Contemporary labels for contemporary packages

Shaun Weston16 Aug 2011

Claire Phoenix interviews Reinhard Streit, sales director Europe for CCL Label.

Print-on-demand label presses offer more flexibility, but are apparently around 30% more costly than flexographic printing. What is your view of Flexographic Computer to Plate (CTP) over Computer to Film (CTF) processes? And your view of CDI - Digital Flexo Plate imagers?

Reinhard Streit: CCL Label, with its global set-up, can offer every type of printing technology to meet customer demand. We suggest the best package depending on customers' print requirements, substrate alternatives and the required visual effect. Printing technologies from CTP to CTF, combination or gravure print are common and available from CCL on every continent.

What do you see as the best way for beverage brands to protect their reputation?

Streit: The label itself plays a very important role in giving the product a face and brand identity. Successful branding supported by contemporary design is developed through our R&D and Innovation Department using tailor-made labelling solutions.

Using codes to link to iPhone apps has been growing in popularity over the last few years. How do you view these?

Streit: Printed codes, Unicodes or scrambled text messages are indeed increasing and supporting dedicated promotions in the soft drinks industry by attracting consumers at point of sale. Special effects such as printed holograms or 3D effects can also increase share within a target group.

Does the attractive presentation of pressure-sensitive transparent labels have a downside with restrictions to recycling and sustainability?

Streit: In fact, it's exactly the opposite – in direct comparison to standard wet glue labels. CCL was the first company to look into a more sustainable approach and 'saving money with Wash Off labels' for returnable bottles isn't just a PR phrase.

It has been shown that by using more efficient production processes (and saving on chemicals and additives) can increase the shelf life of bottle washer caustic by up to 12 times per year. CCL uses ink and adhesive encapsulated into the label that doesn't pollute caustic during the wash process. Besides the visual improvements, these technical environmental improvements offer financial savings, too.

What are the most popular labels for non-alcoholic beverages currently?

Streit: Clearly, there's a trend to clear, high-transparent labels. Since our Wash Off labels were commercialised, brand owners have followed the trend in applying labels for one way and returnable bottles based on an appearance which simply isn't possible with wet glue.

Strong interest has been noted in the water and soft drinks industry, as well as certain beer markets. We have seen many successful international brand developments and label redesigns using the premium effect of transparent pressure-sensitive labels, for one way and returnable bottles.

Film thicknesses have been reducing dramatically when it comes to shrink-sleeve labels. What do you see as the optimal thickness?

Streit: Downgauging and reducing material thickness is continual but can be only achieved through strong cooperation with the labelling machine supplier. CCL leads such development with the aim of transferring these cost optimisations into real-life applications.

There seems to be a growing trend for use of metallic finishes, presumably at some cost. Do you see this continuing to grow or being replaced by something else?

Streit: Metallic effects are fashionable, and with our suppliers we can offer these advanced technologies without any dramatic cost increase. Due to the fact that we offer all printing technologies, from digital to combination cold/hot foil and HGM 'HighGlossMetallic' gravure, we can provide the best package at the right price.

For you, what is the big issue in the label industry right now?

Streit: Seriously, the unstable raw material price situation.

Where do you see progress being made over the next five years?

Streit: We see the trend to a more 'environmentally sustainable behaviour' in certain countries, which we absolutely appreciate. We already have products to support such initiatives and are constantly developing such contemporary labelling solutions.

Claire Phoenix is managing editor of Beverage Innovation magazine. Subscribe here.