Consumers Can Expect to See New Labels in Australia


The new Country of Origin Labeling (CoOL) legislation was brought about on July 1, 2016, by a notable lack of consumer confidence in the labeling of both fresh and packaged goods in Australia. Public concern has resulted over the years in numerous inquiries, reports, and proposals to have this matter changed, but until recently, very few regulatory changes have been made.

In a recent BrandSquare webinar, our Paul Haggett, business development manager of Schawk Australia offers some insight into the opportunities and the complexities of complying with the new CoOL legislation in Australia.

Watch the entire webinar here: Make the Australian Country of Origin Labeling Legislation Work for Your Brand  

Both brand owners and retailers have an opportunity to embrace this Country of Origin legislation to more clearly communicate to their customers. But, as with most legislation, it’s very open to interpretation. Those who misinterpret their obligation could end up in a very uncool place. It could be consumer backlash, a product recall, or expensive packaging write-offs.

“Doing it well and doing it right can be really beneficial to those brands and retailers to connect with consumers and deliver to them what they’re looking for,” says Haggett.

For a consumer who wants to support brands and producers who manufacture locally, it can sometimes be quite difficult to quickly and easily identify a product’s origin. For a product that is a mix of local and imported materials, a consumer with a strong desire to be educated and informed about their products may have a hard time identifing the proportion of local content.

“We want to sing about our Australian sourced products, but not detract from our international one,” says one of Schawk’s retail clients, which is a concern many Australian brands will face.

Here are 4 things brands must consider when working through the new Australian Country of Origin labeling standards:

Impact on design. Those from brands and who have anything to do with design from an agency perspective understand that real estate on packaging and labeling is at a premium. The mandatories of what are proposed will take up some packaging design real estate. For successful brand adoption, there must be an appropriate strategy in place that offers the best branded approach to the legislation. Brands that embrace the legislation and comply, will offer a level of transparency that will help them win at the shelf. However, there are a multitude of considerations and interpretations that effect how you apply this device.

Below, you will see several interpretations of what the Country of Origin Labeling can look like:

Whether the label simply says if it was produced or grown in Australia, or the proportion of Australian ingredients, consumers will be fed more produt information than before. There are significant rules and regulations on how all of these symbols can be used — if they are displayed with a bar graph, a kangaroo symbol, in landscape or portrait format. Typically these labels will be found on the front-of-pack, however, some brands may choose to place them on the side or back-of-pack. There are significant choices to be made.

Practicalities and legalities. With any packaging compliance task, sorting your way through to compliance is all about understanding where the brand fits. Brand owners and retailers must have a strong structure and process in place to drive definitive outcomes. When it comes to the practicality and the legalities of labeling legislation, Schawk has extraordinary experience in approaching and implementing label regulations for brands.

Visit Label Central to see how we are approaching the new FDA Nutrition Facts label regulations in the US.

Cost and timing. We’re all aware of the cost of changing and updating packaging. Getting it wrong is even more costly. Understanding and having a breadth and depth of knowledge of the packaging and the graphics supply chain can significantly reduce the costs of these errors. Particularly, color and print quality management will be a huge differentiator in executing and complying with the new CoOL regulations efficiently.

Brand credibility. Depending on where your business or your client’s business fits with Country of Origin Labeling, there needs to be a solid strategy and tactics in place to implement the update. When brands get labeling wrong, or do not meet compliance deadlines, it can have an negative impact on the brand value and equity.

Businesses must comply with the new Australian Country of Origin Labeling legislation by July 1, 2018. Even with a small portfolio, brands must not underestimate the design, legalities, cost, and credibility implications of updating packaging. Schawk has already help many of Australia’s leading brand owners develop and deploy strategies for the new Country of Origin Labeling. Let us help you!

To find out more, contact Paul Haggett: