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Beverage Labels - Find Out What's Trending

The beverage industry is one of the largest industries in the world and also one of the most competitive.  Beverage manufacturers are looking for any advantage when it comes to having their product stand out on the shelves.  Manufacturers are becoming more aware of the impact labels have on their potential customers and are putting more effort into label design.  Beverage labeling, once almost an afterthought, has come a long way.  No longer a device used for simply naming the product and listing its ingredients, labeling is now an art form, a promotional tool that not only tells a story, but sends a valuable come-closer message to increasingly demanding consumers.  Labels, with their eye-catching design and clear information, are what help customers pick up the beverage in the first place.  A quality drink and satisfying taste will keep customers coming back for more.  This blog will take a look at some of the technology used with beverage labels.

More and more beverage companies are moving away from paper labels towards film labels.

Graphically you can’t do as much with paper as with film.  Film yields a higher print quality.  Paper labels can’t take the same abuse, like getting wet, hot or scratched.  In addition to durability and moisture-resistance, many customers and consumers are seeking an upscale appearance as well.  This can be achieved through design, but also via the labeling material itself.

Manufacturers are becoming increasingly focused on green technology and efficiency.  Beverage companies are always looking for ways to save money without cutting corners, so sustainable technology is top of the list now because of the potential savings that it represents.  This means using materials that cost less and do not interfere with recycling.  Beverage companies are also looking for thinner films.  One of the advantages of going thinner is that it can take some of the cost out of the process because you’re using less material.  It helps the label really disappear on the bottle — the thinner it is, the more it looks like it’s painted on the bottle.  Thinner labels also help beverage companies become more sustainable.  By switching from a 2.6 mil white BOPP to a thinner construction made from 2.4 mil white BOPP, customers can reduce the environmental impact associated with this material.  These results are driven by a 23% reduction in the material weight of the facestock, adhesive and liner.

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Clear film labels are popular in cases where color is among a product’s main features.  It allows companies like Gatorade to show off the product’s color, which often drives consumer selection.  A lot of consumers select Gatorade flavors based on favorite colors and not flavors.  Clear labels are used because beverage makers want the product to interact with the package graphics to create maximum shelf appeal.  The clear, no-label look packaging is viewed as more contemporary, modern and hip.  The no-label look is popular among other non-alcoholic beverages, like fruit drinks, teas and coffee drinks. 

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Topics: Pressure Sensitive Labels beverage labels

Why Are You Being So "Pressure" Sensitive? No More Cut'n'Stack!

What exactly does pressure sensitive mean and what exactly is a pressure sensitive label? If you are labeling a product then you should know that you have choices. Have you ever heard of a cut and stack label? How about a paper label? Often times, these can be the direct competitors of a pressure sensitive label.

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Paper labels or "cut and stack" labels are applied to a product with a glue application process. Picture a stamp being licked and stuck to an envelope- it is a similar process when applying a paper label. Most beer bottles have a paper label on them. Sometimes the glue doesn't get applied consistently to the back of the paper label and what you end up seeing as a result is a label that is peeling up on the edges or corners. Paper labels are also very thin by nature of the material that is being used to print. As a result, paper labels can rip very easily. Whether you are making a custom product label, a custom food label, beverage labels, or any other kind of labels, it is good to know that you have choices in quality as well as durability. How your label is printed could very easily determine its shelf appeal.

So what is a pressure sensitive label? Put somewhat simply and a tad technically: pressure sensitive labels form a bond by simply applying pressure to the face of the label and in doing so the adhesive backed material adheres to the adherend! Put very simply- a sticker! Pressure sensitive labels are designed for a multitude of applications OTHER THAN being permanently placed on a product. There are a wide array of pressure sensitive adhesives that can achieve various results ranging from: permanent, removable, repositionable, static cling, freezer grades, light tack or even heavy tack adhesives. The list goes on. 

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The most important part of choosing label adhesives should be done by your printer. If you are having issues with your label not sticking then maybe it's time to look at some other adhesive solutions. Who knows- maybe your current printer doesn't know how to solve your problem! If you have any specific adhesive needs then you should call in an expert. Label manufacturers can bring in their material suppliers to mix and match adhesives with face stocks to find what best works for your label application. If your printer is looking to form a longstanding relationship with you and your company then he should be eager to solve your printing problems!

