The World of Fruit Labels
The web's first and oldest fruit label site.
Founded as long ago as May 1999
Document URL: http://www.nationalfinder.com/fruitlabels/index.htm
Compiled by Roger Harris ©1999-2010
More than 1,000 fruit label images are displayed here for the purpose of providing reference information for my fellow fruit label collectors and for interested people generally. Fruit labels and their details are shown within a pale-yellow box. For the time being vegetable labels and their details are shown within a pale-green box. Fruit label collecting must surely rank as one the healthiest hobbies, just as long as you actually eat the fruit. In the United Kingdom and abroad there are many organisations which promote the eating of fruit as a valuable adjunct to a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Fruit labels, known as fruit stickers in the U.S.A., are not the same as 'Fruit Crate' labels. For some reason due perhaps to a tendency in American English to sometimes use inappropriate words to describe something, 'fruit crate labels' are referred to as fruit labels. Fruit crate labels are very much larger than fruit labels, typically about 9 inches (23cm) wide by 6 inches (16cm) high, and they had a different function; they were used to label boxes or crates which contained fruit and not the actual fruit. There are several web-sites devoted to the commercial sale of fruit crate labels. Links to some of these are provided on the links page. Somewhere on the web there may be fruit crate label sites which are non-commercial.
Fruit labels, in the context of this page, are used to label individual pieces of fruit. Probably grapes and cherries, for reasons of size, and coconuts, pineapples and jackfruit, because of their outer surface, will never be suitable for direct adhesive-type labelling. Durians seen in London's Chinatown had a stalk label. I also bought bunches of grapes with stalk labels (see Agribest, BOSFA Uvas, Cape, Cape Seedless, El Valle, El Ciruelo, Facchino, Prima Donna). Pineapples, for an example see Horizon Farms, have [swing] labels, ie. a light cardboard label attached to the spikey leaves with an elastic band.
The labels are typically oval, of landscape format and about 24 millimeters wide by 18 millimeters high in size. They frequently have a tab which is intended to make it easy to remove the label from the fruit. Some of the labels manufactured by Sinclair International incorporate their Tablift adhesive-free tabs (see the Del Monte Forelle label). Mostly the tabs are on the right-hand side of the label [relative to the text or design]. A smaller number have the tab at the top or the bottom. There are also a few labels with the tab on the left-hand side. When a label is being removed I expect people to align the tab with their hand regardless of the printing and I wonder whether left-handed labels come from left-handed designers. If you are such a person then I should be delighted to hear from you.
Orange labels are frequently in the shape of a leaf. These are arranged with the stalk on the left-hand side. So far (October 2000) I have encountered only one exception. It is the label for Filosofo where the stalk is at the right-hand side. The colouring of this label is rather muddy and the veins of the leaf are hard to discern. The Filosofo paper wrapper has a clearer image and it is on this that the veins, and hence the location of the stalk, may be seen.
Almost all tabs protrude from one end of the landscape oval label, ie. from the major axis. A recent (October 2000) series of labels (Dole Eureka, Dole Midnight, Dole Valencia) have no protruding tab and rely instead upon a printed triangle. Sol Azteca has a minor segment of a circle instead of a triangle.
If one ignores the tabs then most labels are perfectly symmetrical, both about the vertical and the horizontal axes. Most orange labels in the form of a leaf are slightly asymmetrical about both axes. Major asymmetry may be seen in the following, amongst others:
Oval labels are usually rendered with the major axis horizontal and the minor axis vertical. Exceptions with the axes at oblique angles include Gaia Golden and Carmel.
The labels are glued directly onto the surface of the fruit with a light adhesive which usually allows for their easy removal. However, the labels attached to a particular brand of pear tore away the underlying pear skin on removal. Some glues retain a tremendous strength after removal whilst others lose all their strength.
A notable exception is the inferior label glue used by two United Kingdom supermarket companies for their in-house-labelled produce: Safeway, on melons, and J. Sainsbury on dragon fruits. Peeling off one of their labels leaves large quantities of glue sticking to the fruit. The glue is difficult to remove from the fruit and even harder to remove from one's fingers. It is a thoroughly bad product.
Often after removing the label a thin layer of glue remains and it requires some effort and solvent to remove it. Since one may easily eat some of the adhering glue I wonder whether fruit label glues are subject to analysis for toxicity. Excessively sticky glue is used by Crète de Fontenay [apples].
A further inconvenience to fruit eaters and label collectors is that an increasing number of fruit labels incorporate cuts in the backing material so that the label tears when being removed. Cuts are used in adhesive price labels where it is intended to make removal and fraud difficult. Perhaps the cuts are to prevent thieves from fraudulently relabelling a high-priced fruit in the store with the label from a cheaper variety. It should be noted that the labels provide identification and billing information for shopkeepers and till/check-out operators. The cuts are mostly radial and a few oblique cuts have been noted.
As for the labels themselves, they are rather like postage stamps with words, numbers and pictures in various attractive colours. I wonder whether some standardised form of description, akin to heraldic blazon, will gradually emerge.
Also awaited is a generic name for fruit label collectors. In 2000 I wrote a letter to The Times newspaper and mentioned the absence of a generic name. About seven replies were published but none offered anything beyond humorous puns and quips. I had hoped that someone with an academic background in Latin or Greek might suggest a suitable term which combined the notions of agricultural produce, labelling and writing. In 2008, John Edwards of Liverpool suggested "fruxaffigology which not only incorporates the Latin for fruit and labelling but also manages to have a fruit – fig – within it!" Fruxa is a Moroccan-Arabic word meaning a type of round, tall basket used in carrying figs, mulberries, etc. Affi, presumably an abbreviation of affix, has the meaning of attachment. I suppose that a suitable term need not mirror its subject too closely so how about Fruxafixographologist? Not only will your family, friends and colleagues at work be thrilled to know someone with an 'ology comprising 19 letters but you should also gain high scores in Scrabble.
The labels vary in colour, printing and text. The text which appears on the labels is reproduced below with upper-case and lower-case usage intact. The labels bear text which is often arranged to satisfy the demands of design and symmetry. The text content varies because some labels state the names of the fruit and the country of origin and some do not. Others may specify a brand name and/or a fruit number whilst two proclaim merely a size, ie. 'small' or 'large.'
Label description fields:
For the moment, the colour names will refer only to simple names qualified where applicable by light, middle and dark as prefixes. I intend where possible to augment or replace these terms with standard colour names, eg. Pantone. Most of the labels are displayed against a white background. Where the colour at the edge of the label is pale or white then a contrasting background colour has been used.
Text description fields:
Almost all the labels bear text of some sort and I have used this text as the alphabetical sorting key. The labels are ranked in the order of the text description fields as described in the previous section:
Not all the text description fields appear on a label. If a particular field is not stated on the label then the contents of the next available field are used to determine the label's position in the alphabetical sequence. Numbers rank before letters as in the ASCII sequence but upper-case and lower-case are treated as being identical. Labels bearing neither numbers nor letters are placed at the beginning of the listing, ie. before letter A. Where names begin with initials, eg. A.L.G. Citrusdal, then the initials are treated as a word: ALG Citrusdal.
A crumpled label may be smoothed with a burnisher. I prefer to use a haematite burnisher such as is used by gilders and calligraphers rather than the type used for dry-transfer lettering. Both types are available from shops dealing in artists' materials. If you have neither then the convex surface of a highly polished teaspoon should suffice.
Very small details (eg. text, artwork, security cuts) may be read with a magnifier. I use a 8x lens and a 10x jewellers' loupe.
Fruit labels A-Z
There is a full menu at the top and bottom of each page.