How to Choose the Best Inkjet Label Printer for Food Packaging?

Food packaging labels are crucial for both consumer safety and brand communication. These labels go beyond mere aesthetics; they are legal documents, informative brochures, and marketing tools all rolled into one.

 

Food Package Labels Usually Contain These Essential Information:

  1. Nutritional facts
  2. Ingredient lists
  3. Expiration date and batch numbers
  4. Manufactuer details
  5. Percentage Daily Intake (%DI) and Health Star Rating (HSR) symbols

 

Why Do You Need to Print Fool Packaging Labels?

Printing food packaging labels is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Consumer Safety: Labels provide essential information like ingredients, allergens, and expiration dates, helping consumers avoid health risks.
  2. Legal Compliance: Food labeling is often required by law to include specific details such as nutritional facts and ingredient lists.
  3. Product Identification: Labels help distinguish products on the shelf and convey the brand’s identity.
  4. Usage Information: Safety instructions and preparation methods ensure the food is stored and used correctly.
  5. Marketing: Effective labeling can attract consumers and communicate the brand's values, such as organic or eco-friendly practices.

Printing these labels is not just a regulatory compliance requirement but also serves as a medium for conveying brand identity and information critical to consumer decisions. In the context of increasing awareness about food safety and quality, food packaging labels act as a direct communication channel between the food producers and consumers.

 

Types of Food Label Printers

When it comes to printing food packaging labels, businesses have a variety of printer types to choose from, each with its unique set of advantages and disadvantages. The main types include thermal printers, inkjet printers, and laser printers.

Thermal label printer

(Image Credit: Munbyn)

1. Thermal Printers  

Thermal printing technology, favored for its speed and efficiency, is particularly adept at handling large volumes of labels with consistent quality. The process involves applying heat to a specially coated thermal paper, creating a durable and fast printout. Here's a list of the advantages and disadvantages of thermal printing technology and thermal printers:

● Advantages:

  1. Speed: Thermal printers are generally faster than other types of printers, making them ideal for high-volume printing tasks.
  2. Quiet Operation: They operate quietly compared to impact printers, which is beneficial in environments like hospitals or quiet offices.
  3. Low Maintenance: Thermal printers have fewer moving parts, which reduces the chances of mechanical failures and lowers maintenance costs.

● Disadvantages:

  1. Heat Sensitivity of Media: The media used in thermal printers (like thermal paper) is sensitive to heat and light, which can lead to fading of the print over time.
  2. Higher Media Cost: Thermal paper is typically more expensive than regular paper used in other types of printers.
  3. Limited Media Options: Thermal printers usually have fewer options for media types, restricting them to specific uses like receipts or labels rather than general-purpose printing.

 

Food label laser printer

(Image Credit: inkjetlabelshop)

2. Laser Printers

Laser printers offer high-quality prints and are capable of handling a large volume of prints quickly. They work by fusing toner powder to paper with laser technology, resulting in sharp, high-resolution labels. Here's a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of laser printing technology and laser printers:
● Advantages:

  1. High Print Quality: Laser printers produce very high-quality prints, with excellent resolution and sharpness, making them ideal for both text and detailed graphics.
  2. Speed: They are generally faster than inkjet printers, especially for text documents, making them suitable for office environments with high printing needs.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness for High Volume: While the initial cost might be higher, the cost per page is lower for laser printers when printing large volumes, thanks to the longevity of toner cartridges compared to ink cartridges.

● Disadvantages:

  1. Higher Initial Cost: Laser printers usually have a higher upfront cost compared to other types of printers like inkjet printers.
  2. Size and Weight: They tend to be bulkier and heavier, which can be a disadvantage in small office spaces or home offices.
  3. Limited Media Flexibility: Laser printers are not as versatile with different types of printing media; for example, they can struggle with very thick paper or textiles that are easily handled by inkjet printers.

