What's That Label Doing For You? Top Trends In Label Manufacturing

2 January 2015
 Categories: , Articles

While you may not give much thought to how the label on your favorite little black dress or on that can of tuna fish are working for you, the truth is that labels serve a number of distinct purposes. And while label manufacturing seems fairly straightforward, the industry is constantly evolving to provide better options for the consumer. In fact, a whopping 70 percent of companies report being in a state of flux when it comes to changes related to labels, marking or coding. Here's a closer look at trends sweeping the label manufacturing industry.

1. Sustainability Matters

Sustainability is a buzzword of the 21st century, and nearly 60 percent of companies report the integration of sustainability measures into their overall corporate strategies. The label manufacturing industry is far from immune.

In fact, 43 percent of manufacturers report attempts to minimize label waste by reducing material thickness. This involves seeking out stronger materials that can prevent breakage, as well as liner-less labels, which can help reduce waste in landfills by 60 percent.  

While lack of equipment has sometimes stood in the way of many companies seeking to adopt this technology, the future will likely see more and more companies making the switch.

2. Increased Functionality

The rise of the digital age also means the rise of consumer awareness: today's consumers not only have greater access than ever to information, they refuse to settle for anything less. In many cases, this means that the information contained on the typical label may meet fulfill rising consumer demand. The response from the label manufacturing industry? Creative ways to deliver a most expansive printing surface.

Shrink sleeves offer several advantages, including the ability to conform to unusual shapes and/or 360 degree surfaces. This not only promotes consumer awareness, but also increases in-store shelf impact. Companies looking to amp up their brand presence will increasingly look to shrink sleeve solutions to increase their market share.

Extended labels, in the form of fold-out and peel-back models, are also transforming the industry. Even the smallest containers can offer more information with no sacrifice of package shape or size.

Peel-off labels deliver a different advantage: helping reach and retain consumers. If you've ever enjoyed a particularly satisfying bottle of wine or frozen dinner but later forgotten the brand name, peel-off labels offer a simple solution.

Thermochromatic ink, meanwhile, offers a different kind of functionality. Ever wondered if that container of yogurt was still good but had difficulty tracking down the expiration date? This technique uses a color-changing dye to indicate changes in temperature which can help delineate quality with a mere glance.

Enhanced Safety

Counterfeited products pose a significant threat to consumers, and this is far from lost on label manufacturing industry innovators. New efforts are focused on preventing counterfeiting, which runs rampant in a number of industries, including everywhere from the health and beauty market to pharmaceuticals.

Advancements in serialization technology means that manufacturers can more easily track and trace data related to products as they move through the entire supply cycle.  In other words, if a product is tainted or recalled, it can be identified and located with enhanced speed and accuracy thanks to sophisticated barcoding methods.

Labels will also continue to evolve when it comes to tamper-proof and anti-counterfeiting methods which make threats to the consumer easier to recognize and prevent.

While these changes represent a cost to most product manufacturers,  the ultimate goal is to satisfy consumers by offering not just labels, but access to information.  So the next time you look at a product label, don't just think of it as printed words on a paper, but as a creative solution to your consumer needs.