Business and Operations
In-house label printing
By Naomi Szeben
Bringing control and cost-effectiveness to your bakery.
By Naomi Szeben
In house printing is gaining popularity with small and mid-sized bakers, particularly those who have a limited budget. Bakers Journal spoke with Kellie Garber, Senior Product Manager for Primera Technology, about the pros and cons to in-house printing. “In house labelling allows owners to make a dozen of one, two hundred of another, it just allows for that kind of flexibility and allows to make those quick changes with short lead times. It brings control back to the business, and not depend on a commercial print house. “
For bakeries who create edible cannabis-infused goods, the labelling laws are clear about the use of colour, and its potential to appearl to children. Creating an attractive but child-safe label can be onerous when dealing with a design firm; it can mean many visits with the visual design team and possibly, costly corrections or re-prints.
For bakers just starting up a small batch bakery, an in house labelling system can be that cost effective tool that doesn’t take up much space, as it’s roughly the same space as an ordinary desk-top printer. The cost advantage to a DIY approach has its appeal for start ups, in particular. “- if you’re doing a few thousand labels of one design, from a commercial print house, you’d pay anywhere from five to seven cents [per label.]”
Storage is often an issue for companies that have small floor space and little to no storage outside of their pantry. With a smaller amount of labels on hand, bakeries can print a few hundred of one type of label and a couple dozen of another, using space more effectively.
Garber shared some considerations a start up bakery would need when considering their labeling requirements. “The big thing would be purchasing the printer, and it would have to be hooked up to a computer, either a PC or a Mac, and keeping control of those designs as well, so having those available and making sure you have ink and materials in stock would be the big considerations.”
Aside from the initial purchase, there are conditions to consider how the labels would be used, and what environmental conditions they would be subject to. Some printers can print boxes and bags, but Garber adds that those looking into such options might want to consider if the unprinted boxes can handle ink jet printing from an in-house printer. She adds that bakeries should also consider how the machine would feed the labels, bags or boxes. It can be time consuming for a staff member to feed boxes one-by-one in to a printer, and some labels come in rolls for self-feeding, making life easier.
As for choosing ink, Garber notes that there are two kind of ink on the market at the moment. “One is a water-based dye ink, or a pigment ink, which for the food industry isn’t the best. That one is best for the outdoors, as it’s better for water-resistance. Dye ink will give you brighter colours, so most bakeries use that.”
In all, Garber recommends bakeries ask clear questions prior to making a printer purchase, such as what a company’s trouble-shooting is like. Does the company offer online chat tech support or live-in person call?
“If a unit goes down, see if there is an offer where a device can be swapped out with a functioning one while the defective printer is sent back for repair or replacement. See what the cost or repair or replacement is: In some cases, might be higher than the cost of buying a new one altogether,” suggests Garber. “See if someone can log in remotely, if it’s a mechanical issue, if it’s under warrantee, see if they come with at least a one year guarantee for parts and labour.”
In short, a bakery considering in house printing should consider the cost of the printer, ink and material, and the potential for the cost of replacement and alternatives if a printer isn’t replaced quickly enough. This should be food for thought for any small bakery contemplating a creative solution to their labelling.