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Labels for the best dressed products

Shelf appeal is a huge factor in consumer buying decisions and brand owners are spending money on creating high-impact labels. Emma Rowberry looks at decorative labelling and how labels enable products to stand out on shelf.   

Brand owners are focusing attention on creating high-impact graphics using a combination of printing with speciality inks, dual coatings, hot stamping, custom laminations, foiling and specialised adhesives for their labels. Added to this is the trend towards peel-and-read labels that provide space for more information than conventional label types. Other trends are towards no-label-look shrink sleeves and in-mould labels for durability.   

The process from making a sale to long-term product performance may depend on a product’s label and the technology used to produce it. Labels need to stand out on shelf, catch the eye of time-strapped consumers and convey brand values. They may also need to survive hostile environments while maintaining their structure, branding and product information.    

With labels, the only thing that isn’t changing is their widespread use.  

According to Harry Havenga, UPM Raflatac’s business segment manager – wine & beverage, there’s a demand for heightened service and support from label suppliers as we see shorter, more frequent bottling campaigns, and wineries providing short-notice periods when bottling new brands (see following article).  

With the increasing need for faster design and production turnaround, self-adhesive technology has proven to be more effective for newer, more sophisticated converting technologies, especially for intricate die-cutting.  

In many new product areas for both high- and low-volume projects, thin wall and barrier applications for in-mould labelling (IML) and in-mould decoration (IMD) are making a mark, particularly as they remove unnecessary processes and don’t hinder recycling.   

At AWA’s annual IMACON and IMDCON, being held in Chicago in October, Clare Goldsberry, Modern Plastics Worldwide, is addressing the complex topic of what it will take to bring IML and IMD into the mainstream packaging and product decoration markets. Another competitive technology, direct-to-product inkjet, has a likely future in product identification and decoration.

So how do labels define a product?

Whether consciously or subconsciously, consumers impart a certain value to the purchased product based on its appearance. Does it look appropriate for its price point? Does it continue to work as a qualifier after purchase? Does it reinforce the consumer’s decision to purchase and hold interest for the consumer to share it with others?

A label and package are crucial to reassuring consumers that they’ve made a good decision to purchase a product. It needs to continue working during consumption and reinforce the perception that the product is really good.

This feature focuses on what’s available for the best-dressed packs in this ever-evolving sector.

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