About three years ago, MBD was brought on-board to produce bi-lingual private label packaging solutions to a PriceSmart’s growing private label program.  PriceSmart is a retailer very similar to Costco but operates 40 clubs in 12 countries (Central America, Colombia and the Caribbean).  Since then, and over 400 SKUs later, we’ve learned a thing or two about producing a one-size-fits-all label for different markets. 

Here are 5 common questions I’ve been asked since we started running the program.

1. What are some of the biggest challenges in creating a label that is compliant for all markets?

Correct translation that will work in all markets.

Pasabocas, bocadillos and boquitas all mean the same thing in Spanish: “Snacks”.  But, the correct term varies on what market and region you are reaching. 


2. Are there labeling requirements that differ from USA / FDA?

Yes, here are just a few examples:

Instructions for Use – on everything!   

This is required for both foods and non-food items. 

Household Measure

In addition to ounces and grams, some of our markets require a household measure indicated for serving size (1/2 cup, 1 tablespoon…etc).

Source of water required for bottled water in Colombia

With bottled water we have to include on the front panel “Para Colombia:  Auga potable tratada”  (English translation: Treated tap water) to indicate the source of the Water.


3. Are there any particular food categories that more difficult than others?

The cheese category is difficult because the classification   For example, on the primary display panel you need to indicate

  • age (could be fresh, aged, mould-ripened)
  • dry fat content (rico en grasa, graso, semigraso, semimagro, magro)
  • moisture (blando, semiblando, semiduro, duro).


4. Are there any production related challenges when producing bilingual artwork?

Yes. Considering most elements to appear in 2 languages, squeezing everything in can prove challenging from a layout perspective as well as print limitation perspective.

Most of time, space is not an issue since most of private labels items are large club items where there’s enough real estate on the back panel to include all required information.  Where it gets tricky is when we need to make the individual packaging inside a club pack available for resale by another retailer. For example, we have a 35 pack bottled water where both outer wrap and bottle label are required to be compliant. Thankfully, our production team at MBD are wizards at fitting all required information into the printable area of labels.


5. Finally, what’s the oddest compliance requirement you’ve seen?

Dietary Supplements / Vitamins require “Mode of administration:  Oral”

Even for Chewable vitamin C….