by Melissa Donovan
Part 2 of 4
There is an influx of health and beauty consumer products on the market. This includes staples that have been around for years, but more importantly for our discussion—these brands are constantly making deals with other companies to offer limited time, capsule collections.
The collections are sometimes rolled out simultaneously with a new television show or the launch of a movie; other times it’s a seasonal approach for a specific holiday. In either scenario, smaller product runs necessitate smaller runs of packaging and labels. Digital printing is poised for success here.
According to Ryan Chai, strategic solutions manager, Nobelus, “in the health and beauty market, digital printing has become popular because label converters can easily achieve quality results while turning around small 1,000 to 5,000 label jobs.”
With these smaller, limited job opportunities, Kim Hensley, senior marketing manager, Mactac, notes that converters want to order what they want when they need it, without stocking a large inventory. Digital printing enables this, enhancing opportunities and generating additional revenue.
“Digital printing allows for convertors to customize and capitalize efficiencies within the print run. For brands it allows for a tailored message to different regions. The label is the first interaction a brand has with a consumer, so this connects the brand closer to the consumer,” agrees Dan Riendeau, strategic business unit manager – packaging, FLEXcon Company, Inc.
Popular substrates used for health and beauty consumer product labeling include polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE). According to Chai, “the cosmetic and health and wellness markets prioritize extraordinary film clarity, highly refined matte laminates, and other aesthetic qualities.”
PP is preferred for a number of reasons related to these points. “It is usually produced in clear, clear matte, white, or silver and is frequently a biaxially oriented film. PP exhibits excellent chemical resistance and can withstand exposure to a variety of container contents,” says Riendeau.
Another option is PE, which is commonly used for flexible container labeling. “Available primarily in clear, clear matte, and white matte, but also in metallized, PE comes in gauges ranging from 1.5 to 4 mil. PE features excellent chemical resistance and can withstand exposure to container contents. It is often produced by either being blown or cast extruded. The blown version is stiffer than a cast product, while the cast version is a non-oriented, flexible substrate ideal for applications that require extreme deformability or squeezability such as full-squeeze labels,” shares Riendeau.
Label adhesion is a common challenge due to the variety and type of product packaging materials used in the consumer space. “Most beverage and health and beauty packages are made of low-surface energy substrates, such as low-density PE, high-density PE (HDPE), cardboard, plastic films, PP, and polyester, which can be difficult to adhere to when it comes to labeling. Adhesives play a crucial role in label functionality, performance, and appearance,” notes Hensley.
The health and beauty space continually strives for eco-friendly practices in both its product and packaging.
“Downgauging, sourcing post-consumer recycled materials, and adoption of compostable and recyclable materials are key sustainability objectives in the prime label industry. Some markets, such as health and wellness, have margin expectations that enable them to adopt technology like compostable facestocks along with more flexibility in terms of application engineering,” explains Chai.
As such, label media manufacturers take these objectives into account when creating their products. Many are then certified by third-party organizations to verify their stance. For example, Mactac was granted Critical Guidance Recognition (CGR) from the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) for its PP pressure-sensitive label materials with a hot-melt adhesive for HDPE containers.
“During Critical Guidance testing, Mactac labels demonstrated compatibility with standard HDPE container recycling practices and remained in place without impacting the physical properties of the recycled HDPE pellets. With the accolade, Mactac becomes the first label manufacturer to receive CGR for a hot-melt adhesive,” says Hensley.
With the growing need for sustainability in health and beauty and consumer products, Mactac offers PP labelstocks that meet the highest recyclability standards in PET bottle labeling. PP labelstocks with PUREfloat adhesive are recognized by the APR and meet CGR. PUREfloat floats off PET clamshells, bottles, and other containers during the washing process for recycling—leaving no adhesive residue behind. This allows the recycled PET to be utilized for new, high-value products.
Consumer-based product is vulnerable to counterfeiting and the health and beauty segment is no exception.
“Certain niches within these markets are concerned about counterfeiting, diversion, and security. Health and wellness and pharmaceuticals typically consider diversion, which is the unauthorized selling of a product outside the authorized distribution channel by an unauthorized seller, as much a concern as counterfeiting. Digital variable data, holographic elements, watermarking, and invisible inks create robust solutions to these daily problems,” recommends Chai.
Beautification for Digital
Health and beauty products benefit from digital printing technology and the materials used for labeling.
The next article in these series looks at labels used for products in durables or harsh environments.
Read part one here.
Apr2023, Industrial Print Magazine