(Oct. 15) SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — As with many things, the success of labeling company ProLabel International Inc. can be attributed in part to good old-fashioned timing.

The company was founded in 1994, a time when, according to president Joe Adams, the labeling industry was just starting to branch off in new directions.

“When we started the company, it coincided with Price Look-Up labeling, and that’s really driven our growth,” he said.

EXPANDING MARKET

That growth has continued to this day and is expanding into the smaller and medium-sized companies that previously had not considered doing their own labeling.

“We’re getting inquiries now from the medium and small packers,” Adams said. “We’ve tried to come up with some lower-cost alternatives that work with less-sophisticated equipment for those people, so that even small packers can have access to produce labeling.”

One of those devices is an electric, hand-held labeler designed to go anywhere along the packing line. Adams said the retailer has been the driving force behind the demand for labeling.

“More and more retailers are requiring that the fruit that they buy be labeled,” he said. “Back in the early days it was the majors that wanted the stuff labeled. Now that’s trickled down; smaller chains and other markets are asking for it.”

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Adams said he also is seeing more inquiries regarding country-of-origin labeling after the recent farm bill passed by Congress.

“People are beginning to look at that as another thing they will have to provide to retailers,” Adams said.

ProLabel has also been working a lot on reduced space symbology, or RSS-14, labeling. Adams said his company has done some pilot runs with several packers to test the new bar codes.

“I suspect that this year we will take another step and actually do some packing with them,” he added.

Adams said ProLabel also is doing a lot of work with larger packers and has recently redesigned its PL1900-EX labeling system to give it a higher operating speed and make it easier to maintain.

The company has experimented with bar coders on cucumber sizers in order to barcode the cucumbers automatically as they move along the line.

“We’ve also broadened our adhesives for some of the more difficult fruit like peaches and nectarines and fuzzy things,” Adams said.

For more information, call ProLabel at (800) 958-9991 or visit www.prolabelinternational.com.