“Labels and packaging are one of the most important pieces of advertising for the wine and beer markets. Research shows that people make decisions based on how impactful labels and packaging can be when it comes to consumers and their purchasing decisions. That being said, it is crucial for brands to have labels that will stand out on the shelf and grab a consumer’s attention.”
That’s Kim Young, marketing communications specialist at Inland Packaging. And Inland Packaging should know a thing or two about the power of decorative labeling. Though the La Crosse, Wisconsin-based company offers everything from shrink sleeves to cut-and-stack to pressure-sensitive labels to various narrow web flexible packaging today, it got its start in the big beer and craft beer markets – markets that are riddled with competition and where various brands yearn to stand out. In fact, next to the food and beverage market, Young says the beer and wine market is still the company’s biggest to date.
“There are many options on the table to reach consumers in a unique way,” she says. “We offer many enhancements that can be added to the various label types, starting at the baseline with the substrate itself. In the beer and wine markets, much of what we see on store shelves involves the standard white or metalized paper. There are options to utilize specialty craft papers that provide a more natural and craft look that these consumers have a tendency to gravitate towards. We recently had a unique project for one of our customers where they utilized a holographic pressure-sensitive substrate on one of their brews. This is a perfect example of how the look of the substrate can set a can or bottle apart on the shelf by utilizing an ‘outside of the box’ substrate when the branding justifies it.
“Another avenue that can be pursued is the use of specialty inks and coatings. There is a lot that can be done with inks and coatings to provide depth and pop on a package. We consistently see the use of metallic inks or tactile varnishes that can catch consumers’ eye on the shelves. One step past the metallic inks is the use of foil stamping. Foil stamping can add a distinct shine and textural element to the label.”
Inland Packaging’s roots date back to the 1970s when it first started producing labels for a local brewer. Today, Inland operates four production facilities – two in La Crosse, one in Neenah, Wisconsin, and the other in Downington, Pennsylvania. More than 400 full-time employees work at the four locations. Throughout its locations, the company houses 21 flexo presses, 6 offset presses, 2 gravure presses, and it recently acquired a digital presses. Since its founding, the company has evolved from a label maker to a one-stop-shop of sorts for converting and printing.
Shrink Sleeves Continue Surge
“We have seen substantial growth in the last few years in shrink sleeves, especially in the beverage markets,” notes Young. “In fact, according to a Nielsen study, the sales of wine in cans grew by 125 percent in 2016 from 2015. We are seeing that same growth within the big beer and craft beer segments. Much of the can ‘buzz’ can be attributed to what consumers are demanding in the marketplace. Consumers want convenience — to be able to take their beverage of choice on the go without their taste buds being affected. Cans with a shrink sleeve label offer just that.”
Redesigning with a Punch
Punch’d Energy is a company born by two parents of a trio of teenagers. Worried that their children had fallen into bad dietary habits to get their energy boosts, John Pinelli and his wife founded Punch’d Energy and released their flagship product, the all-natural Punch’d Gummies, to the market. But they quickly faced a big issue: Based on customer feedback, it was determined that the current Punch’d Gummies single-serve packaging didn’t convey the company as a legitimate brand. For a new company, gaining credibility and legitimacy is essential. What’s more is their target consumer was not the teenage and college student demographic that they intended it to be – it was actually on-the-go mothers. Based on these factors, Punch’d Energy decided to rebrand its packaging with Inland Packaging.
To appeal to on-the-go mothers, Inland redesigned the original single-serve package as a pouch to make it easier to handle. It also included a metalized, zipper pouch for added convenience. Upon launching the new package to the market, Punch’d Energy saw sales increase by nearly 50 percent just in the first month alone.