Ask These Three Questions to Overcome Cold Storage Warehouse Labeling Challenges

Online Grocery Shopping Feeds Demand for Cold Storage

As more consumers turn to food delivery services like Amazon Fresh and Peapod by Giant for their groceries, demand for cold storage warehouses in the United States is on the rise. Almost 2% of groceries are bought online today, but that’s expected to explode to 13% over the next 5 years.

The United States will need 100 million square feet of new cold storage and freezer warehouse space to keep pace with the additional $100 billion in annual grocery sales that will be conducted online by 2022. Private equity firms are betting on this boom, as two dozen companies have invested in the space. In fact, two firms alone have acquired 60% of the sector in the United States and Canada.

Demand for cold storage warehouses is expected to grow dramatically over the next five years, thanks in large part to a rise in online grocery shopping.

ID Label Inc. Logo“If you’re labeling or relabeling a facility that’s currently operating in sub-zero temperatures, you’ll want to make sure the label’s adhesive is suitable for application in that environment.”

– Gregg Schiltz, ID Label

workers in a warehouse freezer

Cold storage facilities have unique labeling requirements not found in a traditional warehouse.

Labeling Cold Storage Facilities Has Unique Challenges

The number of cold storage facilities is expanding in gateway markets such as Los Angeles and New York and in leading food-production states like California, Washington, Florida, Texas and Wisconsin. The shift to e-commerce grocery shopping will add to this growth and spur changes in inventory management and distribution patterns.

These facilities require reliable barcode labels to support their cold storage environments. But these facilities face labeling challenges not typically found in a traditional warehouse.

“Using poorly constructed labels – perhaps in hopes of minimizing costs – can end up being the most expensive option if your freezer storage labels quickly curl, crack or encounter frost build up,” said Gregg Schiltz, ID Label’s chief operating officer.

For professionals starting in the cold storage space, first answer these three questions to help overcome label challenges in a cold storage facility.

1. How Will the Labels Perform in Freezers?

In today’s cold and freezer storage environments, moisture and frost build-up can affect label performance and lead to failed scans.

“Frost can build up between magnet rack labels and beams, increasing the chances of the label falling or cracking when knocked to the ground,” Schiltz said.

Facilities in humid environments without any air conditioning outside of the freezer area are particularly vulnerable to failed label performance due to moisture and frost build-up.

To address this cold storage challenge, it is important to understand the operating temperatures and facility environment to ensure the right labels are selected to keep operations running smoothly.

2D vertical warehouse location label
warehouse label installer on scissor lift

Label adhesives vary. Some are designed for cold storage but require application at ambient temperatures for optimal bonding.

2. At What Temperature Will Labels Be Applied?

The temperature of the surface at the time of application can have an impact on which labels should be used.

“If the facility is new and the freezer area temperature has not yet been drawn down to its service temperature, there are multiple labeling and adhesive options available,” Schiltz said. “But if you’re labeling or relabeling a facility that’s currently operating in sub-zero temperatures, you’ll want to make sure the label’s adhesive is suitable for application in that environment.”

It is also important to consider the surface on which the labels will be applied. Many adhesives will bond well with painted metal, powder coatings, plastics and other surfaces. For upright warehouse racks with “teardrop” holes, magnetic labels are often the best choice.

When labels are applied, surfaces should be clean and dry, free of moisture and frost for the strongest bond possible.

3. Magnet vs. Adhesive-Backed Labels—What’s Better for My Operation?

Choosing whether you should use a magnet or adhesive-backed label is another challenging factor that is based on a variety of different cold storage warehouse conditions.

Labels constructed with pressure-sensitive film and freezer-grade adhesives – with a protective laminate coating – deliver strong performance in cold conditions.

“They’re resistant to moisture, chemicals and abrasions,” Schiltz said. “And they can perform in temperatures as low as negative 65 degrees.”

Magnetic rack labels are durable, scan reliably and are easy to install and move – especially in live facilities where the temperature has been reduced. While magnet warehouse labels are typically more costly than adhesive rack labels, they offer a higher return on investment.

magnetic warehouse rack location labels

What’s Right for Your Environment?

Choosing the right labels for your cold storage warehouse environment can seem like a daunting task. ID Label has extensive experience working with many of the leading cold storage warehouse operators. We’ll walk you through your options and custom-manufacture the best solution.

You can also count on ID Label’s expert installation services and complete project management abilities to get your warehouse labels set up in a timely and efficient manner.

Guide to Warehouse Freezer Labels thumbnail

Download: Buyer’s Guide to Warehouse Freezer Labels

Finding the most effective labeling option for your freezer storage needs can be a challenge. Download our free buyer’s guide to learn more. We include a convenient grid comparing a variety of label material options and performance factors.

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The ID Label Advantage

To learn more about your warehouse cold storage label choices and to request samples for testing in your environment, contact ID Label today.

ID Label manufactures extremely durable warehouse rack and bin location labels. Our materials have been tested and used in warehouse operations around the globe.

We also provide warehouse signage and turnkey nationwide installation services to provide a complete solution to our many clients who rely on us for all their warehousing needs.

Interested in learning more? Contact us today.