Chromalabel is devoted to making organization more colorful and intuitive than before with our lines of stickers, labels, and tapes in dazzling arrays of colors. We apply those principles—and products—across industries, including food service. Here are some of the benefits of food service labels for commercial fridges—some fridge benefits that are much more than fringe benefits.
Having logged enough “flight hours” in the kitchen, most of us can pride ourselves on being able to eyeball a food item and grab it for use. Some, of course, are easier than others—you don’t need to have grown up watching Bugs Bunny cartoons to know what a carrot looks like. Other vegetables, however, are a little trickier than that. When you get into the leafy greens department, for instance, can you tell your kale from your spinach? How about your spinach from your chard? In the heat of the moment, it can be easy to mistake leeks for fennel, but the guest who ordered the fennel salad is going to know immediately that something has gone terribly wrong. By clearing labeling the contents of all your containers, you’ll eliminate all ambiguity and cases of mistaken identity that can come from a cavalier attitude toward food recognition.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
Here are some experiences that’re all too common at home. You’re adding a little bit of milk to your morning tea, only to find that as soon as the hot water hits the milk and the teabag, it immediately curdles—failing to give your Irish Breakfast some much-needed creaminess but succeeding in filling your mug with a host of unsightly balls and crumbs. Worse yet, you skip the tea and decide to pour yourself a tall glass of milk as part of that vaunted complete breakfast, but to your surprise and disgust, the milk is spoiled. It’s a real disappointment—no wonder people are switching to almond milk. But milk doesn’t outwardly present as having gone bad. Neither do eggs. Both can be big problems for customers and for kitchens if they find their way in. Even veggies that look okay on the outside can be going bad on the inside. By labeling everything in the fridge with pertinent dates, you’ll avoid mistaking spoiled food for fresh food.
Know Your Items’ Freshness
In a household refrigerator or freezer, we know that leftovers have a funny way of nudging their way to the far back, where they sit waiting for rediscovery. When you do find that long-forgotten brick of baked ziti, you ask yourself: is this still good? When did I even make that? Wait, did I even make that? If you held your personal kitchen to the standards we hold our commercial kitchens to, you’d know exactly when you made it and how much time you’d have to eat it before it started to go bad. While your commercial kitchen does deal with a much grander scale of ingredients and preparations than some Wednesday night dinner, the principle holds true—the information these labels contain can be highly useful. A consummate food service label will include not only the name of the contents, of course, but both the acquisition and expiration dates. Knowing this window and having this information readily available will help your kitchen know what to use up first and prevent mystery packages from taking up valuable and limited space.
There Is Accounting for Taste: Bringing FIFO Principles To the Kitchen
In addition to splashing some color upon the food-service industry, Chromalabel also brings a little color to accountancy as well. Let’s bridge these two areas. Accountants who oversee inventory management for small businesses nominally apply one of two systems for valuation—first-in-first-out (FIFO), in which existing inventory leaves the premises before new inventory does, or last-in-first-out, where the most recent inventory to arrive is what goes first. Most accountants prefer FIFO, but when they apply this to goods such as automobiles or t-shirts, they’re really dealing in abstractions. It’s not about whether a t-shirt the business sold at noon on a Tuesday really arrived prior to one they sold at 3:15 the next day.
Rather, for the purposes of accounting for production costs, accountants merely assume that the first in was the first out. When it comes to food service, however, those abstractions become reality. Few practices could be more wasteful in the kitchen than not exhausting existing inventory before going into new acquisitions. The time sensitivity of ingredients means that the inventory can vanish into thin air—or rather, into your garbage bin. Food service labeling is a small investment that saves big money.
Protecting Against Allergies
Food allergies are more prevalent than ever. Whether this is simply an increased awareness of allergies that were always present, a consequence of the extent to which our digestive systems encounter microorganisms, or merely a psychosomatic condition, is immaterial. The real point is that the number of people worldwide citing at least one food allergy has more than doubled over the past fifty years, and in the food service industry, you and your kitchen need to account for that. Among the benefits of food service labels for commercial fridges is that you can denote the presence of common allergens right on the containers’ labels, aiding workers in knowing what to keep separate and what to handle with care.
The most common allergens involve seafood, peanuts or tree nuts, and dairy, but more people are also demonstrating allergies to eggs and soy as well. Then, of course, there is wheat, in which the gluten that gives bread its characteristic chewiness and matrix of air bubbles can give people with celiac disease severe gastrointestinal distress.
Chromalabel has just the solution to these tricky allergens lurking within your refrigerator: supplement traditional food service labels with color-coding dot stickers that immediately indicate the presence of dairy, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, or wheat. This doesn’t just keep customers safe, but it also keeps allergens out of the hands of employees who might inadvertently brush up against some peanuts or shellfish.