Bobst reveals four global packaging label trends

Bobst has announced four trends set by labels that are gaining traction in the packaging segment.

08 Jun 2019 | By Abhishek Muralidharan

Federico D'Annunzio, product owner, hybrid and label printing, Bobst

These trends are: the integration of digital and analog, the rise of customisation and premium labels, the demand for better colour control, and the increase of automation and Internet of Things (IoT) based applications.

According to Federico D'Annunzio, product owner, hybrid and label printing, Bobst, the label sector has been an early adopter of digital printing, as the digitally-printed labels have been driven by market demands for shorter-runs, customised packaging, sustainability and the need to make the products stand out.

D'Annunzio said, “The label printing industry has been willing to embrace change and pioneer new printing and converting methods. The result in recent years has been an increasing number of label types and variety of labels in the industry.”

The first trend focuses on the rise of customisation and premium labels where the demand is evolving towards smaller runs, greater cost constraints and eventually the transformation of the entire digital workflow.”Being able to produce results with maximum flexibility to an optimum economic value, will give digital printing a huge foothold in all the sectors.”

“The online ‘digital product’ is growing in importance; sophisticated software is enabling more of the design, approval and marketing process to be completed using the digital product. This will change the working dynamic between converters/printers and brand owners as they will share more digitised cooperation throughout the workflow,” he added.

The rise of customisation and premium labels is another trend in the packaging space.

Small and large brands are promoting ‘targeted campaigns’, where the labels alone can enhance the apparent quality of a product. Different print effects –  such as hot foil stamping, cold foil stamping and gravure printing – are used to embellish the labels to give them a more ‘premium’ appearance, as are tactile or haptic effects using processes like spot varnishing. 

In addition to it, the brand owners have a great demand for colour consistency and this is what the third trend focuses on. 

D'Annunzio said, “The brand owners know that their customers subconsciously look to the packaging and the label for cues about quality, so any discrepancy issues with brand colours can lead to a negative perception. We will likely see a better fit in the industry between conventional flexo, Extended Colour Gamut (ECG) and digital printing technologies, all used optimally to meet the increasing demand for labels.”

The final trend sheds light on the increase in automation and Internet of Things (IoT) as it leads to an integrated workflow optimisation to the market that satisfies consumer demands. “These systems can link to cloud applications and monitor machines and productivity. Higher levels of automation have an impact on the type of personnel needed.”

Beyond labels, the analysts at Bobst expect strong growth in the digital space for corrugated boards, folding cartons and flexible packaging-based applications.