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Topics: coupon labels Pressure Sensitive Labels Pressure Sensitive Labels beverage labels food labels flexographic label printing bottle label Custom Food Labels Product Labeling Food Label

Flexo 101: A Survival Guide for the Pressure Sensitive Label.

Have you been struggling with designing a label? Do you have questions about what the best material is to run your label on? Do you even know what materials are available? Not sure whether to use varnish or lamination? Have you never heard of a "rewind code?" You've come to the right place. Everyone has been there before- looking for a little bit more education on pressure sensitive labels. If you are already an expert then you might not want to read on any further because this weeks blog is all about the basics of putting together flexo labels! 

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At Label Tech we have dealt with all kinds of label purchasers. Some of these people are extremely educated when it comes to flexo labels- others not so much. There are a lot of new companies out there bringing a new product to market and they are researching what the best way to label their product may be. So what did we do you might ask? We took it upon ourselves to create a "Learning Center" on the Label Tech website so that you can talk the talk when it comes to flexo labels! Right in the upper right side of our website you will find the Learning Center. Here are some of the questions you may find answered!

  • What is the best finish for your label?
  • What is a "Rewind Code?"
  • What is Digital printing?
  • What is four color process?
  • What is full bleed?
  • What is the best size for your label?
  • What are my material choices?
  • What is the ordering process?
  • What is the proofing process?
  • What are these new things called QR Codes?

Note: We feel that having this information can help customers better understand the world of the pressure sensitive label! We hope you find our learning center helpful and if you don't see the answer to the specific question you have feel free to reach out to a specialist. Thanks for tuning in this week to Flexo 101.


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Topics: four color process 4CP labels label tech inc rewind code Label QR Codes Lamination Varnish Pressure Sensitive Labels Pressure Sensitive Labels Protecting Inks Choosing a commercial printer flexographic label printing

Digital Label Printing- Cutting Costs One Plate at a Time.

So what the heck is digital label printing all about and can your company benefit from it? Let's find out! Digital label printing is still a relatively new form of printing however, it has been growing in demand and popularity since it's inception. A digital press is basically like a gigantic, high color copy machine.

The ideal digital label printing candidate is looking to print about 10,000 custom labels or less depending on size. Ideally, it is any job for a printer that is approximately 6,500 feet of material or less that is running through the press. Another key point to note is that digital printing is usually comprised of 4 color process. Often times, businesses can still create high impact labels that are 4CP and get outstanding quality on a digital label. Digital printing can significantly lower the cost of production for a printer by combining aspects of pre-press, production, and finishing all in to one machine. 

There are cost savings for the customer as well. A tremendous cost savings for customers going digital is in the absence of plate charges! Not to mention that the dies for a piece of digital finishing equipment can be hundreds of dollars less than a die for a flexographic press. Printing digital labels generally will not produce nearly as much waste as printing flexographically and there is significantly less set up time involved as well. 

If you have a company with short runs of labels or even long runs with multiple skus then you may want to have your work quoted digitally. In the past year we have seen a coffee company with literally over one hundred skus ordering anywhere between 30 to 40 skus at a time over the course of about fifty thousand labels. Can you imagine how much money they would of had to pay in plate charges to get all of those skus set up?? If you are keeping your work with a printer who can't run your work digitally you may be getting nickel and dimed on plate charges and new die costs. Your quality may be suffering too- digital labels are typically higher quality than flexo labels. Just as with the differences between analog and digital processes, there is less potential for discrepancies from label to label on a digital press. However, don't count out great flexo press operators as often times a talented press operator can match the quality of a digital label.

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Topics: four color process 4CP labels digital printing Pressure Sensitive Labels

Always Use Protection- We Are Talking about Labels!

Recently I sat down with Peter Mullen, Plant Manager at Label Tech to discuss the differences between varnish and lamination. Protecting the inks on pressure sensitive labels is easy when you know the application. Here is what he had to say.

How do you decide which is the best way to protect your label while at the same time giving your product the appeal that allows it to stand out on the shelf? The answer to this question depends on what and how the label will be used. The advances in both varnish and lamination over the past several years have made it possible to enhance your label esthetically while at the same time performing a function such as printability or water and alcohol resistance.

