Food Label Printing Made Easy: Save time and money by printing your own labels with this FoodSoftware food label printing starter kit. All the components of a typical food label printing setup are combined here for your research and shopping convenience.
This starter kit has the most popular combination of products that we sell together to bakeries and other food manufacturers who need to print their own food labels for retail packaging. A label printer, label supplies and software are included here in one product listing for simplicity. If you do your research carefully, this is the selection of items you are most likely to buy. This kit includes the following:
- Zebra GX 430T Thermal Label Printer
- ZebraDesigner Label Design and Printing Software for Windows*
- 4" x 6" Direct Thermal Paper Labels (or optional other label types)
- nutraCoster Professional Nutritional Analysis Software for Windows* (for making US and Canadian Nutrition Facts panels)
* Mac Users: Please note that Windows is required for all the above. See the System Requirements section below for details.
What this Starter Kit Includes and Why
Label Printer: The Zebra GX430T is our most popular label printer for black-and-white printing. It is a professional, economical, fast, flexible, reliable, medium-duty, 300 dpi, small "desktop" printer that uses label rolls up to four inches wide. It uses heat instead of ink for economy and speed. It has both Direct Thermal for economy (no ink) and Thermal Transfer (pigment ribbon) for maximum quality (moisture and fade resistance). With 300 dpi resolution, it prints small letters and fine lines clearly, which is critical for small labels. It connects to your PC with a USB cable just like a regular office printer. (Please forget trying to use office printers for production label printing; label printers with label rolls are vastly cheaper per label and easier to use than office printers with sheet labels.)
For complete details about the Zebra GX430t printer, go to:
Food Label Printer: Zebra GX430 Zebra Desktop 300dpi Printer
Label Software: ZebraDesigner software is like a word processor for labels; use it to design, save and print label files. Label design software is for composing the overall retail food label, including text (product name, description, etc.), graphics (company or product logos, Nutrition Facts panel) and UPC bar codes. (Note that Nutrition Facts panels are actually graphics files created by the nutraCoster software; more details later.) ZebraDesigner includes a UPC bar code creator tool too. Installation of ZebraDesigner also installs the Zebra printer drivers. ZebraDesigner is the software that actually controls production label printing on the Zebra printer.
Labels: Labels come in a wide variety of sizes and materials but the most popular label size by far is 4 by 6 inches, so a case of these (about 3,000) is included in this kit. The reason why 4 x 6 is because it is the largest label the Zebra prints, and ideally, you want only one label to do the whole job (more than one label is too much cost and work). For most products, 4 x 6 is the right size to fit everything: product name, description, company name, logo, UPC bar codes and Nutrition Facts panel.
Note that label images can be printed in any orientation, so a label side can be either width or height. (The same label is either 4 x 6 or 6 x 4.)
Important Note: The size of the Nutrition Facts panel is dictated by regulations so you may not have complete control over its size and shape, so the rest of your label design has to fit around it. Keep reading for more about this.
Options: This listing has shopping cart options for the different kinds of labels: Select Direct Thermal Paper for economical labels for short shelf-life products. Select Thermal Transfer Paper for long shelf-life products. Select Thermal Transfer Plastic labels for frozen or wet packages. For the complete range of Zebra labels beyond the options offered for this listing, click on this link:
Click here for the full Zebra Desktop Food Label Catalog and Product Guide
Nutrition Facts Software: Supermarkets require all food products to include regulation Nutrition Facts Panels; you cannot sell your products retail without these. So you can make your own, this kit includes nutraCoster Professional 2.1 nutritional analysis software. You enter product recipes into nutraCoster and it does nutritional analyses and composes the resulting Nutrition Facts panels per regulations (both US and Canadian). The Nutrition Facts panel is exported as a graphics file which you then use as part of your overall food label (designed and printed with the label software as mentioned above.) (You want nutraCoster because it is much, much cheaper than using a service and it's a necessary tool when you are in the food business.)
Above is an example of a Side-by-Side format Nutrition Facts panel, one of a variety of regulation formats produced by nutraCoster.
For complete details about the nutraCoster software, go to:
SweetWARE nutraCoster Professional 2.1 Recipe/Formula Costing & Nutritional Analysis Software
Label Size Regulations
There is a divide point set by nutrition facts labeling regulations that greatly impacts your choice of label size.
