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What goes on a homemade food label?

Castiron is a software platform purpose-built to help independent food artisans start, build, and grow their businesses.

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What we do for you

We’ve tailored Castiron to fit the needs of kitchen-based creators who are selling their products to family, friends, and followers through word-of-mouth and social media. After a super fast setup (if you can create a social media profile, you can set up a Castiron store!), you’ll have a single place to sell, manage orders, market your business, and communicate with customers.

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Labels for Homemade Products

Selling homemade food products can be very rewarding, but there's a lot more to it than simply preparing the item and shipping it off. You have a lot of T's to cross, and I's to dot, and custom labels are an important box to check off of that list.

Why do you need labels for homemade products? We'll give you three good reasons:

  1. Repeat business. Suppose someone buys a jar of your homemade salsa to give to a friend for their birthday. But all you ever did to label it was write "salsa" on the lid with a felt tip pen. How are they going to get in touch with you about ordering another jar? Labeling is an important part of branding, establishing an identity for your business so that your customers know who to call for a second helping.
  2. It's fun. Coming up with a logo for the packaging, playing with the layout, writing slogans. It's work, but it's fun work. With a product labels template it's totally drag-and-drop, too, so you don't need to learn how to use Photoshop from the ground up or anything. You could hire someone else to do it, but when you make your own product labels, you're keeping the overhead down, and you're putting a personal touch on the packaging.
  3. You're supposed to. The bottom line: You're not allowed to sell your homemade food without proper labeling, according to the FDA. Buyers need to know what's in the product, if it uses any artificial colors or flavorings, if it contains any ingredients they're allergic to and so on. So that's an important part of designing personalized labels for handmade items.

Food packaging labels design is easier than you might expect. So you didn't go to school to study graphic design. Good. Your customers are looking for something homey and personal.

Handmade Product Labels

A good place to start when designing handmade product labels is with the Food and Drug Administration. You'll find a list of requirements here, so you can find out what's expected of you, what information you're required to include and where it goes on the label.

From there, it's up to you. If you think the homemade labels for jars of honey need a bear mascot, go for it. There aren't any rules besides the ones laid out by the FDA. But there are some general guidelines you should follow in the actual production of your tags or personalized sticker labels for handmade items.

For instance: Hand-written tags and labels are great to start out with. But when your business scales, you're going to have a hard time writing 500 "handmade with love" labels every week. Once it gets to be a little too much for one person to do with a stack of cards and a marker, you may want to look into online print shops to produce personalized tags for handmade items at higher volume.

Of course, once it gets to that point, being forced to call the printer isn't a bad problem to have.

Using a Homemade Food Labels Template

The easiest way to get started is with a homemade food labels template. There are plenty of cheap and free label design templates available on the internet, and once you have a design that you like, you can pick up some Avery labels, print 'em out and you're ready to go.

Some of the free online label templates will make it clear what you're expected to include on the label, but if not, refer back to the FDA requirements we listed above, and find out if there are any additional requirements in the state and county where you do business.

Our advice: Get the simplest free printable food label template you can find, and add your own personal touch to it. You want the label to make a personalized statement about what you're selling, so take that food label design template and make it your own. If you’ve got a beautifully designed logo, add it to your labels.

And if you're not sure what sort of statement you're trying to make, we recommend the classic marketing book Positioning, a how-to guide on carving out your own niche in a competitive market.

Good luck, and have fun!

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