So we’re all trying to do our bit, step by step, to reverse (or at least minimise) the negative impact the human race is having on the planet. Sometimes these steps come at a cost and while making an improvement “here” we have to compromise something “there”.
A recent article on the regular 7pm Seven Sharp show highlighted a supermarket initiative to allow customers to take their own containers for seafood, meat and bakery goods. Well done, another step in the right direction. The takeaway from the article however might have been left focusing on the presenters difficulty in removing the label applied to the home container. Again, a compromise. However, a bright spark viewer had come up with the idea to use a post-it-note on the container and apply the supermarket weight label to that.
Hello then - do we create an opportunity for the dishonest to change labels and try to circumnavigate the system for their own benefit? That sounds quite cynical, but every action has a consequence and getting all our actions as “right” as we can is the challenge.
Like the challenges we face when removing plastic from fresh produce, are we reducing the lifespan of the produce or do we just need to manage it differently? Food contamination, food safety, work flow and harvesting are all examples of us having to adapt while remaining profitable.
When watching or reading something we all deduce different aspects depending on what our knowledge or interests are aligned to. My particular point of interest from the above TV article was about the adhesive that had been used for the label causing all the problems to remove.
Part of my role is working with customers to produce labels for their products. Firstly, the focus is on the visual appeal of the label, getting the brand and message to the consumer so as to make that product sell. Then we get into all the detail of barcodes, weights, compulsory requirements, logo’s etc. Finally, we need to establish and get right all the technical details. Unfortunately this can make me feel like a worker in a fast food sandwich chain with the endless questions but the devil really is in the detail. How is the label going to be applied? What direction do we need the label to present to allow the best workflow? What type of adhesive? Permanent, removable, repositionable, tamper evident etc.
The performance of an adhesive is all about the Tack. “Tack is the first attraction of an adhesive to a surface having the least external pressure.” Of course firstly it is importance to know the kind of surface on which the label is to be placed. Adhesives will act or perform differently from rough to smooth, cardboard, plastic etc.
Choosing the right adhesive is imperative, nobody wants to see a label peeling off, deterioration or cracking because the right questions weren’t asked. Factors like temperature of environment when the label is being applied, storage of the product from that point, exposure to water and humidity - sometimes even lighting needs to be considered. So next time we talk labels, I apologise in advance for the questions, but hopefully you will thank me in the long run.