Part 2 | Cast Your Vote: Shrink Sleeve Labeling Material

by Kimberly Young

Well, like everyone else in the nation, we’ve been on the edge of our seats awaiting the results of the election – *ahem* I mean the second part of this shrink sleeve blog! 😉 If you missed out on part one (check it out here!), we last left off chatting about the diverse material types and the benefits of each.  We didn’t let our shrink candidates off the hook that easy, because part two is the juicy stuff we have been waiting for!  As a reminder, we called in the big guns, our key shrink sleeve material suppliers:

Now that we know the basics around shrink sleeve materials, we want to learn more about why brands in so many markets are switching to sleeves?  This is a question that all our candidates could agree on!  As Glackin-Hunt from PSI mentions, “Many markets are switching to sleeves because of 360° brand graphic potential – essentially great space for differentiating their products. The functional benefits of sleeves are also cited as reasons for switching from other decoration options.”  A perfect example of the functional benefits of shrink sleeves is tamper-evident bands.  But it is also worth mentioning that in some situations there are cost advantages.  Jeff Cole from Klockner Pentaplast shares, “The ease of processing sleeves has greatly improved over the years, plus there are cost advantages considering the entire packaging design. Pentalabel® eklipse® for example allows the light-blocking requirements to be transferred from the container itself to the label.  This allows brands to use a less expensive and easier to recycle, clear PET bottle instead.”

Now, we are dying to know…what is new or innovative coming down the pipeline in the world shrink sleeves?  Randall Welborn from Bonset spilled the tea sharing, “The biggest innovation currently taking place is the shift to crystallizable and floatable PET films which each provide unique solutions to the recyclability issue that has historically hindered PETG film processing at MRFs. Floatable films separate from the containers during the recycling process and are scrapped without affecting the recovery of the PET container while crystallizable films are capable of being recycled along with PET bottles without adversely affecting the PCR flake. We believe that both solutions will have unique opportunities to expand tremendously over the coming years as brands continue to prioritize recyclability.”

Cole, echoed that sentiment sharing, “Recyclable options to be sure.  KP will be launching, very soon, a new shrink sleeve that can be recycled alongside the APET bottle or the container it is applied to.”  Oofda, a lot of good teasers and exciting things to come!  Glackin-Hunt also made a great point that the partnership you have with your converters can provide innovation advantages as well, with techniques such as foil for metallic graphics, overprint varnishes, or even embossing that creates tactile areas which can bring your graphics to life!

 Last, but certainly not least, we asked what are the trends that you are seeing out in the market for shrink sleeves?  Cole shared, “We see sustainability continue to gain momentum in the sleeve marketplace.  Thinner and more recyclable options are being requested.”  This is probably not a shock to most who are here, as we alluded to that in the previous question.  However, we are seeing sustainability being top of mind in all end-use markets and all product offerings like cut and stack, pressure sensitive, and flexible packaging.  Glackin-Hunt agreed and added, “It’s an interesting time in shrink label decoration. The two most active trends are within sustainability and shorter runs for multiple SKUs.  There’s also a need for greater decoration flexibility. For example, companies with many SKU’s are taking advantage of shorter run labels for use on identical containers. This approach is ideal for seasonal releases and multiple offerings within a brand. Another example is promotional banding where two products are banded for consumer promotion. Whether an identical or associated product, we’re seeing many examples beyond club stores.”

A big shout out to our key shrink sleeve suppliers for all the great insight that they provided to each of us allowing us to learn more about the intricacies of shrink sleeves.  And, as in most things in life right now, there is not a black and white answer.  Inland is here to talk through your options and learn more about your project to help you make the best decision for your brand, your product, and your packaging!  Let’s Talk.