Sustainable Adhesive Free Labeling

Photo depicting apples, hot dogs, and a meat package labeled with adhesive free technology.


Felins Foodie, Lisa Barrieau, presented on sustainable, adhesive free labeling at the Innovation Stage at Pack Expo 2021. The presentation differentiates adhesive free labeling from other packaging methods and explains why this newer technology gives customers a competitive advantage, allows for a more efficient packaging process, and demonstrates how it can be used on a wide variety of products. Click here to view the video, and make sure to visit our Food Page to learn more about sustainable packaging in the food industry. Contact us today for a free quote or demo.


Video Transcript

Welcome, my name is Lisa Barrieau and today we're going to talk about various forms of sustainable labeling and their impact on the retail food industry.

In the world of retail food the label is more than just a means of advising the consumer of the nutrition facts, ingredients, and expiration dates. The food label is the voice of the brand creating an emotional connection between the company brand and the consumer making it a crucial part of the packaging.

According to Forbes magazine, through a Bain & Company study, 60 to 80 percent of customers who describe themselves as satisfied do not go back to do more business with the company that initially satisfied them. This is often due to a lack of connection. This means that food companies must pay closer attention to the message that their packaging and labeling decisions send in order to create brand recognition as well as tell a story that creates a connection between the consumer and the company message.

Common forms of labeling and sleeving, whether manually or automatically applied, often require glues and adhesives resulting in extra application steps and an increase in wasted materials. There are various methods of labeling in the retail food industry. In the produce industry, we commonly see pre-printed rubber bands or twist ties that show a PLU code identifying the type of product and price. These forms of labeling are commonly applied manually and help to unitize the products. We often see rubber bands and twist ties on veggies such as asparagus and carrots. Pre-printed bags are an excellent way of differentiating organic products from non-organic as well as making it easier for the consumer to grab the product and go. These bags have more space for marketing and branding information, commonly seen with products such as organic apples, cherries, and grapes.

Adhesive labels and paper board sleeves, while commonly applied manually, are very common methods for labeling clamshells, allowing for space for marketing as well as providing food product visibility. In the case of a paper board sleeve the label also acts as a tamper proof solution, helping to prevent the lid from opening before the consumer brings the product home. Food labeling is very intentional as it can have an effect on the product shelf life and needs to catch the eye of the consumer. There are some produce products that need to have a certain amount of air permeation to maintain the rate of respiration in order to extend the shelf life. In the case of many salad kits and potatoes, the use of pre-printed micro perforated top films allow for optimal labeling space without compromising shelf life. Similar to produce, various meat and protein products also commonly use paper board sleeves as well as adhesive top and bottom labels. While these methods tend to be labor intensive, they help to label the products and create brand recognition. In the case of a paper board sleeve they tend to appeal to our consumers that are looking for reductions in plastic use while often giving off that farm-to-table or rustic appearance. Adhesive, liner-less labels are commonly seen on skin packs as they lay directly on the hills and valleys of the product shape and reduce waste due to the lack of label lining.

C-Wraps are a great alternative to a top and bottom adhesive label as they also act as a tamper-proof solution. For many refrigerated and frozen products custom pre-printed boxes are an excellent form of labeling as there is optimal space for food graphics and cooking or preparation instructions. For various tray products that require top seals, many food manufacturers will use a pre-printed top seal rather than using an adhesive label or paper board sleeve over a clear top seal. This helps to reduce packaging steps.

Many packaging decisions as well as labeling decisions are driven by consumer demands. Today we are seeing demands for minimal materials reductions in plastics, sustainable and environmentally friendly products, brand recognition or a relationship with the brand, as well as an overall food experience. Consider another unique form of labeling that speaks to the customer, adhesive-free labeling, automatic sleeving, and heat free unitizing with ultrasonic technology. There are pros and cons to various forms of labeling in the food industry. While adhesive labels are beneficial in various food applications, they tend to leave a sticky residue on the product, have wasted liners, are commonly applied by hand, and can't withstand some shelf life extension technology such as HPP. Similar to various adhesive labels chipboard and paper board sleeves are commonly applied by hand which is a challenge most industries are faced with due to the fact that labor is expensive and hard to find and maintain. Sleeves don't use tension to be applied and can fall off of the product unless applied with glues or adhesives. When it comes to unitizing, shrink wraps, tapes, and rubber bands are commonly used. Many of these methods require additional materials, leave a sticky residue on the product, or require heat in a cold room. A tension applied band married up with ultrasonic technology eliminates the need for adhesives and glues and helps to increase throughput by being applied automatically. With the ability to switch between paper, plastic, or compostable film ultrasonic banding is an attractive way of labeling and unitizing. For products that may require variable data on their label, banners can be integrated with thermal transfer printers that can print lot numbers and best buy details directly onto the label band. Due to the fact that the band is applied with tension, it is great for stacking skin packs or unitizing various products. The ultrasonic weld also allows products to be labeled or sleeved prior to being HPP'd reducing operation steps and costs.

With our food friendly, stainless steel automation, food products can be stacked and unitized efficiently with a single system for club store applications without the need for heat or adhesives. Equipped with user-friendly operator access, adjustments can be made with ease. Following your upstream equipment, the FDA approved inclined in-feed conveyor receives the single products at up to 100 products per minute. Whether you want to run a three pack or four pack, adjustments can be made to suit your needs. Through downward stacking the system will produce 25 bundles of four minutes as shown here.

This stainless steel automated solution stacks downwards, counts the products, and pushes the completed stack into the ultrasonic bander. With a thermal transfer variable data printer information such as expiration dates and lot numbers can be printed live on the pre-printed banding materials. The pre-printed band is then applied to the multi-pack, consistently with the use of print mark registration. Banding is an adhesive-free labeling and unitizing solution, able to provide stunning graphics and bundle security. This system completes various steps with one solution for a sustainable and attractive multi-pack.

Did you know that you can run plastic, transparent film, paper, and compostable film with a single solution? Adhesive-free labeling, automatic sleeving, and heat-free unitizing with ultrasonic banding uses FDA and USDA approved water resistant plastics that are recyclable or paper that is palpable. All of the materials are GFSI certified, liner-less, specially formulated to run on the banding machines, can be pre-printed on both sides with vivid graphics, is applied with tension, and is durable in frozen and refrigerated environments. From an equipment standpoint there are various benefits of ultrasonic technology, from reducing packaging waste, to decreasing packaging steps through automation ultrasonic banding is a sustainable solution with standard or custom automation options for an attractive and efficient labeling and sleeving solution. What does this look like to the consumer? A clean, innovative, and attractive premium label.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to join us today. If you have any questions or want to learn more about labeling in the food industry please feel free to reach out. My contact details are below.

Have a great day!



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