 

Inkjet label printer

(Image Credit: inkjetlabelshop)

3. Inkjet Printers

For a blend of versatility, quality, and color accuracy, inkjet printers emerge as the top recommendation for food packaging labels. These printers spray tiny droplets of ink onto a variety of materials, allowing for the creation of vibrant, detailed labels that can capture the essence of the brand. The flexibility of inkjet label printers makes them a preferred choice for businesses looking to create impactful and informative food packaging labels. The adaptability of inkjet printers to different materials also makes them particularly suitable for innovative packaging designs that can stand out on the shelves. We will take a closer look at their pros and cons.

● Advantages:

  1. Superior Color Quality: Inkjet printers produce vibrant colors, making them ideal for printing photos and color-intensive documents.
  2. Flexibility with Media: They can print on a wide range of surfaces including glossy photo paper, textured stationery, and even some types of fabric.
  3. Lower Initial Cost: Inkjet printers are generally less expensive to purchase than laser printers, making them accessible for casual or home users.

● Disadvantages:

  1. Higher Cost per Page: Although the initial cost is lower, the cost of ink replacements makes the cost per page higher, especially for high-volume printing.
  2. Slower Speed: Compared to laser printers, inkjet printers are slower, which can be a drawback for high-volume printing environments.
  3. Maintenance: Inkjet printers require regular maintenance to prevent the ink from drying in the nozzles, potentially leading to clogging and print quality issues.

● Advantages Over Other Printer Types:

When compared to thermal and laser printers, the distinct advantages of inkjet printers include:

  1. Excellent Print Quality for Images: Inkjets are superior for photographic and high-resolution color printing.
  2. Ability to Handle a Variety of Print Media: Unlike thermal or some laser printers, inkjets can print on a broader array of materials without concerns about heat sensitivity (as with thermal media) or media thickness.
  3. Cost-Effective Color Printing: For environments where vibrant color printing is essential but not necessarily in high volumes, inkjet printers offer a cost-effective solution.

These characteristics make inkjet printers highly suitable for applications where print quality and media versatility are more critical than print speed and volume, such as in creative industries, small businesses, and home offices.

 

Choose the Right Type of Inkjet Label Printer for Your Business

Selecting the ideal inkjet label printer is a strategic decision that hinges on understanding your business's unique demands and constraints. The volume of labels needed, the complexity of the designs, the materials used for packaging, and budget limitations are all critical factors in this decision.

Types of Inkjet Label Printers

Within the category of inkjet printers, the choice narrows down to two primary types: the traditional bulky inkjet printer and the handheld inkjet printer. Each serves distinct needs and scales of operations in the realm of food packaging and labeling.

1. Industrial Large Inkjet Printers

For operations where the print volume is high, and the need for efficiency and durability is paramount, industrial inkjet printers stand out. These machines are built to operate continuously, producing a consistent output of high-quality labels. They can accommodate a wide range of ink types and materials, from standard papers to more durable synthetic options. This capability is essential for food packaging, where the information such as food ingredients, manufacturer information and batch codes must remain legible and intact throughout the product's lifecycle, enduring conditions like refrigeration, transportation, and handling. Below are two machines for reference.

Bentsai B85 Wide Format Handheld Inkjet Printer

Price: $2199 USD

Features:

  1. Applicable Materials: Porous and non-porous materials including wood, cardboard, fabric, paper, glass, plastic, metal, concrete, etc.
  2. Print Contents: Text, logo, date/time, shift code, serial number, fixed QR code & barcode, batch/lot number, counter
  3. Print Height: 2.5-100mm
  4. Print Lines: 1-40 Lines
  5. Printing Resolution: 300 DPI
  6. Cartridge Number: 4
  7. Ink Cartridge Type: Solvent Based Ink
  8. Ink Color Options: Black, White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow
  9. Machine Weight: 1.25kg
  10. Measure: 239 x 182 x 117mm
  11. System Language: 17 language options including Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese, French, Hindi, Thai, Vietnamese, Persian, Turkish
  12. Screen Size: 5 Inch LCD Touch Screen

The Bentsai B85 Large Format Handjet Printer is a groundbreaking innovation as the very first large format inkjet printer designed with handy and portable features in mind while making sure the sleek outlook. Despite its wide applications and light weight, it also supports variable data printing for more marking purposes. Moreover, it has a photoelectric print mode and can be connected to a convey for automatic printing to reduce manual labeling and boost efficiency. The 5-inch LCD touch screen provides intuitive control and editing, while its multilingual support ensures usability across global markets.