Regulations state that if your product package has over forty or more square inches able to bear labels (total surface not too scrunched or irregular to hold a label), you must use full-size Nutrition Facts panels (as nutraCoster will make correctly for you). Below forty square inches you can reduce Nutrition Facts panels mostly as needed.
The smallest full-size panels that nutraCoster makes directly are 5 1/8" x 1 5/8" or 4 1/2" x 1 1/8". Yours will be that size or larger, depending on the number of nutrients, allergens and ingredients listed. This is why our starter kit label sizes are 4" by 6" -- they will use much of the space on a 4x6 label.
However, you can use the text and formatting that nutraCoster provides to make much smaller labels. Under forty square inches able to bear labels, you can use the Linear format panel with type sizes down to 4.5 points (almost half the normal 8 point size), providing they are clear and comply with some other rules. Basically, using the ZebraDesigner software, you use the full-size label that nutraCoster makes as a model and copy the style so that what is larger and bolder remains such, only with smaller type. You should be able to make a Nutrition Facts panel for almost any small package this way.
Labels and Kit Options
This starter kit product listing is here to make it easy to get what you need to start printing your own labels. The group of items in this kit are simply what many of our customers choose for their starting setup. However, the parts of this kit can be ordered separately and you can order different sizes and kinds of labels than those offered in this kit. Please call us at 805-375-7000 if you need something different than what is included in this listing.
There are three shopping cart options for this starter kit. The only difference between options is the type of labels you get initially:
Option 1: Direct Thermal Paper Labels -- choose this option if your products have short shelf lives (a few days or weeks at most) and the labels need to be economical but not the best looking. These labels are best for baked goods and other fresh products. These labels are the least expensive (around 4.2 cents each for 4x6) because they do not need ink or ribbons. They are not for long-term labels because they are heat- and light-sensitive and so get dull over time. They are paper and do not stand up to moisture and wear. This option includes one case of Zebra 4x6 labels, part #10010049, with 6 rolls of 475 labels/roll.
Option 2: Thermal Transfer Paper Labels and ribbons -- choose this option for long-life labels that do not get dull. These are paper and do not stand up to moisture and wear. These bright glossy paper labels require pigment ribbons. This option includes one case of Zebra 4x6 labels, part #82868, with 6 rolls of 420 labels/roll, and one case of Zebra 4.3" wide Wax/Resin ribbons, with 12 rolls, 244 inches/roll.
Option 3: Thermal Transfer Plastic Labels -- choose this option for durable labels that stand up to moisture, freezing and wear and do not dull. This option includes one case of Zebra 4x6 labels, part #18926, with 6 rolls of 390 labels/roll, and one case of Zebra 4.3" wide Wax/Resin ribbons, with 12 rolls, 244 inches/roll.
This label printing system runs under all recent Windows computers running Windows XP or later. Specifically:
- Any 32-bit Windows including Windows 8, 7, Vista, Windows XP, Windows 98 ,Windows ME, Windows 2000 or later. nutraCoster Professional 2.1 and ZebraDesigner will not run under Windows 3.1, Windows 95 or Windows NT.
- Pentium 200 or faster processor recommended.
- 32 MB RAM or more (64 MB recommended).
- 40 MB free disk space (more for optional ingredient libraries)
- This system does NOT work with Macs, even Macs running Windows.
Apple Macs: We do not recommend using Macs for label printing, even Macs with Windows, because Zebra printers (and most label printers) do not work with Macs. nutraCoster by itself can run under Windows on Macs. nutraCoster requires Windows to run and can run on recent Apple Macs providing they have Boot Camp or Parallels and Windows. nutraCoster does not run on the Mac operating system software without Windows. Zebra printers and ZebraDesigner software do NOT work with Macs, even with Windows.
Printers, labels and ribbons are returnable within 20 days of delivery. Refunds are less shipping, 15% restocking fee and charge card merchant fees (if applied). nutraCoster is returnable within 45 days with no restocking fee.
FoodSoftware carries monochrome thermal and color inkjet food label printers, rewinders, applicators and dispensers: