OMAHA, Neb. (FNS) -- Hy-Vee, Harris Teeter and other retailers are switching from black to blue bar-code labels on their fresh-meat packages.
The labels are designed to make the meat case look brighter, cleaner and more upscale, according to Andrew Greenberg, marketing director at Nashua, the manufacturer of Blue Beacon labels here.
"With all the negative press on meat, it could help promote the attractiveness and safety of meat packages," he said. Blue -- one of the few scannable colors -- is also Americans' favorite color, according to Nashua research.
Hy-Vee started using the labels in two of its stores, and is expected to roll them out chainwide by the end of the year. Lucky Stores' Southern division in Buena Park, Calif., is using the label on both meat and bakery products in its stores, while its Northern division in San Leandro, Calif., is evaluating the labels, according to Greenberg.
Both Acme Markets in Malvern, Pa., and Harris Teeter in Charlotte, N.C., also plan to roll out the blue labels on meats chainwide, he said.
The labels can be used in other departments with their own bar-code printers, such as deli and floral. "They have a high scan rate at the front end," Greenberg said. Although the labels cost more to manufacture than standard black labels, Greenberg said, the labels sell for the same price, or slightly more than standard labels, depending on the volume ordered.
Stores that preprint ingredient labels on-site can also use the blue labels for the ingredients panel.
Nashua officials said they chose blue because it has consistently ranked as the No. 1 favorite color. Studies have shown that the hue appeals to the intellect, and is used often in art, architecture, healing and gardening, and can help people relax.
"This bright, attractive, soothing color will enhance the presentation of meat, deli, seafood, produce and bakery products," the company said in a statement.
In addition, print heads on scanners may last longer because Blue Beacon labels require less energy to image, according to Nashua officials.
Store personnel and customers at one store in a test of the labels said they were easier to read, according to Ed Mazur, Nashua's Northeast area manager.