Printers Survey: What is happening in the label industry? – Part 8 with a comment by Jules Lejeune, FINAT
Which challenges label printers and converters worldwide have to meet? In the NarrowWebTech 2018′ survey label printer and converter as well as associations discuss what is currently going on at the narrow web market. In our eight and last part Jules Lejeune from FINAT comments the current developments and trends within the market and tries some predictions.
By Jules Lejeune
Managing director, FINAT
The label world is growing in every way, shape and direction. Today, a label does not just carry product identification data. Increasingly it incorporates a greater array of regulatory information. A label also delivers brand identity, in ways that ten years ago were unimagined, with increased adoption of personalization, heptics and colour – changing features including such as QR codes. Another important additional feature is increasing sophistication in product authentication and security devices.
We will also see the continued increase in converters offering brand owners sleeve labels, flexible packaging, in-mould labels and direct-to-container print. These are all areas in which FINAT remains committed to keeping its members informed. We also offer a broadening technical agenda, represent their interests on legal and regulatory issues and continue to run our respected technical research programme. As part of the latter, we will deliver new editions of the FINAT test methods and the Radar.
While developments in the converting technologies employed by our members enables the increasing complexity of the “label”, our FINAT Radar market research across Europe indicates that, in the coming years, there will be ongoing refinements in digital capabilities and hybrid analogue/digital presses. These will be partnered by advanced ink formulations that will deliver specific high-performance features – including food-safe print without migration or setoff – and a range of print substrates to match. LED ink curing is also set to grow substantially.
Product multi-versioning and label multi-language versioning has been made quick and easy thanks to digital technologies. Our members indicate that print runs are now around 1500 linear metres per label – a downward trend that is forecast to continue. In fact, overall, only 55% of brand owners’ predicted that label purchasing volumes would increase. While over 20% of brand owners we surveyed said they currently don’t’ source digital-labels, they do want their label converters to have digital capabilities.
European brand owners want higher quality at lower prices from their packaging suppliers, and are increasingly looking to the developing economies for example, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia as viable label sourcing channels. In fact, our most recent RADAR research confirms that more than 70% claim they will not be migrating from self-adhesive labelling technology to another format over the next 12 months.
Sustainability remains firmly on the agenda of the entire supply chain. Waste management is a prime concern with particular focus on spent release liner – a high-value, high-quality feature of the pressure-sensitive laminate. At FINAT, we are also encouraging increasing formalisation in the relationship between label converters, co-packers, and brand owners to establish a formal release liner collection and recycling system. This has, in part, been prompted by the fact that a majority of the end users we surveyed indicated they are not currently actively recycling liner waste.
We also expect a continuation of the M&A activity that has seen local and regional label converting companies merge creating multinational suppliers. This is in some way also been encouraged by technological developments, globalisation of end-user brand markets, and online operation.
Thank you very much for this comment, Jules!
You want to read more opintions? This is the last part of our 2018′ survey amongst label printers, converters and label association.