Belgian printing company Verstraete claims there is a lot of interest from potential customers as it prepares to roll out its novel super-transparent label across Europe and North America.
The firm’s ‘SuperClear’ labels are designed for the in-mould labelling (IML) process, where containers are moulded and decorated in one single step.
In-mould labelling took off in the 1990s, and involves placing a pre-printed polypropylene label in a mould with the end product shape, say a tub of butter.
Molten polypropylene is then added to the mould where it fuses with the label and assumes the shape of the mould so label.
As the packaging and the label consist of the same material they can be recycled in one step.
‘Floating label’ illusion
Verstraete marketing and communications manager Sophie Debouck told FoodProductionDaily.com that the new labels were made with a transparent film that created a ‘no-label’ look on packaging, where previous transparent IML labels always had a hazy look.
She said: “When making a purchase, consumers first use their eyes. This is why attractive packaging is essential.
“This SuperClear label will give companies a point of difference in making packaging stand out from competitors, it can be used on lots of foods, and the price is not so different from previous labels.”
She explained that SuperClear could also be used to create the illusion of a floating label, where the label is only printed on one part of the packaging, something that visually impossible using standard white IML labels.
Debouck said the labels had already been rolled out on chocolate boxes, but would also be suitable for use on products such as soups and ready meals and a variety of other foods where the manufacturer wanted to allow consumers to see packet contents behind the label (as per picture).
The new SuperClear material also compared favourably in cost terms to less transparent clear labels used in the IML process to date, due to advances in production, Debouck added.
If companies wanted to switch to a different-shaped label, there were no new costs involved in reprogramming the IML robot, Debouck said.
She said the new material also gave clients added flexibility, as innumerable IML looks could be created using the same ‘keyline’ boundary line between the coloured and clear parts of the label.
So multiple variations in packaging that were all produced within the existing keyline could be marketed, with no changeover costs, Debouck said.