FRUIT LABELS
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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
Updated: 23 March 2010

Compiled by Roger Harris  ©1999-2010
E-mail: fruitlabels@nationalfinder.com


 
Copyright Declaration

Copyright [©] in the designs of the fruit labels displayed on this web-site belongs to the respective owners. Where marks such as Registered Trade Mark [®], Trade Mark [TM], Registered Mark [RM] or Marca Registrada [MR] appear on a label these refer to the owners of the brand.


 

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.


A golden [honey] mango from Pakistan adorned with multi-coloured tinsel which is held in place by the Viva label. The fruit is about 5 inches long.

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:

  1. vertical axis: Dole
  2. horizontal axis: Agribest, Ahmed Exotic, Banacol, BBC Royal, Braeburn, Suprema,
  3. both axes: Geest Windwards,

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 Crčte 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.

la-3-tn.jpg
fruit wrapper
Some types of fruit, eg. oranges, clementines and lemons, are individually wrapped in a light tissue paper often with a distinctive logo. These fruit wrappers form a separate category which I have not investigated beyond collecting a number of them. To my amusement some prickly pears purchased in 1999 were individually wrapped in tissue paper bearing a representation of the famed 'Mona Lisa.' The enigmatic lady is shown holding what looks like a large orange. Her headgear resembles a burnoose. A rough empiric rule suggests to me that a fruit which is wrapped in a tissue paper will not bear a label.

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:

  1. Text: the words, numbers and special characters on the label
  2. Graphic: a description of a picture or motif
  3. Fruit: the fruit type on which the label was found
  4. Colours: {colours} on background colour.

  5. 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.
  6. Shape: landscape = width is greater than height, portrait = height is greater than width
  7. Dimensions: width and height in millimeters. Until February 2000 all measurements were made with a plastic ruler which was calibrated in millimeters. Now I am using a dial caliper which reads to 0.1mm.
  8. Backing: ie. the medium upon which the label is printed: opaque or transparent plastic film (food-grade polyethylene), paper, paper plus metallic foil laminate.
  9. Acquired: the approximate date when I first acquired a label. I started collecting fruit labels in about June 1998. The display on my Internet web-site of the alphabetical lists (without images) started in May 1999. The display of label images began in July 1999 shortly after I bought a scanner.


 

Text description fields:
These comprise the words, numbers and special characters which appear on the label.

  1. [company name]
  2. [brand name] [® Registered Trade Mark] [™ Trade Mark]
  3. [fruit name] [fruit number #nnnn]
  4. [country of origin]
  5. [comment, eg. sweet and juicy]


 

Alphabetisation:
Arranging the labels in order so that a particular label might easily be found posed a problem. Unlike heraldic blazon which offers a standardised if lengthy method of description, there appears to be no similar description method for fruit labels. Reliance upon textual descriptions of colours, motifs and designs seemed very likely to lead to verbose, ambiguous sentences which would not aid the retrieval process.

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:

  1. [company name]
  2. [brand name] [® Registered Trade Mark] [™ Trade Mark]
  3. [fruit name]
  4. [fruit number #nnnn]
  5. [country of origin]
  6. [comment, eg. sweet and juicy]

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.


 

Legal marks:
1.. © Copyright
2.. ® Registered Trade Mark
3.. ™ Trade Mark
4.. RMRegistered Mark
5.. MRMarca Registrada


 

Label sizes:
Depending upon the size of your computer screen, the labels are likely to be displayed much larger than actual size. All the labels have been enlarged by the same amount except for some unusually wide labels, eg. Joam Parito, where the enlarged image has been too wide to fit into the allocated space. Such images have been reduced in size (height and width) by between 10% and 50% in comparison to the screen images of other labels. Such images bear a legend such as "reduced to 70%." The actual measurements in millimeters for each label are shown. The size of each image is specified in HTML in pixels. Measurements in millimeters are converted to pixels as follows: 10mm=61.8pixels, rounded to the nearest pixel.


 

Handling labels
Fruit labels often get battered on their journey from packing shed to the consumer. Usually the labels may be removed easily although I do not recommend using the fingernails. I use a small pocket knife which has a blade about 3.5cm long. The blade may be slid between the label and the surface of the fruit and then used to lift the label off. Sometimes moisture from the fruit will soften a paper label causing it to tear upon removal. If this seems likely to happen then I cut the label plus the skin and some underlying flesh away from the fruit. This piece is then allowed to dry for several hours. Removal is then easy and free of damage. The knife is also useful, as a kind of spatula, for holding the label and for positioning it on a page.

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
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Fruit labels A-Z
LABELS WITH LOGOS
NO LETTERS, NO NUMBERS
LABELS WITH NUMBERS
NO LETTERS
A B
C D E F G H I J
K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z

There is a full menu at the top and bottom of each page.

 
More than 1,000 label images are listed and the total amount of image data exceeds 6.9 MBytes.

In order to divide the downloading time into manageable units the labels are presented in separate files. Each file contains two menus, one at the beginning and the other at the end, so that you can access any image file without returning to this page.

The downloading time for the largest file, C, assuming an effective modem transmission speed of about 40 Kbits/sec, should be about 3.5 minutes. About 90% of the image files are smaller than 10 KBytes so that you should be able to look at some labels whilst the remainder are being downloaded. However fast your modem might be, the effective modem transmission speed will always be determined by the slowest link between it and the remote file server.

If you are using a PC then run the SYSMON program to watch the bps rates vary during transmission. Click on START/Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Monitor. You will need to configure the program to display modem received/sent speeds. Click on Edit/Add item. The modem options will only be displayed when on-line.


 

Acknowledgements
I am grateful to the following (in approximate date order, the latest at the top) for providing labels or scanned images which I had not previously seen and for information:

  1. Ven Burbank
  2. Stig Zetterkvist
  3. Jeff Hewitt
  4. The CMET Group: Kevin Porter, Antony Davis, Bob Curry, Chad Willans, Edwin Downing, Malcolm Jeffrey, Nigel Jones and Shirley Thomson.
  5. O. Parkes
  6. Luis Fernández, Reyes Gutiérrez, S.L.
  7. Joan Martyr
  8. Doug Garn
  9. Eve Meyer
  10. Herbie Whyte
  11. Renáta Králová
  12. Ros Clayton
  13. Kai Sulin of Finland for information about Product Look-Up numbers (PLU). His fruit label collection exceeds 1,300 examples. E-mail: kai.sulin@compart.fi.
  14. Steve Lamoureux
  15. Edwin Wyndham-Taylor and Nigel Brinsmead-Williams
  16. Peter Freer, Peter Lumsden and Paul Yadie from North London Action For The Homeless
  17. David Millán Asenjo
  18. Judith Fox
  19. Roberto Back of Chile who collects bubblegum and chewing gum wrappers. E-mail: dr.back@usa.net. Web-site: http://www.geocities.com/drback_cl
  20. José Chanivet of Spain who collects telephone cards and chess memorabilia. E-mail: jchanivet@interbook.net
  21. Gibbers of Holloway, London N7, green-grocers, who, through their generous weekly donations of fresh fruit and vegetables to North London Action For The Homeless, provided new labels and many duplicates.

 
 

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