Are you developing a new food product and wondering if it meets Canadian labelling regulations? Do you want to know the solutions to give your product maximum visibility, while remaining transparent to consumers?
This article provides you some rules to follow to develop a label or shrink sleeve that meets Canadian standards, while maintaining a strong impact and clarity for buyers.
The mandatory requirements for food labelling in Canada
To help consumers understand and choose healthy products, the government frequently changes food packaging regulations. This is a significant challenge for brands, who must constantly be up to date with these changes.
Before selling your product, you must ensure that it meets the requirements set by the Canadian government on the following elements:
- Common name (product name)
- Net quantity and serving sizes
- List of ingredients and allergens
- Name and principal place of business
- “Best before date” and “packaged on” date
- Nutrition labelling
- Country of origin
Nutritional values and ingredients
Whether you choose a self-adhesive label or a shrink sleeve, your packaging must include a Nutrition Facts table (NFT). Introduced over 20 years ago in Canada, the NFT informs consumers of the nutrients and calories in the product. The ingredients list is also provided to give an overview of allergenic foods or artificial ingredients.
In 2021, changes have been made to this table to make it more understandable and accurate. Consult the changes.
Sodium, sugar, or saturated fat content
Recently, the Canadian government has required food companies that offer products with prominent levels of sodium, sugar, or saturated fat to display a symbol on the front of the packaging.
The symbol’s purpose is to indicate to consumers which foods are risky for their health. It must be implemented by 1 January 2026.
The Universal Product Code (UPC) on food labels
This barcode is a digital identification system used for products sold in commerce in Canada and the United States. It contains a large amount of data which, once scanned, allows you to know the origin, the category of the product, the weight, the price and much more information.
With our thermal printers, you have all the tools to print your UPCs or other barcodes in a perfectly legible and accurate way. Our experts will advise you on the best practices for quality scanning. Learn more about our equipment.
Certifications for food products
Certifications allow you to promote a characteristic of your product and to gain notoriety. They are an essential asset, a guarantee of confidence, quality, and stability for your consumers. Therefore, they should be printed on the packaging.
IMS advises you on the location of the certification, the type of printing for good visibility, but also on the use of inks and finishes to give the logo more impact.
Labels for organic products
Are your products organic? It is therefore essential to indicate your certifications or the term “organic” on the label! But be careful, the display of these terms is tightly regulated by various bodies.
For example, the “Canada Organic” certification logo, which is the most recognized in the territory, can be used if and only if the product contains 95% or more of organic ingredients certified in accordance with the requirements of the Canada Organic Regime (COR). To obtain it, the process must be initiated by the brand. To find out more, click here.
Labels for local and regional products
Certifications related to the product’s origin, whether local or foreign, are extremely attractive to consumers. They should therefore be prominently displayed on your label.
Once again, it is important to be aware of the regulations enforced to obtain the right to use these certifications, and how to use them on your packaging.
Labels for halal and kosher products
If you sell halal or kosher products, you want your customers to be able to spot your product easily. It is therefore essential to display your certification in a visible way. However, with all certifications, there are several rules that must be followed.
For example, a company that produces halal must:
- Display the name of the certification body or person who certified the product.
- Verify the reputation of the certification body (there are a dozen in Canada).
- Use a logo that includes the word “HALAL” in full.
Tips for more effective labelsIn addition to the mandatory information, barcodes, and certifications, you can specify other information on your labels to increase visibility and improve your message effectiveness. Do not hesitate to ask our team for advice on tips tailored to your products!
If your product does not contain an ingredient related to an allergy or a specific diet, make this clear. This often makes a difference on the shelves!
- Fat free
- Sugar free
- Gluten free
- Glutamate (MSG) free
- GMO-free (Non-Genetically Modified Organism)
- BPA (Bisphenol-A) free
- Nut free
- Peanut free
- Lactose free
Do not neglect to check what is considered as an allergen. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides a list of ingredient allergies and guidelines.
Recycling has always been complicated for consumers. Depending on the recycling facilities and the programs set up by cities and provinces, it may make sense to include a recycling statement. For example, you can add a message encouraging recycling (e.g., “100 % recyclable”), or adopt the How2Recycle standardised labelling system to clearly communicate recycling instructions to consumers.
Adding the social networks’ logo or a QR code that redirects to your social media is a good initiative. In this way, you make it easier for consumers to interact with your brand, gather information about their consumption habits and provide feedback.
IMS, your partner for food label printing
You now have all the information you need to develop a label design that complies with Canadian standards but is also clear and impactful for your consumers!
Not sure about the regulatory details? Our team will guide you through the design phase, with expert advice to help you find the best and safest positioning.
When it comes to the printing phase, IMS takes care of everything to offer you a solution adapted to your products, your goals, and your budget: type of label, printing technique, format, material, inks, finishes, etc. We secure the printing quality for a flawless readability for the consumer.
With our experts and state-of-the-art technology, we support your food product identification projects and help you develop outstanding packaging. Contact us to discuss your project.