sell so well in fast-food restaurants.

However, in restaurants where they’re made on dedicated vegan/vegetarian food prep lines, or for home consumption, Impossible Burgers may be perfect for vegetarians craving meat. Diehard vegans aren’t likely to eat them due to the animal testing, and the folks who have gotten so used to vegetarian diets they hate of the taste of meat aren’t going to eat ’em no matter what. For them, the problem is that Impossible did their job too well!

Still, we can’t wait until they’re on the open market, so we can start helping people label them. They should hit about the same time that lab-cultured “sheet meat” hits the market in a big way, so we can compare and contrast. Maybe by then we’ll have figured out where we should use veggie labels or meat labels for Impossible Burgers and similar products.

90,000 Vodkas for Brother Kim

vodkaNorth Korean ruler Kim Jong Un lives a famously flamboyant lifestyle. The self-proclaimed lady’s man and his Party elite host elaborate parties, scarf foreign delicacies, give their girlfriends expensive furs, and booze it up like drunken frat-boys at the end of Rush Week. While everyone else’s food is rationed, he and his cronies find not-so-subtle ways to subvert an international embargo on luxury goods that’s as porous as the old oil embargo against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Since taking power in 2011, roly-poly Kim has managed to spend over $4 billion on luxury goods despite the embargo—in a country where the vast majority of people survive on rationing. The Swiss-educated head of state is apparently seriously taking his father’s famous statement that his people would “eat grass” if they had to in order to propel North Korea into a military powerhouse. (Vladimir Putin echoed the statement in 2017.)

This privation does not, of course, apply to the Party elite. Kim also has a fondness for expensive watches, furs, and musical instruments, and travels in his own armored train.

We’re not normally a social justice platform, but seriously? No wonder he wants his people to have no contact with the outside world. And his latest stunt (at least the latest that was stopped) has some application to the label biz. He tried to sneak 90,000 bottles of vodka in under the fuselage of an airplane he also bought. Both were being shipped to China when they were red-flagged due to paperwork issues. They were then intercepted by Dutch authorities in Rotterdam, under a suspicion that they were, in fact, intended for the 0.0001% in Pyongyang. All the Dutch officials would say for sure was that they were going to North Korea, and they were “90% sure” they were going to Kim Jong Un.

Ironically, if the vodka had gone through as intended, U.S. President Trump might have enjoyed some of the liquor during his recent two-day summit with the North Korean leader. Maybe in some of those quintessential American creations, Jell-O shots and daiquiri smoothies. After all, Kim Jong Un loves foreign things.

The bottles of colorless inebriants recovered by the Dutch bore labels, of course—and what boring labels they were, with some dull blue text scrolls and a mostly-blue Russian guy in a tall hat holding a staff. The brand is Stolbovaya, which advertises itself as “premium vodka.” The Dear Leader and his friends do like their premium spirits; he spent an estimated $35 million on liquor in 2017 alone. That’s a lot of bottle labels.

By the way, college (student) studies have revealed that premium vodka is just regular vodka filtered a dozen more times. If you don’t mind sacrificing a Brita water filter, you can turn a $5 bottle of the cheap stuff into top-notch hooch. Eventually. Then all you need is a new bottle label to distinguish it, which we can happily provide.

Another simple way to improve your vodka is to put it in the freezer. This will not only chill it to a delightful temperature, it will increase its viscosity, improving the mouth-feel and even flavor. This very practice is why most vodka is (or should be) branded with waterproof freezer labels rather than regular labels.

So really, you don’t have to import premium vodka at hideous prices from Russia—but why not, if you have 25 million peasants to foot the bill, and a plane to hide it under?

Happy Bjórdagurinn!

iceland beerIn 1920, the United States, in a fit of prudishness, voted in a total prohibition on the production and sale of alcoholic beverages. This was repealed in 1933, to the relief of taxpayers and tax-collectors alike. It happened that in voting for Prohibition, America was following a trend: right about that time, other countries had also voted for Prohibition, after a strong push by teetotalers who blamed alcohol for most social sins.

One such country was Iceland. For the hardy Northerners, Prohibition began in 1915… and lasted until 1989, at least for beer. The horror! Icelanders still celebrate the end of beer prohibition and the beginning of a new demand for beer labels as Bjórdagurinn, or National Beer Day. But in a nation where one in seven residents is a teetotaler even today, annual beer consumption per capita is a modest 9.1 liters… about a tenth of the U.S. total of 28 gallons. (Wait. Who’s drinking all my beer? I never drink that much!)

Icelandic Prohibition was a curious thing, because it began to be dismantled early on… for everything except beer. Wines went down in 1921 when Spain refused to trade for salted cod if Iceland didn’t buy their wines. Spirits followed afterward, since people were ordering them for legitimate commercial purposes in larger quantities than normal, so they could drink the excess. Other alcohol could be had for the price of a doctor’s visit, as it was prescribed for various ailments. But teetotalers drew the line at beer, which they felt was responsible for most of the country’s moral decay. Who knew a little spoiled barley could lead a country to turpitude?

Luckily, beer label makers still had work in Iceland, since something similar to beer was still legal: a 2.25% alcohol near-beer that gave you some of the flavor and little of the effect. It’s still the only kind of “beer” you can buy in Icelandic markets (but we’ll get to that later). It was also the main ingredient of bjórlíki (“beerlike”), a mix of the near-beer and spirits formulated to raise the alcohol level to 5%. This provided the effect of beer, though the flavor was wanting.