One major factor in considering the issue of protection is what the label will be going through during filling, labeling, packaging and shipping of the product. In most cases this will be the most abuse your label will experience in its life span. In the extreme case lamination may be the way to go as it is almost bullet proof when it comes to protecting the material and ink underneath it. Lamination however will more than likely add slightly to the cost of the label.

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If you prefer a varnish it is possible to vary the coat weight in order to enhance the protection level.  You may also want to consider a varnish that is glossy rather than matte so it will have some slip properties to it. There are many varnishes on the market besides those that perform a practical function such as glitter for special effects or embossed to give your label a 3 dimensional look. There is a product for almost anything your imagination can come up with.

At Label Tech Inc we stock a wide variety of varnishes and laminations to cover most requirements our customers may have. When one of our customers has a particular requirement that may sit outside the norm, we have the ability to work closely with our vendors in order to develop a product that will fill that need.

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Topics: Lamanation Varnish Pressure Sensitive Labels Protecting Inks Ink Protection

Flexo 101: 7 Helpful Hints to Choosing a Commercial Printer.

Hi, welcome back to one of this weeks label blogs! If you have been printing labels for any substantial amount of time and still have not found a printer that understands your needs then KEEP LOOKING!! Maybe there are some things that you can do to ensure you find the right company to work with. Here are some tips on choosing the right commercial printer.

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1. Have you been Shopping Price Over Quality? The old saying "you get what you pay for" can certainly, at times, apply to printing. Every client wants to save money when they can and who can blame them? If a price is unbelievably low it can be assumed that the company either does very little work or in most cases very poor quality.

2. Why Should I Check References? Most commercial printing companies that have any kind of reputation for credibility will be eager to hand over references. Look for companies that give you references openly and willingly and then- CHECK THEM!

3. Don't Just Hire Anyone for the Job! Looking into the companies that you want to do your work is almost as important as creating the project you want to print! Giving the work to just anyone could create problems for you down the line. Costs that could have been avoided could become incurred. Make sure to ask your potential printer for samples of work they have done in the past to make sure they can produce quality work.

4. Guarantee My Work! A printing company with any kind of reputation to uphold will be willing to guarantee their work to some degree. If they make a mistake, they shouldn't be charging you for it. And, if there is a problem with the quality or they ran the wrong stock then again, you shouldn't be charged.

5. Rushing Every Delivery? Needing a rush job done from time to time is totally understandable, but asking your printing company to have insane turn around times on every order is a bit demanding and could cost you a fortune in the long haul. Make sure before you start placing orders there is a clear understanding of what your needs are and how they are going to be met.

6. How Much Capacity Can be Handled? If you are ordering large runs time and time again make sure that your printer has the capacity to meet your demands. A huge mistake can be going with a company that can't handle the demand. Ask your potential printing company what percentage of capacity they are operating at. If your company is growing make sure the company you go with can handle it!

7. Don't Create too much Competition Between Commercial Printers. A little competition never hurt anybody but too much of it can ruin a good relationship. Commercial printers rely on building a great relationship with their customers so they can lend a hand when it is needed. If a client is consistent with their commercial printer then they will be less likely to be frustrated or even worse turned away from when they require quick production at the last minute!

Stay tuned for more FLEXO 101!!

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Topics: Large Run Printing label printer help me find a printer Pressure Sensitive Labels Choosing a commercial printer commercial printing new label printer new commercial printer

Beer Labels With Dynamic Numbering Flying Off Shelves!

Beer labels with "Dynamic Numbering" are flying off the shelves in New Hampshire! Local New Hampshire brewery White Birch Brewing has been brewing beer commercially since June of 2009. In a short time span the company has grown very well due to excellent micro brew beer and a unique approach to label design made possible by Digital Printing.

Not only is White Birch Brewing a great beer maker, but they also support local business when it comes to selecting vendors. With the addition of a new 7 barrel brewing system at their brewery in Hooksett, NH the company has been brewing close to 10,000 bottles of beer a month and sometimes more. 

Label design is important in an industry that is flooded; and with the gaining popularity of micro brew beer in America in recent years Brian Parda (Director of Marketing and Sales at WBB) and Bill Herlicka (Founder and Master Brewer) knew that they needed a unique label that would stand out in a crowd. Their approach was simple yet highly effective: use dynamic numbering on their labels. In the label biz we refer to this as variable data

Digital printing is a new technology that has allowed for short run multiple sku/lot printing to be cost effective and superior in quality. White Birch Brewing needed just that. Many of the beers that are made at WBB are limited in quantity and Brian and Bill wanted to convey that to the customer. If you look at the WBB label you notice almost immediately that the bottles are numbered dynamically. Want to buy a bottle of Bill's Belgian Style Pale Ale? Well, then you might appreciate knowing that you got bottle number 47 of 240, or 48 of 240, or possibly even bottle number 1 of 240. The WBB label itself will tell you.

