Read the full interview with Bob Williams as continued from the May machinery & equipment article on tamper evident packaging. Read that article here.

Food and Beverage Packaging: How important is tamper evident packaging for use in the food/ beverage markets?

Williams:When it comes to trends in the Food and Beverage sector, none is more important than food safety. A tamper-evident band on the outside of the cap or container provides a physical and visible confirmation to the consumer that the product inside has not been altered since leaving the production facility. The advantage of the tamper-evident band is that the consumer does not have to open the package to confirm that the contents are safe prior to purchase, or after they get home. As a result, the tamper-evident band can help increase consumer confidence in the product. A tamper evident band can also be printed, and/or incorporated into the sleeve label of the bottle or container, with an easy-to-open perforation feature to further communicate a marketing message.

FBP: Why do some companies choose shrink labeling over other labeling options?

Williams:There are a number of advantages to using a full-body sleeve to differentiate a product and grab a consumer’s attention:

o   First, there is the billboard effect.  Shrink sleeve labels cover the entire package and provide the brand manager with a 360-degree canvass on which to communicate a brand’s image, nutritional information or a product’s unique characteristics.

o   Then there is the impact of the film itself.  A shrink label conforms to the contours of a container.  No longer confined to a round or square-sided container, companies can deliver their products in fun and unique shaped containers to further stand-out from the competition.

o   Technology advances in resins are creating new films with brighter graphics and bolder colors than ever before, and with different finishes, i.e. shiny, or matte.  The result is a package that not only has enhanced shelf-appeal, but also feels different in your hand for a whole new experience.

Shrink sleeves also offer cost-savings and flexibility when it comes to labeling a product. 

o   When utilizing shrink sleeves, processors today can save money by purchasing “blank” bottles or cans and then applying shrink sleeves for a variety of short-runs, such as limited-time-only promotions, seasonal offerings, and new product introductions. 

o   By stocking rolls of shrink sleeves, processors can also respond more quickly to market shifts and opportunities, and reduce waste and lost production when a product or flavor loses popularity.

Finally, shrink sleeves offer significant sustainability advantages over other forms of labeling.

o   Shrink sleeves do not “stick” to the bottle or container, and can therefore be removed more easily during the recycling process.

o   As a result of recent advances in film manufacturing technology, sleeves are getting thinner, and using less material.  The amount of material in some sleeve labels today has been reduced by 30-50%.

o   And sleeve labels provide support to bottles and cans, allowing processors to further reduce the “weight” of the container itself. 

FBP: Is there any market that is using shrink sleeve labeling in a unique way?

Williams: Several growing markets are utilizing sleeve labeling technology today:

o   The craft beer industry is exploding and many breweries are utilizing cans and sleeves to take their products to market.

§  Aluminum cans have actually been shown to keep beer fresher longer, and by utilizing a full-body sleeve over a blank can, many craft breweries can produce a beer can that looks as good as a major brand for a fraction of the cost of a printed can.

§  The bright colors and graphics available with sleeve labels help today’s craft beers stand-out on the shelf with eye-catching graphics.

§  The breweries also like the flexibility of being able to stock different sleeve labels for small runs, promotions and new product introductions.

§  Sleeve labeling production lines can be an inexpensive investment to get started and then can be expanded gradually to meet a growing market.

·         A start-up sleeving production line can start with a manual sleeving operation and a shrink tunnel for less than $10,000. 

·         Then as volumes increase, and labor and quality become more important, an automatic sleever can easily be added to the line.

o   Another growing market here in the US is the distilled spirits industry.  This bourbon industry is exploding and we are getting a lot of requests from big and small producers in this segment. 

§  It seems every week there is another distillery being purchased, or another brand is introducing a new flavor.  And craft distilleries are popping-up from New York to Washington State.

§  Many established brands are looking for automatic sleeving lines as volumes have increased, along with the need for a good looking tamper-evident band.

§  We are also seeing full-body sleeves being added to bottles for seasonal promotions such as The Kentucky Derby.

§  Finally, as competition increases, new and old brands alike are experimenting with different flavors and bottle styles – anything to stand out on the shelf!