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Requirements that impact Food Packaging Design

Featured image source: Dan Gold

F

ood businesses have many rules to respect when it comes to their packaging. After the pain, effort, and excitement (!) that goes into creating and manufacturing your product, labelling can reveal itself as more confusing than anticipated.

So, here’s what you need to look out for!

Label Requirements

On your new food packaging design, you need to make sure that you save some space for these:

1- Ingredient list

The food packaging standard is to list the ingredients in descending order by in-going weight at the time of manufacturing.

Whatever your product contains the most will go first and the rest follows by descending quantity.

2- Allergens

Allergies can be life-threatening! It is a big thing in Australia and if you don’t list the allergens, you could look at a hefty fine or compensation to provide to the victim.

Common allergens are:

  • Nuts and sesame seeds
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Gluten (wheat and grains)
  • Soy
  • Lupin

3- Additives

With preservatives, additives are one of the things consumers are more and more aware of. And the FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) provide plenty of guidance on how to list them. See here for a complete list from them.


“consumers are more and more aware of”


4- Nutritional content

This little table is well-known among consumers and expected for the conscious mum, health addict and fitness buff. The nutritional panel can be a great supporter of your key messaging. If you claim that the product has 0 calories, or ‘low cholesterol’, or is even ‘good source of fibres’, the panel will support that.

The main pieces of information that go into the panel are:

  • Energy
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Sugars
  • Sodium

5- Use by or best before date

There’s an interesting difference between the ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ date that is not known by everyone.

Use by: used for foods that become unsafe for us to eat after a particular time period. Your food product can’t legally be sold once it passes this date. e.g. Fresh meat

Best before: used for foods that may lose some qualities after this date but are still safe for us to eat. You can still sell your product after this date, providing it is still safe to eat. e.g. Dry pasta

You also need to include the storage information.


“an interesting difference”


6- Health star rating system

Source: Sanitarium

The Health Star Rating system was developed by the Australian state and territory governments in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups.

The Health Star Rating is a front-of-pack labelling system that rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns it a rating from ½ a star to 5 stars. It provides a quick, easy, standard way to compare similar packaged foods. The more stars, the healthier the choice.

Don’t forget it! They are what most consumers look for.

7- Country of Origin

This is another requirement from the Australian food packaging standards that can support your key messaging and trigger more sales.

As consumers are more and more aware of their purchase behaviours, and their impact on the planet, the Australian-made label is fast becoming a great marketing tool. Our advice is to not overlook it!

Presentation Requirements

Your food label presentation must also follow some requirements.

  • Legibility

Labels must be written in English and legible to read (writings must contrast from the background and not be hidden under an image or a piece of the packaging). Foreign languages are ok to use only if it provides the same information as is given in English.

  • Print size

The minimum character size of the measurement marking on a package depends on the maximum dimension of the package. Check it out here.

  • Claims

It is a requirement from the FSANZ, but also from the ethical designers, that all imagery, designs and information must accurately describe the contents of the package. The design cannot include false or misleading information on the label.

Risk of incorrect labelling

Labelling your product can be a hard and long task. But take your time to get it right because if it hits the stores with the wrong information and doesn’t meet the FSANZ, your products may be removed. At best, you’ll get a warning and still have to pay for the call-back of all products, the re-launch and the damaged reputation. At worst, you’ll also have to pay a hefty fine, and any compensations required. You’ll save yourself trouble and money by getting the help of professionals! Get some guidance from us.

Effective packaging design

So, how to be effective with all these limitations? Well, by simply knowing your product well AND your audience! Leave some space for the requirements, the rest is free to paint with your creativity. We give you 8 useful tips here to design eye-catching packaging and 11 inspiring styles here to spark your creativity.

And if you need professional help, we stand at the ready!


“knowing your product well AND your audience!”


Disclaimer – As designers, we are not legal advisors but we do consult with trusted experts like Michelle Boutin at Food Envy Labelling to make sure our designs are up to the latest standards and requirements.


At Visual Targets, we specialize in custom packaging design, so we would like to work with you to create the right and most impactful packaging for your product. 

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