Natasha’s Law came into effect a year ago, but with the challenges of Covid-19 and rising costs, many businesses, especially SMEs, put it on the back-burner. With the perception that compliance would be too time-consuming or costly, we estimated that 1 in 5 businesses are still not prepared.
But is non-compliance a risky approach? One year on, Natasha’s Law and allergen labelling are still high on the agenda for food businesses. Recently, another high-profile allergy tragedy has hit the headlines. After the inquest of the death of Celia Marsh, who had an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger flatbread - labelled ‘vegan’ but, which contained protein traces - there have been calls for reform in how allergy information is passed from manufacturer to food counter.
How can food businesses meet the legislation and protect customers - without additional stress?
Read on to find out how food businesses have navigated the process and how you can ensure your business meets Nathasha’s Law (and any future legislation) smoothly and well within budget with the right labelling software.
Why is it called Natasha’s Law?
Let’s recap on the law itself. The legislation is named after fifteen-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who tragically died due to a severe allergic reaction to sesame seeds, present in a sandwich from Pret a Manger.
Natasha’s Law came into effect on 1 October 2022 in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland to better protect food allergy sufferers. If your business offers food or drink pre-packaged for direct sale (PPDS), then you need to include a full ingredients declaration on pack with allergens highlighted in bold.
How did businesses enable Natasha’s Law compliance?
Large-scale organisations were able to dedicate time and resources to getting compliant well ahead of the deadline. Take, for example, our large contract catering customer, Elior, which with our support and tools, managed consistent, cost-effective allergy labelling nationwide ahead of the legislative change.
But what about the SMEs trying to survive the uncertainty and fallout from Covid-19 when the legislation came into effect?
In the immediate aftermath of Natasha’s Law, compliance for small businesses may have lagged behind. In fact our estimates are that around a fifth of businesses are not yet compliant - a significant figure. In Kent, for example, tests between October and December 2021 continued to show common allergens, such as dairy and nuts, which were not listed on labels. Such omissions are, of course, potentially dangerous to consumers and businesses.
For other SMEs, there was an initial reaction to buy pre-packaged sandwiches for resale to avoid the issue of Natasha's Law compliance completely. However, this could only ever be a short-term solution with poor margins and lower quality products impacting detrimentally on sales.
Is the future made to order?
We've also seen around one in four businesses have adapted their offering to made-to-order only (which doesn't require labelling) as a result of the laws. But are these businesses missing out on custom from time-pressed consumers who want to grab and go, the ability to present their offerings, and the advantage of being able to sell prepackaged foods in busy periods?
How to comply with Natasha’s Law - it’s easier than you think!
To achieve Natasha’s Law compliance, a labelling solution is needed that’s cost-effective, easy to use, and adaptable. Around six months after Natasha’s Law, we saw a record number of enquiries, and users of our award-winning food labelling app, LabelLogic Live, increased 31%. A testament to the fact that it can help catering businesses implement Natasha’s Law effectively.
Our award-winning labelling app, LabelLogic Live is still helping businesses of all sizes, from contract caterers to small independent coffee shops, become compliant. The easy-to-use app allows you to create and print allergen-safe food labels online (using a computer, laptop, phone, or tablet). Labels can include: basic product information, barcodes, Q.U.I.D.S, nutritional data, Reference Intakes, and allergen information.
The labelling app is quick, easy to use, and fully compliant with current and future labelling laws - no matter what changes may come. This food labelling software creates and prints over ten million labels a month; three-quarters of these include allergens - that’s more than 90 million allergen labels per year or nearly 3 allergen labels every second.
Richard Mynott, General Manager of Jenkins Bakery points to the ease of use and flexibility;
“LabelLogic Live is straightforward to use and the Planglow support team are helpful when I get in touch with questions. The software is intuitive, and it’s easy to create products, product lists, and bakery label templates. Above all, it gives us the flexibility to create new products or update product information at short notice.”
For Jackie O’Brien, Hotel Services Manager Catering at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, our tool has helped them get ahead of legislative changes:
“LabelLogic Live has allowed us to get ahead on allergen labelling. We can also add calorie values to meet CQUIN legislation. The label design software has allowed us to put the information on sandwiches that we wanted to meet current laws and preempt what will be needed. It’s quicker for printing, and the labels are clearer. It does everything we need it to at the moment. Our customers have commented on the colourful bespoke labels and that the calories are now included.”
All-in-one labelling solution - reducing time and human error
Users can draw on their recipes and ingredients data from other software platforms and use it to create and print fully compliant food labelling in the LabelLogic Live app. These integrations save you from duplicating data unnecessarily and also protect your business from human error, ensuring that your data is always accurate and always up to date.
One such partnership is with food data experts Erudus, providing our users with nutritional data. The full ingredients declaration and ‘allergens in bold’ can be added instantly from over 42,000 branded products, 800 manufacturers and 140 regional and national wholesalers.
Getting started is easy, all you need is a box of labels and a subscription to the app. New LabelLogic Live Air: cutting-edge in-kitchen printing
If you are looking for in-kitchen label printing, we’ve just launched a solution that’s as mobile as your business. LabelLogic Live Air pairs an industry-leading label printer with a robust, affordable Android tablet, offering a limitless portal to our labelling app. It couldn’t be easier - even in a busy kitchen - to create labels on the tablet and print. The tool provides an agile, space-saving solution to allow you to stay Natasha’s Law compliant, create allergen and ingredient labels, stock rotation labels, and more on the fly.
Is labelling still causing you stress?
We’d love to help you with stress-free food labelling. What are your challenges? Would you like to find out more about our labelling solutions?
We’re here to help - book a meeting here. Additional resources Shop Natasha’s Law Labels here: https://planglow.com/labels-for-natashas-law
Guide to Natasha’s Law
Part 1 - https://planglow.com/blog/natashas-law-and-labelling-software-where-do-i-start
Part 2 - https://planglow.com/blog/your-guide-to-labelling-solutions-for-natashas-law