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The Newest Trends in Beverage Labeling

Demand is higher than ever for visually appealing and durable beverage labels. There are many types of drinks and among those are categories such as low-calorie, energy boosting, sugar-free and vitamin and mineral enhanced.  Also among the different drink types (i.e. Tea, water, soda, milk, energy drinks, juice, etc.) there are numerous brands and companies competing to create the best labels and packaging for their beverage.

One of the most competitive markets in the beverage industry is beer. The beer market is highly competitive and is constantly growing in popularity; an industry estimated to be valued at 405.9 billion dollars.  The largest beer producing region is Europe, but Asia is slowly becoming a force in the beer market. In an industry of such monumental size, advertising plays a key role. The labeling of these beverages can make a huge difference. The main focus lands on the decoration of the bottles themselves and that includes more variety in the type of labels being used. Companies are not restricted to using the traditional wet glue-applied paper labels anymore.  There are new, inventive and unique ways to label a bottle.  These include heat shrink sleeve labels, pressure-sensitive labels, and glue-applied wrap-around labels.

As a company that focuses on specialized substrates, MGX has a keen knowledge of the beverage labeling market. We have products such as a 60# Wet Strength Solar White paper which is ideal for wine labels with its laid finish, a 50# Wet Strength Dairy label, engineered to withstand high moisture environments, and even a Rainbow Holographic Paper which can provide an opportunity to label beverages in a unique way.  An ever-present concern for labelers and brands is performance; how a product withstands varying situations and conditions. It must look great sitting on a shelf, be able to overcome the stress of the labeling and production process, hold up to cool, damp warehouse conditions, and be durable enough to withstand sitting in a consumer’s cooler surrounded by ice and water for hours on end.

Eco-friendly options have become increasingly important in all markets. In the past, environmentally friendly labels have not been able to hold up to the same conditions as well as traditional facestocks. Today, however, products are able to meet the same standards for strength and durability while still maintaining their environmental sustainability. MGX offers a few sustainable beverage label options including a 100% Recycled Ultra White Wine Label and a vellum finish, wet strength, high quality label paper made from 30% post-consumer waste.  We also have a brand new environmentally friendly wood label stock that is being introduced.  The wood is 100% natural birch or cherry wood harvested from certified sustainably managed forest and is never chemically processed, steam heated, or sanded. As a bonus, the adhesive used with this wood veneer is non-ozone depleting. This is an exciting new product that will provide sustainability along with many new application options for a completely different look and feel!

In addition to being eco-friendly, one of the biggest challenges of the beverage market is finding the right balance between a stock and an adhesive. Pairing a substrate with an incompatible adhesive has the potential to ruin the entire label. Doing this can create problems in the application process but it can also make the label weak and unreliable. Material selection plays a huge role, especially for breweries, who tend to label their bottles while they are cold and wet.  This means that the substrate and adhesive they choose must be engineered to withstand those conditions. With wineries and water companies, this is less of an issue because they typically label their bottles when they are dry and at room temperature.

It is important for the label company to learn as much about the application process as possible for the product they are working with. It is imperative to know the type of machinery that will be used, the environmental conditions, and to do test runs and material trials before proceeding with the entire process. The final product should look clean and meet or exceed the standards of the manufacturer.

While having a crisp and clean product is important, it is also important for the product to have the look and feel that consumers as well as brands are asking for.  Recently popular trends include clear labels and pressure sensitive labels. Clear label stocks have become very popular and in order to make the label look completely clear, choosing the right adhesive is very important. Some adhesives cloud up when exposed to moisture so it’s important to choose an adhesive that works best for each individual application. Pressure sensitive labels are also growing in popularity, including white and metalized film substrates. Masterpiece Graphix offers options for both clear and pressure sensitive stocks, which include a Bright Silver Metalized Paper, perfect for attention-grabbing labels. This stock is FDA approved and it adheres well to many materials such as glass, polypropylene, and stainless steel.

The beverage industry is seeing a growing trend of dimensional printing as well. Consumers are more willing to buy a product that grabs their attention. The visual appeal of a product can be greatly increased by adding graphics that have more depth.  That product will stand out to a customer as they are walking down store aisles. Personalization is also becoming important. A company that can personalize labels for a individual events has huge potential. Customers want to have personalized labels for all occasions from hand outs at huge corporate events to memorabilia at weddings.

The beverage label market is continually growing and water bottles are close to reaching their peak, while markets such as energy drinks, beer, soda, and liquor remain a huge part of the labeling industry. Manufacturers are constantly looking for new ways to present their products and create new identities for their brand. This demand forces new technologies to be continually develop and expand. The beverage label market will not be disappearing any time in the near future so it is important for companies to have the best stocks paired with the right adhesives to create new looks and application opportunities throughout the beverage market.

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