The Big Question | Could new food regs cause problems?

May 30, 2013 1 Comment » Print Print

By December 2014, food packaging will look different. The EU food information regulation kicks in requiring font sizes to go up on labels. Could this result in many problems from a pack design view

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Photo of Andrea Martinez Inchausti1 Andrea Martinez-Inchausti, assistant food director, British Retail Consortium

Yes. While the BRC supports aims to update and simplify food labelling legislation, the new provisions introducing a minimum font size complicate matters. Many single portion products don’t have a large enough surface area to fit on all the necessary information in the current size, meaning we could see increased packaging or larger portions. Standardising font sizes could actually make labelling less clear. Currently packaging uses a range of sizes so that key information stands out.




Photo of Andy Johnson Andy Johnson, creative business unit director, Sun Branding

No. The spontaneous answer to this question would be yes, for the new rules appear at first to limit the scope of design for any piece of packaging. However, I believe this simply challenges the designer to think even more creatively on how to enhance and promote the brand in question. There are lots of ways to do this: in the graphical treatment through colour and special finishes such as varnishes, considering different pack formats and embracing new technologies such as augmented reality.



Photo of John Gilmour John Gilmour,  managing  director, Apex Cylinders

No. There will undoubtedly be challenges as pack designers wrestle with optimising reduced space for brand message, but given the time allowed for these changes and the current economic climate, brand owners might see this as an opportunity to both help consumers and jazz up their packaging. Reading packaging labelling can be frustrating. Information can be difficult to locate and read with current content standards, random placement and often inadequate font size. Improved user-friendliness will be welcomed by consumers across the board.


Photo of Sue Bicknell Sue Bicknell, director, Springetts Design

Yes. By increasing the minimum type size, the backs of packs will be given over to more factual information. It is already difficult to fit all the legal requirements onto some packs and now it will be even harder. As the packaging will be taken up with more of the legal and factual messages, there will be a lot less room to convey the emotional aspects of the brand and product. To ensure all the back of pack information fits, it could be the case that most of the copy will be written in capital letters and be the same point size.


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