Labels. Restaurant operators think about food labeling more than ever before. Although calorie and nutrition counts made their way to websites a decade ago, in May of last year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandated restaurants accurately label menu boards and grab-and-go convenience items.

Another type of label—embedded with Radio Frequency Tracking Identification (RFID)—is also gaining traction, helping operators navigate the supply chain and control food costs. By 2020, the global RFID label market is projected to reach $24.5 billion, according to The Statistic Portal, a provider of market and consumer data.

The National Retail Federation’s 2019 “Big Show & Expo” attracted retailers from 99 countries earlier this year in New York City, many interested in the technology behind these “smart labels” and tracking information in real time.

Exploring the trend, Avery Dennison hosted “How Intelligent Labels are Redefining the Future of Retail Across Multiple Industry Segments,” moderated by Francisco Melo, the company’s vice president and general manager of Global RFID.

“As a world leader in intelligent labels, we’re accelerating the adoption of digitally-enabled products across the retail industry,” he said. “We believe in a future where every item will have a unique digital identity and digital life, enabling businesses to improve visibility and efficiency across the supply chain, to ultimately enhance the consumer experience and improve retail margins.”

The company’s Freshmarx Intelligent Food Industry Solutions is growing its suite of products—including hardware, software and applications. Melo fielded questions about traceability and tracking with RFID as a tool to control costs in the supply chain and order food more efficiently. Imagine an inventory label that reveals when you ordered something and how often you’re using it.

Also top of mind was the first-year anniversary of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s mandate; some operators are still working on transitioning away from hand-labeling.

In partnership with the NRF and the International Food and Beverage Technology Association, Avery Dennison showcased its Freshmarx Ingredient and Nutrition Labeling system, which ensures compliance to federal legislation, allowing operators to print labels on demand with correct nutrition and calorie counts—every single time.

We may be thinking more about smart labels lately, but in the long-run they’ll take the guesswork out of inventory management and government compliance.  

Fast Food, News