Association News

‘Battling for Shelf Appeal’ in Monaco

July 21, 2014

The theme of the 2014 FINAT Congress, held June 5-7 in Monte Carlo, Monaco, was “The Battle for Shelf Appeal.” In introducing the theme, Flint Group’s Niklas Olson, FINAT’s programming committee chair, said, “The competition to catch the eye of the consumer is translating into a battle for the most attractive yet cost-effective product decoration solution. In this battle, we often see competition arriving from new – and maybe even disruptive – technologies. Our idea is to provide some insights into the various technologies used to decorate products that are fighting the battle. Label printers need to be aware of the trends and developments, and learn what is driving all of the possible decoration alternatives.”

The Congress’s educational program kicked off with Rik Olthof, brand strategist at Dutch branding and packaging design consultancy Cartils. Olthof gave a presentation bearing the event’s theme “The Battle for Shelf Appeal,” where he introduced to the audience the five pillars of Cartils’ Brandstar, a tool to analyze the integration of branding and design. The five pillars are: Be seen, be real, be confident, be relevant, and be aspirational.

Cartils specializes in branding and packaging for the beer, wine, spirits and tobacco markets, and Olthof provided some advice and insight on what works and what doesn’t within this sector. With spirits, he pointed out that a brand not only has to stand out on a store shelf, but also in a “nightlife” environment. “When you take the label and logo off of the bottle, you still want to be recognizable,” he said, citing successful examples of this with Absolut and Jack Daniels. These two brands, he added, also show ownership of a logo’s font, another critical aspect of “being seen.”

Jules Lejeune, managing director for FINAT, provided Congress attendees with an update on the forces driving the European label market, as he presented the results of the first FINAT Radar, a new, wide-ranging half-yearly and professionally-conducted Industry Trends Report. The report is designed to give FINAT members a convenient, recurring overview on the evolution of markets and market segments, employment, profit and loss, purchasing and investment.

The inaugural edition of the FINAT Radar, Lejuene explained, features data compiled from 37 countries – including 10 leading companies – and represented 92% of the label market. Some of the results Lejeune shared include Europe consuming twice as much stock since 1997, doubling its growth over a 17-year period. “Demand has become more volatile and film consumption continues to rise,” Lejeune said.

Radar findings showed that food, personal care/cosmetics and household chemicals had the highest growth rates for converters, while transport/logistics office products and retail had the lowest. The average run length was highest for beverages and household chemicals, and lowest for automotive, pharmaceutical and office products.

The FINAT Radar also includes brand owner viewpoints. Notably, Lejeune reported: 18% of brand owners surveyed would like to source multiple types of packaging from a single supplier; and 24% consider it vital for label and packaging suppliers to be “environmentally certified” with 35% saying sustainability is becoming more important. However, only 14% of Radar survey respondents said they would be willing to pay more for green label constructions.

On the second day of the Congress, Mike Ferrari, founder and president of US-based Ferrari Innovation Solutions, gave a presentation titled “Innovation for labeling and packaging profit,” where he focused on the future of packaging, and packaging’s evolving role in the digital age.

“The whole idea of packaging today is to be relevant and interactive. Shape, color and substrate are important, but packaging needs to go beyond that,” he said, adding that packaging is moving to creating a one-on-one relationship with the consumer. “We are moving from mass production to mass customization. Why? Because we are all individuals, creating content.
“It’s time to focus on the millenials – those born with the internet,” Ferrari said. “They’re the ones making different choices, and we have to understand these choices.”

Personalization, Ferrari said, which is driven by digital printing, is a key driver. He pointed to Coke’s 2013 marketing campaign where bottles of Coke featured an individual’s name.

“There is power in a name,” Ferrari stressed. “Would you throw a bottle away that has your name on it? People want personalization and are responding to it.” –Steve Katz

Award winners announced
At the Congress, FINAT announced the winners of the first FINAT Recycling Awards Competition.

“With the growing number of recycling solutions available today, we decided that the time was right to launch a FINAT Recycling Award,” said Jacques Van Leeuwen.

