Food Label Trends

The rise of the millennial buying power has seen a shift in consumer trends. Buyers are now considering both what’s in the product as well as what’s on the product. The much more discerning millennial will reject any brand that is not aligned with their ideals, which is why food manufacturers need to keep up with incoming food label trends or risk losing consumer loyalty. Here are a few 2019 food label trends to watch out for.

Food Label Trends

1. Plastic-free labels

The recent discovery of a beached whale in the Philippines with an unprecedented 40 kilogrammes of plastic in its stomach is harsh reminder about the dangers of our extensive reliance on plastic. Consumers are extremely conscious about the amount of plastic that goes into food packaging, and that includes the label material. Plastic contains toxins, is not degradable and is being consumed by animals – and ultimately humans – leading to a host of health issues. In addition to consumers opting for plastic-free packaging and labels, many cities and countries are taking the necessary steps to ban plastic and it won’t be long before regulations hit the food labelling industry. In fact, Australia’s government has already ruled that by 2025, all national packaging must be recyclable, biodegradable or reusable. Don’t miss out on this trend!

Read more about Eco-Friendly label trends

Plastic free

2. Sustainable labels

Leading on from the plastic-free label trend is the emerging creation of sustainable food labels that promise ecological responsibility from the brand itself. Emerging research indicates that consumers will consider sustainability over price – and even over brand loyalty – which extends all the way to the food label materials. Manufacturers are now turning to BPA-free thermal labels and bio-based films that are made from more than 80% renewable, plant-based raw material. There is also an increased use of wash-off labels for glass and PET bottles to enable recyclability.

3. Brighter colours

The brighter, funkier colours are proving much more appealing to the millennials which is why this is becoming a bigger trend in food labels. One of the reasons for the colour preference is the photographic appeal on social media platforms with foodies. Positive colours that are trending are green, blue, orange, black and white. The incoming Generation Z yellow and its happy, sunshine association, is also appealing to the younger generation in particular.

Read more: Pharmaceutical label trends

Smartie label
4. Colours that are avoided

Colour psychology has become an incredibly useful marketing tool which food label manufacturers are taking seriously. While there are colours – such as the abovementioned – that are gaining popularity, some colours are being strictly avoided because of the sub-conscious associations. This is not to say these colours are necessarily negative, but just that they don’t drive a consumerist impulse required for big sales. The three colours being avoided include:

• Pink – associated with fatigue
• Red – linked to danger and failure
• Brown – displays passivity and depression

However, contrasted with the correct colours, pink, red and brown can be extremely useful marketing tools. Just make sure you consult with professionals on your colour selection.

5. NFC tags

In line with the sustainability trend in food labels is the incorporation of NFC tags to reduce the need for unnecessarily lengthy labels. NFC (near-field communication) tags encourage customer engagement through smartphone use while supporting brand loyalty. All the customer has to do is scan the NFC tag to access promotional content from the organisation’s cloud server – in fact the possibility for engagement is unlimited. Because of the miniature size of NFC tags, they can be affixed to even the smallest consumer product.


Keep your product ahead of competitors by ensuring your food labels are on-trend and attracting the best possible market appeal. By working with professionals in the food labelling industry, you can be assured you are privy to what works best and which labels will most accurately represent your brand.

Rebsons Labels is a leading supplier of labels in South Africa and produce self-adhesive labels for local and international clientele from various industries. For the highest quality label manufacturing for your product through either digital label printing or traditional label printing contact Rebsons Labels today to discuss your needs.

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