As visitors to the recent Brau Beviale global beer exhibition in Nürnberg, Germany, and Emballage in Paris saw for themselves, the label has become a key packaging element on the retail shelf that attracts the eye of the consumer at what Procter & Gamble describe as the ‘first moment of truth’ in the consumer’s purchasing process. As Rik Olthof explains, brand owners have less time to ‘sell’ their products from the retail shelf than before.
‘In 1981’, he says, ‘a consumer visit to a supermarket took 40 minutes. Today, the average is just 20 minutes. At the same time, the number of items on the shelf has quadrupled.’ AWA Alexander Watson Associates – international consultants specialising in packaging – have researched the beverage market in depth.
Says President & CEO Corey M Reardon: ‘Increased competition is making manufacturers focus on their branding and marketing. For both primary product labels and promotions, self-adhesive labelling has much to offer. The functional features it can deliver, such as adhesives for special purposes – for pasteurisation, ice bucket performance, long storage in damp conditions (essential for vintage wines), and wash-off capability for returnable bottles – are encouraging beverage retailers and brand owners to consider a change from traditional glue-applied labels, which still command over 50% of the beverage market.’
Mark Ruijgrok, Global Beer Director for self-adhesive labelstock manufacturers Avery Dennison, observes of the world’s leading brewers that ‘the top four companies not only have the volume business, but also the value business: the premium brands.’ Premium beers are a fashion market that must keep abreast of consumer preferences and aspirations, and their customers are increasingly global. “Thinking out of the bottle” is essential for brand owners seeking to win the war for customers, and the label is a perfect starting point’, Mark Ruijgrok adds.
The European self-adhesive label industry, represented by FINAT, the industry association, is actively participating in the Consumer Goods Forum’s Global Packaging Project, and spearheading industry sustainability initiatives, with a current focus on waste management and recycling of process waste such as the release liner, which is discarded once self-adhesive labels are applied. Practical options for recycling both paper and film liner now exist, but the challenge remains to kick-start aregular liner waste collection system from end-user companies, for whom liner waste remains a very small part of their overall waste packaging consumption.
‘Beverage packaging, both in terms of containers and labels, is diversifying, with bag-in-box, PET bottles, gable-top cartons, and even flexible pouches joining glass bottles and cans on the supermarket shelf. In such an arena, a flexible and infinitely variable medium such as a self-adhesive label must have a strong future’, concludes Mark Ruijgrok.
New trends in a self-adhesive labels