Ethical Vegans and Labels

At the beginning of January 2020, vegans the world over cheered a British court’s decision that ethical veganism — a total rejection of animal exploitation for any purpose — was a philosophical lifestyle. As such, in the UK it’s now covered by the same protections as freedom of religion, gender orientation, sex, age, and race. Sadly, the lockdowns and other repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic have slowed its implementation, but this situation won’t last forever. In the future, custom printed labels based around the philosophy of ethical veganism will be as important as religions Kosher or Halal labels are today.  Clothing labels, food labels, even some sauce labels will soon have to apprise shoppers of whether the products match vegan lifestyle requirements, a factor that a substantial portion of the world population will surely applaud.

Food Safety Freezer Labels

foaming hand sanitizer labels

COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind these days, which is why food safety freezer labels are so important right now. These labels ensure no one has opened the product between packer and end-user, a must for these times of global pandemic. Furthermore, food safety freezer labels also protect cold grocery and restaurant items for delivery. While most food safety labels are intended for dry, warm, or room-temperature goods, there’s also a big market for freezer labels with the same qualities. Although there’s no indication so far that COVID-19 can be transferred on food packaging, it may be transmitted to your food if that food is tampered with. That’s one reason our food safety freezer labels are also tamper resistant labels that self-destruct when removed.  Meanwhile, our food safety freezer labels also have to handle coldness and moisture, which they do as a matter of course.

Counterfeit Cosmetics: Caveat Seriously Emptor

cosmetic bottlesProud of those reasonably-priced, rare editions of Anastasia, Kiley, or NARS you’ve managed to snag? Look again. They’re fake.

Counterfeit cosmetics are a huge problem these days. Made in unregulated factories and distributed by organized crime, they fill a demand for brands many consumers can’t normally find. But they’re made with cheap, sometimes toxic materials. They can also cause severe allergic reactions due to nasty contaminants—including human waste.

Beware online sellers, and look closely before you buy! Counterfeit cosmetics typically have poorly-printed labels with misspellings and bad English. That would never happen with the real product.

Holding one? Drop it like it’s a rattlesnake. In terms of your health, it might as well be.

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?

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