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Here is what Brian Parda had to say about Label Tech Inc:

When we designed our labels, we wanted to showcase all the information beer lovers want to know about their beer. We also wanted to feature the size of our small batch production by numbering each bottle. LabelTech's ability to provide us with high quality digital printing and sequential numbering allowed us to do just that.

So if you get a chance to pick up a bottle of White Birch Brewing company's beer any time soon make sure you take a look at the label, it could be a number worth holding on to.

 

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Topics: four color process 4CP labels digital printing Beer Labels Variable Data Dynamic Numbering multiple sku printing Pressure Sensitive Labels

What the Heck is Four-Color Process? AKA 4CP.

What the heck is four-color process or what is commonly referred to as full color? Well, don’t feel bad about not knowing or having limited knowledge on the subject. In flexographic printing and digital printing it is good to have a brief understanding of what 4CP stands for and what it can do for your labels. CMYK and full color are both commonly referred to terms in label printing. Full color is not anything special so don't worry about your friends laughing at you for not understanding what it means. It is just a commonly referred to term for 4CP. CMYK is important. CMYK refers to the colors that are used in four-color process: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. The true meaning of the K is for Key Plate, however to make things simple let's just refer to it as the black plate. Click here to find out about our prepress department. Printing in 4CP allows for the printer to construct any color in the Pantone (PMS) book from these four colors. In doing so it allows the graphic designer who is creating your labels to get way more creative in designing your labels.

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Side note: if you want a "spot color" then you are referring to us picking an actual PMS number out of the pantone book. If you look in a "bridge" book then you can see the difference between making a color out of 4CP versus using the actual color itself. It is a subtle difference but good to take in to consideration when designing a label.

The CMYK process works by partially or entirely subtracting reflective light from whatever surface it is covering. In most cases the surface is white and often times when a Flexographic printer is printing on clear surfaces they will first lay down a coat of white to get a better color reflection, much like a painter laying down a base coat. 

Label Tech Inc has become an expert at four-color process printing. We run 4CP on many of our flexographic Mark Andy presses and we also run 4CP on our digital press. 

Printing a four-color process image and then laying down one or more spot colors can make for a label that has pop or more shelf appeal then your competitors. Stay tuned for more info from Label Tech Inc on labels and labeling. 

Topics: four color process 4CP labels label tech inc digital printing salsa label multiple sku printing Color match issues for labels color consistency color inconsistency labels coupon labels Pressure Sensitive Labels beverage labels food labels flexographic label printing cosmetic labels pharmaceutical labels consumer product labels

Considering what makes your food labels stick?

Label Tech, Inc has been manufacturing food labels for the food industry since 1985. We have assisted customers such as Dunkin Donuts, Pearl Meat, Stonewall Kitchen, Cabot Cheese and many others. Food labeling can be a simple process and at other times often complicated. Are you labeling a glass jar or a plastic bottle? Is your product “hot fill” or room temperature? Are you labeling your product in a freezer or in a warehouse? If you have a product that is going to be exposed to condensation have you considered protecting the inks? There are many more questions to take into consideration.

 

At Label Tech, Inc our customer service department is constantly being trained in the art of application. At Label Tech application is everything.  What I mean by that is the series of questions that we need to take in to consideration in order to make sure your label sticks to your product, and that your customer can still clearly see your branding from the first use of your product to the last.

 

Gringo Jack’s is a small business based in Vermont. They make salsas and hot sauces that are… well… delicious! Jack and Michele who run the day-to-day operations of the company wear many hats. Small business owners are often busy people, their time is valuable. For Jack and Michele, becoming label experts in between running a company and promoting a brand wasn’t an option. They needed a vendor who understood their needs fast and was able to produce in a timely manner. They turned to Label Tech Inc.