“This award  brings recognition to the recycling efforts made by these companies and helps to promote the best practices in liner recycling.”

In the converter category, the winner Hagmaier Etiketten & Druck GmbH impressed the jury with the high recycling rates for both paper and film liner, the communication efforts made both inside and outside of the company, and with the solutions offered for other secondary materials. Finally, by offering customers take back of spent liner, the company not only demonstrates responsibility for its own secondary materials, but helps others as well.

The end-user category saw a number of impressive entries, but in the end Unilever edged out the others based on the company’s clear dedication to a zero waste to landfill policy.

Not only is this clearly communicated on the company’s website and in its sustainability report, but it is also being reflected in Unilever’s long history in liner recycling and its impressive liner recycling figures. 

A highlight of the Congress was the announcement of the winners of FINAT’s 34th label awards competition. There were 241 awards entries representing 49 companies from 25 countries.

Some of the big winners of the 34th FINAT Label Awards, including “The Irishman
Single Malt,” which took home Best of Show for Multi Labels UK.

The Best in Show and Printing Processes Group winner awards went to Multi Labels, United Kingdom for “The Irishman Single Malt” label. This label received consistently high marks from the technical and design judges.

At first glance, this label may look simple to produce, but after further examination, its complexities are brought to light. The generous use of delicate gold hot foiling - especially in the signature and reversed out areas -  is worthy of note. The fact that 10 colors were used to achieve the finished result along with embossing and varnishing in a single pass reflects the degree of control required to produce this label to such a high standard. The label has been described as “a combination of the best attributes of the flexo and screen processes,” which merits the Best in Show award.

The Marketing/End-Uses Group Winner was Collotype Labels – Griffith, Australia for De Bortoli Wines – La Bohème.  The complexity of the flowers surrounding the central figure was intended to add an extra depth to the finished result. The use of a subtle buff color surround encapsulates the main figure. The six colors were printed using offset lithography and finished off with a satin varnish.

The Non-Adhesive Group was won by Masterpress S.A., Poland, for Heineken The Future – Limited Edition. This sleeve has immediate eye appeal with stars in abundance. The use of silver foiling makes the label stand out on the bottle. Because the label is printed using nine colors, UV and solvent flexo, as well as gravure, it is a very makes complex label to print.

The Innovation Group winner was won by the Schreiner Group GmbH & Co. KG,Germany for Pharma-Tac Plus label. As usual, the entries in this category were fairly complicated, and this one was no exception. This label combines an information booklet integrated with two peel off parts for documentation purposes and a strong hanger, allowing the bottle to be suspended on a rack. Using nine colors and a combination of printing processes, this label was designed to solve the ongoing medical issue of providing information along with the infusion.

Recycling association recognizes label technology innovators
The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), a trade organization representing the plastics recycling industry in North America, recently announced that five companies have received recognition for designing new products that meet or exceed the voluntary guidelines under APR’s Critical and Applications Guidance Recognition Programs. The Recognition Program is designed to support those companies that innovate packaging technologies and  successfully design products that avoid disrupting and contaminating plastic recycling streams.

The companies all recently petitioned to receive recognition for sleeve, pressure sensitive, or direct print labels that meet APR’s most strict testing guidance. Those companies are: Avery Dennison, Polysack, Plastipak, American Fuji Seal, and The Kennedy Group.

“We are pleased and excited that packaging companies and their suppliers continue to recognize the importance of utilizing APR Guidance Documents when creating new innovations for plastic packaging,” says Steve Alexander, APR’s executive director. “Our primary objectives are to increase supply and reduce contamination. These guidance documents are the industry tested models to ensure new innovations do not contaminate or interfere with a container’s or package’s ability to be recycled.”

“These five companies have taken a huge step in helping to generate more good clean material available for recycling, and for working with the industry to ensure their innovations are compatible with existing recycling technology,” adds John Standish, APR’s technical director.