Meanwhile, there was some beer available in the country. But mostly, it was either homebrewed (a real your-mileage-may-vary endeavor), or you had to buy it at an international airport duty-free shop, which was a serious pain in the neck. Ironically, the airport beer was made in Iceland, but not for Icelanders!

And, of course, the occasional knowledgeable individual knew about “jacking.” This could be accomplished by putting near-beer in their freezer (or at least outside on a cold night!) to freeze out some of the water and up the alcohol content. Of course, a traditional bottle is insufficient here, since water expands when it freezes. Because that makes bottles explode, you’d need something like a Tupperware container to make the ice easier to remove, and the right freezer labels to mark your jacked beer.

Finally, in 1989, public sentiment forced the legality of beer. March 1, 1989 became the very first National Beer Day, when people countrywide enjoyed big, frosty mugs of pure beer in public for the first time in almost 75 years. Many celebrations were televised, and lasted well into the wee hours.

Even today, 30 years later after the end of Prohibition, there are still some limitations on beer. You can’t just run by the 7-11 or Circle K to grab a six-pack. True beer is sold only in government-run liquor stores called Vínbúðins. But that’s way better than nothing!

We’ll happily help you out with beer labels for your latest Icelandic craft brew, and freezer labels for your jacking process if you can’t get to the Vínbúðin —or any other kind of freezer labels, for that matter. Contact us for a quote!

I Love the Smell of Wort in the Morning

Craft Beer

 

Let’s talk craft beer.

We assume that if you’re too particular to drink the sex-in-a-canoe brew that Big Beer has flooded the market with, you’re a thoughtful beer drinker more interested in taste than tipsy. Given the palates of most Americans, that puts you in the ranks of the fortunate few. Let’s face it: you’re a beer snob. But at least you’re not a wine snob. What is it with hipsters and spoiled grape juice, anyway?

Snob or not, we figured you might be interested in the process of how brewers make these beers. There are some intricacies involved with some of them that complicate the issue, so we’ll just do a high-level overview.

As you probably know, it all starts with malt. But do you even know what malt is? (If you were wondering: it is, in fact, the same ingredient that turns your shake into the semi-frozen confection affectionally called the “malt,” short for “malted milk.” It’s also used in Whoppers candy and other malted milk balls). Malt is a grain, usually barley but sometimes wheat, that the brewer has allowed to sprout. Ideally, it should sprout until the new plant is twice the length of the barleycorn.

At that point, the grain is roasted and ground. As with coffee, the darker the roast, the darker the beer. The brewer boils and mashes the malt in water to produce the wort (pronounced “wert”) that eventually becomes beer. In the old days, the different types of beer were distinctive because of the quality of the local water. This is less of an issue now that we can easily filter or distill the water.

Speaking of distilling, some heathens add yeast to the mash, let it ferment, and then distill it to produce various types of whiskey. But true connoisseurs boil the wort with hops, introducing a bitterness that offsets its natural sweetness. (Beer without hops is ale, though even brewers rarely use that term accurately.)The boiling process requires at least an hour for the hops and malt to chemically react enough to produce fine beer. After the wort cools to room temperature, the brewer adds sugar to give it an extra alcoholic boost as it ferments. Then it’s put into a fermenting container along with a bit of yeast. Fermenters include a one-way airlock that lets most of the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast escape. When the bubbling stops, the beer is ready for bottling and aging(at least a week) before drinking. The carbonation comes from residual fermentation after a little more sugar is added.

One final note: wort ferments because all those yeast beasts multiply like mad and eat the starchy molecules of the malt and the sugar, converting it into CO2 and the longer-chain hydrocarbons we call “alcohol.” The more fuel for the yeast, the longer fermentation lasts, and the stronger the final product. When the fuel is gone, the yeast spores up and falls to the bottom of the container, clarifying the beer.

Just wanted to make it clear that that the ambrosia we all love basically consists of yeast poop and farts.

I’m sure you’ll agree, though, when we say, “Ehhhh, so what?”

Isn’t It About Time You Got Some Real Freezer Sheet Labels?

freezer-sheet-labelsThere are plenty of substandard freezer sheet labels out there. You know the ones: they get mushy when moisture invades your freezer, so you can’t read what’s on your write on freezer labels, or the so-called “freezer labels” have adhesives that deaden when wet or cold, meaning they fall off in your freezer. Isn’t it lovely to have to peel open packages because all the freezer meal labels have fallen off, and you have no idea what the heck is in them? How do you like having to re close the packages after you figure out your latest try is that ancient slice of wedding cake instead of your chicken Parmesan from last week?

Bet you wish your cheapy self adhesive freezer labels were really the waterproof frozen stickers they claimed to be, huh? By now, you may be so frustrated that you’re asking yourself, “Where can I buy freezer labels that actually do what they’re supposed to?!” We hear from people who’ve been fooled by poor quality freezer adhesive labels everyday, and we have to show them that there really is a place to buy freezer labels that do the job right. The proof, they say, is in the pudding; and once they’ve experienced our freezer sheet labels, they know they’ve found the best place to buy freezer labels, period.

We can provide blank write on freezer labels, other freezer sheet labels to be printed using frozen label templates, or custom printed labels for large batches of commercial products. The blank sheet labels go out quickest, but even the ones we print for you will be done quickly and shipped to you by overnight mail.

Isn’t it about time you got some real freezer sheet labels? Why put it off any longer? We eagerly await your request for a quote, and you can be sure we’ll reply ASAP.

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