What Do Those Weird Color Dots On Your Food Packaging Mean?

What Do Those Weird Color Dots On Your Food Packaging Mean?

No matter what products you frequently buy at the grocery store each week, you have probably come across a product more than once that has those small, different colored dots on the bottom of the bag or can. Along with all of the other information you will find on a food product packaging, these colored dots have something to say as well. These small blotches of color are actually called ‘printer’s color blocks’ or sometimes they are referred to as ‘process control patches’. Basically, these dots are used by the printer or the packaging. The dots are a quality control of sorts, to make sure that the packaging was printed correctly and according to specifications.

What Do Those Weird Color Dots On Your Food Packaging Mean?

For The Printer
These printer’s color blocks are a swatch of hues that are used on packaging images. Think of this as a master key of sorts. Once a package has been printed according to these colors, the printer will check that the packaging coincides with the master key. Just like a home printer or office printer, sometimes ink can run low, sometimes the color can be off a bit or sometimes the color can even be too much, making the shade look too dark. Since computers often control the process of creating these packages, this is a way for the printer as a human to check what they are making before it is sent away to a store or distributor.

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Color Choices
To confirm this fact, think about a product you often purchase. Maybe a bag of Lays Potato Chips is often found in your cart. The bag is classically yellow. If you check your bag you have at home or in your cart at the store, you will find there is a yellow color dot on the back, and on the bottom of the bag. The color should be exactly the same as the one used for the packaging. Depending on the product, you might see a couple dots reflecting different shades or hues of the color.

Other Uses
There are instances when there are small, colored dots on food packaging and they mean something else. They can actually show a packaging manufacturer where to cut the product or where to line something up.

False Information
There have been rumors about what these colored dots mean, over the years. Some people have said that black means the product is GMO, green means its organic, and so on. In actuality, there is not a color coded system for any of these details.

Don’t be alarmed, there are certain manufacturers that actually make sure these color dots are cut off from the product before it is sent to the shelves. It really is just a matter of preference. For the most part, you can ignore the printer’s color blocks and leave it up to the professional to check the item. There is no real purpose for the consumer.