Packaging, Design and Compliance: Why Compliance Doesn’t Mean Compromise

April 11, 2023 Compliance Design

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Compliance. Whether you’re working on a label, pouch, sleeve, or any pack format for that matter, that word can strike fear into almost all brand owners.

That’s because compliance can cause packaging designers, producers, and product owners a whole world of pain BUT here at Graphics Brands, we have the experts to help you navigate the world of food & drink label regulations, export and import laws, and much more while still producing stunning packaging! 

We’re the only creative agency in the UK offering a comprehensive graphic design and compliance service as one.

And we’re here to help you, with a quick and handy guide on compliance and a real-life case study for all you crisp lovers…

But first, what is compliance?

It is a wide-ranging topic which covers more than one person could ever be expected to know! It covers minimum requirements for labelling, Brexit food labelling guidelines, packaging laws, and more. 

Put simply, compliance is making sure that everything that is required to be on a label or piece of packaging, by law or certifying bodies, is there. 

It is essential to know, though, that having compliant labels and packaging is a legal requirement. And it’s worth remembering that every country has their own regulations and laws (nothing can ever be easy can it?).

So when the lovely team at Great Food Affairs asked us to rework their SLABS CRISPS design ready to launch into Europe and the US, alongside its existing market in the UK, we knew that they’d come to the right place. 

Having already worked with the team on SLABS CRISPS design and render work, we were already well acquainted with the project which gave us a headstart. The brief was to create two versions of each pack, one that would be suitable for the UK/EU market and one that would be suitable for launch in America. 

Our compliance team went through each country’s legal requirements such as allergen information rules, ingredient list requirements, and layout guidelines, to make sure that they were suitable for the market that they were going into. 

Open and honest communication between ourselves and the customer was essential to answer any queries and explain why we were changing elements as we went through the process. 

Why is packaging compliance important?

There can be some very serious consequences to having non-compliant labels or packaging. 

Take SLABS CRISPS for example, if they had tried to launch into the US without the correct information and declarations displayed, their product could have been refused entry by customs at the border and destroyed due to threat of misinformation or harm – imagine all those precious bags of crisps going to waste! 

Closer to home, incorrect labelling in the UK can lead to trading standards challenges, they can force you to take your brand off-sale and issue fines. Retailers can also fine you for having the incorrect packaging and even delist your product, also hindering your future listing possibilities! 

If your product is not destroyed or forced to be recalled, you may have to fork out for over-stickering to correct the mistakes on your first label. Which is expensive and, let’s be honest, doesn’t look great! 

Generally, the destruction of product due to incorrect labelling at home or abroad can have a massive impact on a business’s finances and adds to unnecessary landfill, harming the environment and increasing your carbon footprint, it’s a lose-lose scenario. 

Realistically, you may be able to get away with your non-compliant packaging or labels (which we DO NOT recommend you try), but is it really worth the risk? 

How can you help me make sure my packaging is compliant?

Before you start frantically googling ‘what information needs to be on a food label’ and ‘labelling laws’, trying to figure out how you can avoid those big fines or the threat of retailer delisting – don’t worry, we can help you. 

We have the solution to your problem, and can ensure that all the scenarios running through your head right now are solved before they even become a problem – the dream, right? 

Our fantastic team have experience in all things compliance and make it their mission to be up to date with all new regulations and laws so that you don’t have to. With experience in labelling for the BWS industry, pharmaceutical labels, Amazon and Brexit guidelines, and wider packaging laws, Graphic Brands is the perfect partner for creating future-proof and fully compliant packaging. 

Paired with our design, artwork, and print teams, we can ensure that compliance is factored into your project from the very beginning! 

In the SLABS CRISPS project, as a design and compliance team, we were able to tweak the packaging design when needed. For example, the UK/EU pack needed multiple translations which meant that the previous space allocated in the design for pack copy was not big enough. The designers were able to rework the pack, though, so that all the legal information fit nicely onto the back of pack and the core brand design was not undermined. 

Compliant labels don’t need to look like ‘compliant labels’ – with Graphic Brands there’s no compromise on design.

If you want to read more about what our compliance team can do for you, we have all our specialities listed on our website, or give us a call and we can discuss!

If you loved reading about SLABS CRISPS, you can find out more about the project here.