The APR’s Full Sleeve Label Working Group has recently concluded an extensive review of the impact of full shrink sleeve labels on recycling of PET containers. Labels that sink in water with PET, or where label ink can stain recovered PET are undesirable for PET recycling. This Working Group has recommended that sleeve labels meet the criteria contained in the APR’s Critical Guidance Document for Full Sleeve Labels on PET Containers.

American Fuji Seal, Avery Denison, and Polysack have received recognition for new sleeve label technologies that meet APR’s Guidance criteria for sleeve labels. APR believes these new technologies will contribute to reducing the negative impact that sleeve labels have on PET recycling today.

Pressure sensitive labels used on packaging are problematic for recycling when the adhesive on the label does not wash off or does not float in water. The Kennedy Group has received recognition for a pressure sensitive polymer film label that meets the strictest guidance given in APR’s Guidance Document for Pressure Sensitive Labels. This result demonstrates that the label and adhesive can be removed cleanly from the PET container, and that the label floats to allow complete separation of the label from the PET.

A new approach to labeling PET containers involves digital printing of the label directly onto the surface of the PET container. Plastipak is introducing this label approach and has employed APR’s Critical and Applications Guidance Documents for PET Bottles to demonstrate that this first commercial offering will not interfere with the recyclability of the intended bottle.

FTA grows, adds 170 new members
As the demand for quality training programs, networking opportunities and idea exchanges within the package printing and converting marketplace intensifies, the rank and file of the Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) continues to grow — both in the United States and on an international level.

From January 2014 to May 2014, nearly 170 new companies and/or individuals, from countries including the United States, South Africa, Bolivia, Venezuela, Finland, Turkey and Israel, joined FTA’s membership roster, which encompasses the entire package printing and converting supply chain.

New members include: Connecticut Container (North Haven, CT); Great Northern Corp. (Racine, WI); Hub Labels (Hagerstown, MD); Inland Label (La Crosse, WI); Kraft Foods (Northfield, IL); Johnsville Sausage (Sheboygan Falls, WI); CMC Group (Bowling Green, OH); and DWS Printing (Deer Park, NY), just to name a few.

“The robust programs that are in place continue to fuel FTA’s growth in membership,” says Jay Kaible, director of membership and business development. “Our Fall Conference and annual Forum & INFO*FLEX continue to break attendee and exhibitor records year after year, with the recent April events drawing some 1,844 attendees and 220 exhibiting companies.

“Additionally, our FIRST Operator Certification program is the industry leader in training, with more than 3,400 industry professionals taking or achieving FIRST certification through the virtual campus. These are just some of the many benefits FTA offers to ensure our member’s objectives are met.”

The Association, first founded in 1958, represents nearly 1,400 companies and 52,000 individuals worldwide. Membership is comprised of small, medium and large companies and includes narrow web, mid-web and wide-web printers/converters, as well as print buyers,
suppliers, prepress providers, brand management firms, designers, graphics organizations, and educators and students.

This fall, the FTA will host its Fall Conference & Exhibit at the Doubletree by Hilton in Minneapolis, MN, USA, October 20-22. The event is themed “Beyond the Concept: Innovation in Action,” and will explore the recent, most transformative innovations in the flexographic marketplace. For more info, visit

Registration open for 2014 TLMI Young Leaders Congress
TLMI has announced that registration is now open for the 2014 Young Leaders Global Congress, which will be held September 11-12, 2014 at Michigan State University, directly following Labelexpo Americas.

The Congress will take place at Michigan State University’s School of Packaging where attendees will have the opportunity to participate in presentations and discussions that will focus on packaging innovation, sustainability, and leadership development.

Established in 1952, the Michigan State University School of Packaging (SoP) was the first program of its kind in the North American industry and remains a pioneer and leader in packaging scholarship. The SoP provides highest quality education with the goal of continuously advancing the science and technology of packaging.

Bus transportation will be provided for a fee to all registered attendees between the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont where Labelexpo is being held, directly to the Michigan State University campus. A one night hotel accommodation is included in the registration fee.

All TLMI, FINAT and other L9 association members are welcome to participate in the event.
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