The Multiple Stages of Label & Packaging Markets

There is huge diversity and variety in the label and packaging market. From newspaper to craft beer and distilleries to CBD oil. And all of them are viable markets. These markets can be divided into three categories:

  1. Traditional: Newspaper labels
  2. Adolescent: Craft Beer and Distilleries
  3. Emerging: CBD Oil & homeopathic products

Each one of these markets represents a progression within the label and packaging industry. Smart firms are recognizing the need to diversify and accommodate the diverse needs of multiple industries/clients.

While newspapers subscriptions are in decline nation-wide, they still provide a source of revenue and production for label companies. They continue to be a primary marketing option for various industries, products and services. Holiday ads, inserts and front page labels are still in demand. The Thanksgiving Day newspaper with Black Friday ads usually leads the pack in demand. While this traditional revenue stream is in decline it is not dead. Companies, services and manufacturers still use newspapers as an advertising stream. Be aware of opportunities with this proven industry while others are jumping ship to the next “big thing”.

Craft beer and craft distilleries offer incredible opportunities for label and printing companies to produce labels that stick despite multiple environmental factors like extreme temperatures, liquid contact and other variables affecting label adhesion and performance. New digital printing technology enables smaller, high quality labels with definition and detail that can perform in challenging conditions.

CBD oil and other products is an emerging market that is just beyond infancy. The industry is still taking baby steps in regard to research, production, packaging and regulatory agencies. CBD oil specifically needs the right label because the carrier oils can saturate the label over time and ruin a great design. Oils like avocado, olive and palm help the body process the extract power which is diluted in the oil. The oils enhance the product and allow the CBD to bond with the fat molecules within the oil. Any oil is messy and who doesn’t have a bottle in their pantry, or garage that has a label that has been mutilated over time?

At Century Printing and Packaging we have designed a single flap label that peels away and provides the important label information. The ability to provide instructions and any regulatory requirements adds value of additional space on a small package. The label is printed on white polypropylene film and laminate. The laminate coated film stays on through the life of the bottle so important dosing information will last through the product life usage.

Ben Waldrop
President
Century Printing & Packaging
Greer, SC 29651
800.344.7509

3 Different Proofs: Press, Digital & PDF

Printing proofs are used to insure accuracy in commercial printing applications. There are different reasons to have press, digital or pdf proof. It depends upon the type of label/package and printing application you desire. Your specific product application, point of sale, and purpose will help determine the proof you use.

A press proof is higher quality, but more expensive because of setup time and labor. Dies are selected and image plates are loaded onto the press and printed on the material the actual job surface that will be used for the entire run. The press operator must wait upon the client to approve the proof. Once approved the operator can run the order. However, if changes are made by the client the work returns to the prepress department where new plates are run to accommodate the changes. Meanwhile the press is sitting idle and the client is paying for the down time which increases the total cost of the project. Changes at the press proof stage are costly. A big advantage of the press proof is that it is printed on the actual material of your package or label so you can gauge a point of sale look and feel from it. Press proofs are great for offering new products that need a splash at the point of sale to stand out from the competition.

Digital proofs are ideal for smaller runs because the turnaround time is quicker. Digital proofs don’t require the intense setup and preparation of press proofs that require plates and dyes. The industry refers to digital proofs as GMG proofs. The digital proof is not the press so it is not made of the same material. It is a GMG laminate whereas the press proof is actual product/label surface material. Digital proofs are extremely color accurate. The digital proof is fingerprinted to the press so the color profile is very accurate. The digital proof, like the press proof, is a physical proof that has to be sent to the client, or their agent for approval. This is usually done via UPS/FedEx and upon client approval the proof returns to the press operator to use for accurate color matching.

A PDF proof is the fastest and economical way to proof a print file before going to press. The beauty of a PDF is that it can be viewed across various platforms. However, there can be many color variations on the original from the printer because of the platform, software and monitor being used to view, or print it.

If color accuracy is critical you will want more than a PDF proof. PDF’s have expedited the proof process because of their universal availability and short turn around.

Many label printing and packaging vendors produce a digital proof of all of their work for their own files and purposes. The experienced companies will be able to replicate color and design with very little down time, or change orders in regard to the proof. Customers should ask for examples/samples of various proofs the company has run for other companies with similar applications. This will provide a good picture of what this company is capable of doing and it will save the manufacturer, or customer time and money.

Ben Waldrop
President
Century Printing & Packaging
Greer, SC 29651
800.344.7509

Craft Beer Labels & Packaging: Why You Need to Stand Out Now

An out of town attorney trying a case in an old courthouse for the first time made several observations about the grand old building while representing his client. After a break in the proceedings the judge invited the well-known lawyer and newcomer to see him in his chambers. He greeted the attorney and asked him how he liked the historic courthouse. The attorney told him it was a beautiful old specimen, but it needed work. The judge asked him what was wrong. The highly respected lawyer noted the warped wooden floors, a loose banister, unsightly restrooms, an old HVAC system that was struggling, the sound system was over 25 years old, and he noted the difficulty for those with disabilities entering the building and struggling to get to the upstairs courtrooms.

The judge told the newcomer he had no idea. The attorney responded that we all get comfortable until a new pair of eyes come to our home and observe things that nostalgic natives don’t ever notice because they’ve grown accustomed to them. The judge took out a legal pad and wrote down the observations and asked the lawyer to offer more while he was in town so he could send them to the town council. Packaging is the same! You can think your product label, or package is appealing, but at the end of the day it may just be that old courthouse and walks by it because they grew accustomed to it.

