Labels will often have to withstand a magnitude of external aggressors after application. Which ones depend on the environment they'll be exposed to – throughout the complete life cycle of its component. So let's look at some critical elements within production, use, legislation and sustainability that might affect your labels.

A label is more than just design skills and creativity. The label also conveys important information such as barcodes, serial numbers, and product information. To ensure that your product preserves its information and labelling decor and embellishments throughout its complete life cycle, you should be especially aware of the following four elements:

#1: The label must be constructed for all intents and purposes

Have you thought about how the end consumer will use your product and what kind of wear and tear the label might be exposed to?

E.g.:

If the label of a shampoo bottle peels off because there is damp in the bathroom, or the label of a jar of jam fades if exposed to strong sunlight, this would be highly unfortunate for the customer experience.

Or even worse: If the label on prepacked food falls off due to cold or humid environments, the item can't be sold at all as the legal requirements for providing food information to consumers are rigid here in the UK.

Here are a couple of questions to help you consider what your label should be able to endure:

  • Will the label be exposed to an outdoor environment with a multitude of weather conditions?
  • Should it be permanently applied or easily removed?
  • What kind of surface will the label be attached to, and what's the temperature of this surface?

The labelling material also plays a massive part in your labelling abilities. Keeping in mind that we have hundreds of different front materials, adhesives, liners, functions and colours, the compositional options are practically endless. That's why it's crucial to choose a label manufacturer who has the expertise and experience to assess this for you.

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#2: The labels must endure transport and storage

transport and delivery of labels UK

Every time your products are transported, they are at risk of exposure to water, grease, or extreme temperatures. Subsequently, the adhesive and colouring may be affected if they, for instance, are contained for hours in a hot or ice-cold truck or outside in the rain during container loading.

If your products are stored in a warehouse, you should also be aware of the surrounding products. For example, if they are stored alongside oil-based products, they might be exposed to chemicals, which your labels may or may not be able to endure.

Durable labels require materials that can survive various environmental challenges. Improperly labelled materials can cause the label to:

  • Dissolve
  • Shrink
  • Melt
  • Burn
  • Discolour
  • Fall off

This, in turn, can lead to non-compliance with labelling rules, loss of traceability, product failure and so on.

Read more: Is your label supplier rigged for another crisis?

#3: Your labels must comply with rules and regulations

Rules for designing labels UK

In the UK, there are clear requirements for what the labelling of a product should look like, and as the product producer or importer, it’s ultimately your responsibility to ensure that your products are labelled with adequate and accurate information. The rules for labelling will vary depending on industry and segments, but the EU Packaging Waste Directive describes the essential requirements for health, safety and the environment that the packaging must meet.

Skanem UK has certifications within FSSC 22000 and BRC in all our factories that supply labels for food and beverage production.

Packaging and product information are also important when it comes to pharmaceutical products, requiring particularly strict quality control to meet the requirements of the pharmaceutical industry.

In any case, you should choose a label manufacturer that has familiarized themselves with the rules that apply to your products.

# 4 Your labels should adhere to strict sustainability requirements

Sustainable labels on packaging UK

Your labels should also withstand being assessed against a sustainable standard. This means meeting increased demands from both authorities and consumers. According to a survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group, 3 out of 4 consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging.

Read more: How mono-materials in labelling contributes to a circular economy

To achieve more environmentally friendly packaging, the labels play a big role. There are many measures such as the use of digital prints, recyclable materials, eco-friendly inks, or mono-material, which make your labels and packaging greener.

The most optimal solution for your products will be an overall assessment. In order for your products to have a better environmental profile, you should make a critical review of the packaging's life cycle, from raw material extraction to waste management.

By thinking holistically about the life cycle of the packaging, the overall environmental impacts can be mapped so that you avoid implementing measures that improve conditions in one section while increasing the environmental disadvantages in others. 

Optimal labels for your products

Succeeding in packaging and labels is more complex than you might think. You must meet several requirements from both authorities and consumers. You also have to choose the right materials so that the embellishment and decor, labelling, and product information all stay with your product - throughout its life cycle.

"Packaging and labelling no longer have a "one size fits all" solution."

Here at Skanem UK, we know this well. To find the optimal solutions for your particular labels, we have experts who understand your specific needs and are available to solve your problems.

If you find that your current labels are not of satisfactory quality, we will be happy to help you with that.

Packaging and labelling trends uk label manufacturer Skanem UK