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Having a wide variety of salsas and hot sauces we understood immediately that the products we would be filling would most likely be run in combination so as to save Gringo Jack’s money by getting the price per thousand down over larger quantities. Side note- if your label manufacturer isn’t offering you price breaks at higher order quantities then you need to talk to us. Running in combo we were also able to use as many common plates as possible to get the plate charges down.

 

The first questions we had for Jack and Michele were all about application. If you can get the application of the label accurate the first time around, you can save everyone a lot of time, money and headache. One of the sales representatives at Label Tech was able to assess the situation quickly and professionally. Gringo Jack’s uses a hot fill technology- that is to say; the salsas and hot sauces are going into the glass jars at a high temperature. If we used a regular permanent adhesive, the labels would of bubbled and peeled off almost immediately. By switching to a freezer grade adhesive we were able to prevent this issue from occurring. Another issue that we wanted to avoid was having the inks on the front of the label run or smear over time by condensation or sauce being wiped off the front of the jar. By placing a lamination over the label we easily avoided this issue. Jack and Michele have been very pleased by our work.

 

If you are experiencing label issues with a food label you don’t have to put up with it! There are vendors out there who can assist you in having a better presentation with your product. Stay tuned for more blogs from your label experts at Label Tech!

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Topics: label tech inc salsa label hot fill labels glass jar labeling multiple sku printing in line labeling Pressure Sensitive Labels food labels flexographic label printing food label printer

Color Match Issues for Food Labels Conquered by Label Tech Inc Again!

Virginia Chutney is a family owned company based in Rappahannock county, VA. The company has been making specialty chutney's ranging in flavors from Balsamic Fig to Spicy Plum, Rhubarb and many others since Clare and Neville Turner founded the company and settled in VA. 

As a manufacturer of specialty chutneys the company grew and eventually needed a line for filling jars. Once the line was set up to run it was time to order food labels. Filling jars that are hot fill can be tricky when it is time for labeling. When the product is filled in the jar, often times the jar remains hot for some time. Placing a label on a hot jar may sound simple, but if your flexographic label printer isn't adhesive savy, it can make for messy labels. Their label problems didn't end with poor adhesive selection. 

Virginia Chutney was also experiencing issues with consistent label color. If your label printer is sending you inconsistent labels with every shipment, chances are either one of two things is going on: one, he's not printing the labels for you and he's subbing out the work to other printers each time for to find the best margins to make money off of you. If you are buying from a print distributor instead of going direct to a label manufacturer you are most likely paying 15-30% more than you should be for your labels. Or two- he doesn't know what he's doing. If you combine the issues that Virginia Chutney was having with their labels, chances are that's enough for you to look at a new vendor. 

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Label Tech Inc is also a family owned and operated business and they were ready to make a difference for Virginia Chutney. 

Solving color issues is something we are very familiar with. Virginia Chutney has many different products that are all run with the same size label. This allowed Label Tech Inc to switch them over to a digital press for superior four color process label printing and unmatched color consistency. Our HP Indigo Digital press sits in a climate controlled room and our press operators mark down all the color readings on the job ticket. This allowed our press operators to match color exactly on all future repeat orders for Virginia Chutney. 

Freezer grade adhesive allowed us to run hot fill labels for them with no bubbling or peeling of the label after it was applied to the hot jar. Simple solutions are easy once you've been down that road before. Here is what Clare Turner had to say about Label Tech Inc's most recent order for Virginia Chutney: 

Just wanted to thank you for doing such a wonderful job with the Cranfiggy labels - we asked for a rushed job on a small amount of labels and then sent you the wrong UPC and yet you still managed to get them to us well ahead of time.

Our experience with printers has always been complicated but working with Label Tech Inc is a joy and we will recommend you at every opportunity we get.  We will be at the Fancy Food Show (Booth 3026) next week and if you plan to attend please try and visit us.

Thanks very much

Clare

Clare Turner
The Virginia Chutney Company

Label Tech Inc has over 25 years of experience in the label manufacturing business. We have been ISO Certified since 1998 and have a quality control procedure in place for every thing that we do. Please allow us to fix your label problems or take a look at us as a new vendor. 

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Topics: four color process 4CP labels label tech inc digital printing hot fill labels glass jar labeling bubbling labels label not sticking label application multiple sku printing Color match issues for labels color consistency color inconsistency labels in line labeling chutney labels labels peeling Pressure Sensitive Labels food labels flexographic label printing food label printer
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