In a recent article for the Brewers Association Justin Kendall quotes its chief economic officer:

“In a world of intense competition, marketing and branding is more important than ever,” said Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s chief economist. Speaking at the Beer Marketing and Tourism Conference last week in St. Petersburg, Florida, Watson also addressed changing consumer habits around beer tourism as part of the growing need to differentiate.

According to Watson, an average of two breweries open daily, and there are now 11,500 brewery permits filed with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which he said has historically been a strong indicator of the brewery count over the next two years.

“Anyone who thinks this explosion in the number of breweries is going to end sometime soon, I think they’re deluding themselves,” he said. “It’s going to end at some point, but most of the data suggests we’re not there yet and that there are a lot of breweries going to open. And some of these are second locations.”

There are approximately 8,000 breweries in America and that number keeps growing every day.

As more and more craft beer products hit the market consumers are flooded with choices. Of course you need to have a very special tasting product to create demand, but equally important is how you dress your beer. The days of having a lazy beer label, or packaging are over. The competition is too steep and with the advent of more wineries and craft distillers the market share is shrinking.

How do you plan to stand out among the competition? It’s critical that you have a great label and packaging design, but beyond that you’ve got to have one that performs. You can’t afford to have a great label that slides off the bottle in cold and wet environments. Nor can you tolerate a carton that bleeds colors inside a beer cooler just when you need it to shine for the consumer.

Now more than ever it’s important for craft brewers to have catchy, creative designed labels that attract consumers and perform whether it’s cans, 6-pack packaging, or bottles. Your label can set you apart from the competition or make you disappear into a sea competition. It’s incredibly important that you engage a label printer and packaging company that understands the industry and the importance of shelf appeal and market performance. It’s not a one size fits all market anymore.

At Century Printing and Packaging we have been answering the call for craft breweries and distilleries in terms of high performance labels and packaging. We are investing in the industry and learning all we can about your printing and packaging needs. Contact us today!

Ben Waldrop
President
Century Printing & Packaging
Greer, SC 29651
800.344.7509

Barrier Films

Barrier films allow a very diverse group of materials to be packaged directly in the film. Food packaging is one of the biggest product categories using barrier films. The application is fast while continuing to preserve the aesthetic appeal of the product.

One of the main concerns with using film in regard to food packaging is the oxygen transfer rate. Most food products need limited oxygen exposure so they require a high barrier film. The (OTR) oxygen transfer rate is the measurement of oxygen that can pass through the film. Certain foods spoil faster when exposed to oxygen during shelf life. Other considerations like odor control, ultraviolet and moisture exposure help determine the gauge and clarity of the film to be used. Certain light can color a food if it is not using the right barrier film. Food products have specific lamination requirements and standards to meet. Among the barrier films used in food packaging:

  • EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol film)
  • PET (polyester film) high performance used as a laminate substrate
  • KPET is PET film coated with a soft saran laminate (strong odor control)
  • Nylon (designed for microwave/cooking)
  • LLDPE (linear low-density polyethylene) ideal for fresh produce
  • Polypropylene (moisture control and high OTR) for food

There is a wide variety of barrier films available in the food packaging industry depending upon your product needs, or limitations. The demand for barrier films is only going to increase given the versatility and variety of applications within the film industry. High barrier film is also used for household chemicals and nutraceutical products. Barrier film is a vital part of modern-day packaging and its use is increasing.

Having the right barrier film for a food product, nutraceutical, or non-food product is essential. Barrier film offers manufacturers incredible options. At Century Printing and Packaging we have extensive experience using barrier film with our customers.

Ben Waldrop
President
Century Printing & Packaging
Greer, SC 29651
800.344.7509

Compostable Packaging

Companies with single serve plastic products are looking for options regarding recyclable materials.

Composting has become an attractive option according to Adele Peters of Fast Company magazine: “As companies struggle to deal with the challenge of single-use packaging, compostable options are becoming more common, and consumers might consider it greenwashing if they knew that the packaging won’t ever actually be composted. The system, though, is beginning to change, including new innovations in materials. “These are solvable problems, not inherent problems,” says Rhodes Yepsen, executive director of the nonprofit Biodegradable Products Institute. If the system can be fixed—just like the broken recycling system needs to be fixed—it can be one piece of solving the bigger problem of growing trash. It’s not the only solution. Yepsen says that it makes sense to start by reducing packaging and prioritizing reusable products, and then design whatever’s left to be recyclable or compostable depending on the application. But compostable packaging makes particular sense for food; if both food and food packaging can be composted together, it could also help keep more food out of landfills, where it’s a major source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.”

K-Cups, Nespresso, and Protein Pack producers realize that future production will need to include sustainable, viable compost/recycling options. These products will need sustainable packaging and printing options. You can print on plastic, but if it is not recyclable, or compostable it will yield a short shelf life and low return. Today’s consumers are more focused on the environment and recycling than in the past. They want products that are more environmentally friendly. Just because a product container is marked recyclable doesn’t mean it is environmentally friendly.

Future packaging is going to have to be distinguishable from the existing options. Consumers are going to have to be convinced that the product is causing zero landfill options. Manufacturers need printing and packaging vendors that can produce the results they are looking for like environmentally friendly and compostable containers.

We are learning more and more every day about the options available for environmentally friendly manufacturers and packaging companies. Adele Peters again: “PepsiCo aims to make all of its packaging recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable by 2025 to help with its climate goals.” Companies across America are paying attention to the environment and consumers’ please for more friendly containers and packaging.

At Century Printing and Packaging, we support and affirm environmental friendly resources and products. We use water based inks and have access to FSC certified papers and compostable films. We provide labels and print packaging for a variety of products and we are eager to explore compostable and recyclable product options with our clients. Contact us today to discuss your unique printing and packaging needs.

Ben Waldrop
President
Century Printing & Packaging
Greer, SC 29651
800.344.7509