Clean Labels Dominated in 2018, But What Label Trends are Predicted for 2019?

Labelling Industry Predictions for the Year Ahead

New technology, more personalised demands and a drive towards sustainability are set to be among the biggest influencers of 2019.

2018 has been a year of evolution and development in the label industry. This has not just been a matter of new technological innovation and its impact on the sector – although this has certainly played a major role. There have also been gradual but significant shifts in attitude, changing customer demands and priorities.

This time last year, we talked about clarity and transparency being the watchwords for 2018, and this has proved to be the case. Some of the biggest name food brands are bowing to the pressure of consumers and campaign groups and adopting voluntary labelling to give quick information at a glance regarding the nutritional value and overall healthiness of its leading products. What will be the most influential trends for the year ahead?

Technology marches on

At Labelexpo Americas 2018, there were a host of both inkjet and hybrid label production systems on display that showed these to have gone from new innovation to industry standard. 2019 will see the roll out of what is called Industry 4.0 technology, which is focussed on increasing automation, control and efficiency.

Big data is a hot topic across multiple industries, and we can expect it to play its role here, too. Machine learning algorithms will be able to analyse vast quantities of data to identify trends and produce far more accurate estimations, processes and control measures.

Technological advances will also allow the hybrid presses that are already part of the industry landscape to do much more, leading to better consistency and reduced waste.

Sustainability is vital

On the subject of reducing waste, this is just one area of sustainability that is certain to fall under the microscope in 2019. Again, Labelexpo provides a road sign as to where the industry is heading, and the Ecovillage was probably the most talked-about aspect to the entire event.

Sustainability means more than just opting for recycled and recyclable products and seeking energy efficient production methods, though, important though these are. In the year ahead, the focus will be on a more holistic approach to sustainability that encompasses the entire supply chain, from the pre-press process to the environmental information shared on the label itself.

Tailored services

From a marketing perspective, the world is becoming increasing segmented and bespoke. One size fits all solutions just don’t work any more, and this presents a challenge that bulk manufacturing industries like the labelling sector will have to meet head on in 2019.

Customisation and personalisation of labels and packaging will therefore be core to strategic thinking. Innovative technology, such as photonic printing, will have a strong role to play here in creating labels that really stand out from the crowd and help companies foster better and more loyal customer relationships.

These are three of the main drivers that are set to influence the industry over the months ahead. Let’s take a look this time next year and see just how much they will prove to have done so.