Where to Buy: Buy Now

Bentsai B85 Portable Large Format Inkjet Printer with 100mm Print Height

 

2. Handheld Small Inkjet Printers

Suitable for small to medium food processing and packaging businesses, such as bakeries and fresh food retailers, small character handheld inkjet printers offer flexibility and convenience with their small character printing capabilities and portability without a large, stationary setup. These machines are particularly beneficial for places that require on-the-go printing of packaging information. Based on different needs, you can find either a portable label printer or a handheld date code printer under this sector. The former one requires a thermal label for the print while the handheld date code printer can print small information such as expiry dates, batch codes and price tags directly onto products or packaging.

Bentsai B35 Portable Handheld Printer Gun

Price: $700

Features:

  1. Applicable Materials: Prints on paper, carton, fabric, metal, glass, plastic, polyethylene, egg, stone, etc.
  2. Print Contents: expiry dates, QR code, barcode, batch/serial number, logo, text, time, counter, etc
  3. Print Height: Adjustable from 2.5-25.4mm
  4. Printing Resolution: 300 DPI
  5. Ink Cartridge: Water based ink or solvent based ink optional, water based ink is refillable
  6. Ink Color Options: Black, white, yellow, red, blue, green, invisible
  7. Machine Weight: 0.45kg
  8. System Languages: 15 languages
  9. Screen Size: 4.3-inch LCD touch screen
  10. Supports variable data printing
  11. Has photoelectric print mode and can be mounted to bracket stand for automatic labeling on conveyor belts

Bentsai B35 Portable Handheld Printer Gun offers exceptional value at $700, making it a high-quality option within its price range. Despite its higher price, the Bentsai B35 offers significant cost savings with its refillable water-based ink, reducing long-term ink expenses. It delivers superior print quality with a thermal inkjet printing heads using advanced microfluidic MEMS technology, ensuring crisp and clear prints. Additionally, the B35 includes advanced features such as variable data printing and photoelectric printing mode, enhancing its versatility and efficiency. These features, combined with its lightweight design and ability to mount on conveyor belts for automatic labeling, make it an excellent choice for businesses seeking a reliable and multifunctional printing solution.

Where to Buy: Buy Now

Bentsai B35 Portable Handheld Printer Gun

 

Bentsai B10 Mini Portable Inkjet Printer

Price: $329 USD

Features:

  1. Printer Type: Inkjet Printer
  2. Connectivity: WIFI and APP-controlled
  3. App System: IOS & Android
  4. APP Language Options: 17
  5. Can print text, date, counter, logo, QR Code, barcode, picture, etc. on water absorbing and non-water absorbing materials
  6. Print Height: Adjustable from 2.5mm-12.7mm
  7. Print Resolution: 300 DPI
  8. Ink Color Options: Black, white, yellow, red, blue, green, invisible
  9. Dimension: 110 x 40 x x90mm
  10. Light weight at 195g and fits into pocket easily

The Bentsai B10 Mini Portable Inkjet Printer is highly portable with its lightweight design (195g) and compact dimensions, fitting easily into your pocket. It offers convenient connectivity through WiFi and APP control, allows you print anything anywhere. This makes it an excellent choice for small character batch coding and expiry date labeling on the go for food packaging. A good investment for small food manufacturing businesses.

Where to Buy: Buy Now

Bentsai B10 Mini Portable Inkjet Printer

 

In Conclusion

Choosing the right inkjet label printer for your food packaging needs is a critical decision that affects your brand image, compliance with food safety regulations, and the overall consumer experience. Whether you opt for a large industrial printer or a more compact handheld model, ensuring that the printer aligns with your business requirements is key to creating effective and attractive food packaging.


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