Sticking to Trends

How to Stay Ahead of the Labeling Curve in 2013

An executive from a packaging association discusses trends in labels.

Julie Ackerman is PMMI's senior director PR/communications.By Julie Ackerman, PMMI

Labels are often the face of a brand’s image, ensuring quality and educating the consumer on the benefits of both the product and its packaging. Yet, even with so much functionality, labels still offer a wealth of untapped potential for manufacturers. In PMMI’s 2012 Trends in Labeling market research study, manufacturers from a variety of industries, including dairy, discussed some of the opportunities and challenges encountered when looking for innovative branding solutions. Following are some labeling trends that will help dairy manufacturers rethink their package designs.

Sleeves are “stretching”and “shrinking”
Manufacturers in the food and beverage industry are reducing their use of pressure sensitive labels and see shrink and stretch sleeve labels as alternatives. Shrink and stretch sleeve labels offer a number of product differentiation advantages, including a 360-degree surface to print nutritional content, barcodes, enhanced images and other information. These labels are predominately used in the food and beverage sectors, including for many dairy applications. In fact, in PMMI’s report, one contract packager specifically cited that its use of shrink sleeves on pre-made yogurt cups will increase by five percent.

Inks run hot and cold
Innovations in ink are also driving change in labeling. Thermochromatic inks, for example, change color as the temperature increases or decreases. Food and beverage companies, especially dairy companies, are looking to use labels printed with thermochromatic inks as “thermometers” to indicate the freshness of dairy products. In doing so, brands hope to establish an advantage over competitors while promoting food safety and quality.

Consumer engagement
As penetration of the smartphone market increases to 46 percent of adults in America, manufacturers are leveraging QR codes to stay ahead of the m-commerce curve. QR codes can be printed onto a label for scanning by the consumer; the consumer can then be redirected to the brand’s mobile web. It is estimated that of all smartphone users, 33 percent have downloaded QR code readers. With immediate access to online content, dairy manufacturers see an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with their customers by linking them to video, text, or landing pages on their mobile devices.

Manufacturers in the dairy sector can learn more about the latest innovations in package design, as well as solutions surrounding important industry issues, including food safety, at PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013 (September 23-25; Las Vegas Convention Center). Admission to the show is $30 through September 9th and $60 thereafter. To register for PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013 or for more information, visit

A full copy of PMMI’s 2012 Trends in Labeling market research study is available to members free of charge at and at a cost of $3,500 for non-members).

Julie Ackerman is PMMI's senior director PR/communications.

About PMMI

PMMI is a trade association representing 600+ packaging and processing supply chain companies that provide a full range of packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. PMMI actively brings buyers and sellers together through its various programs including: The PACK EXPO family of trade shows,, PMT Magazine, PACK EXPO Show Daily, networking events, educational programs and more.


PMMI organizes the PACK EXPO trade shows: PACK EXPO International, PACK EXPO Las Vegas, PACK EXPO East, EXPO PACK Mexico and EXPO PACK Guadalajara, connecting participants in the packaging and processing supply chain with their customers around the world. Coming Up: EXPO PACK México, June 18-21, 2013 in Mexico City, Mexico; PACK EXPO Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center, September 23-25, 2013; PACK EXPO International 2014 at McCormick Place in Chicago; Nov. 2-5, 2014, PACK EXPO East at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, February 2-4, 2015; EXPO PACK Guadalajara, March 18-20, 2015 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

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