UPM Raflatac cheers up cans as it targets craft beverages

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

"By using a clear label, you can artistically let the can show through." Picture: ©UPM Raflatac
"By using a clear label, you can artistically let the can show through." Picture: ©UPM Raflatac

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UPM Raflatac says the launch of its craft beverage label stocks will help producers communicate an artisan image on cans.

The packaging format is increasingly being used​ by the sector as it has a better price point, but needs to meet the premium image craft producers want to present.  

Craft beverage producers use specialised ingredients and methodologies to create individual flavours. Trevor Richardson, market development manager, UPM Raflatac Americas, told FoodProductionDaily.com the label stocks have been designed to help cans, bottles and PET match these values.

Premium appearance and feel

“The use of cans for craft beverages is a trend we have been seeing,” ​he said. “Cans are efficient for shipping and storage, as they allow for better maximization of space compared to bottles.

“Applying our Vanish label stock to a can results in a premium appearance and feel - narrow web label printers can achieve excellent opacity and textured surfaces. By using a clear label, you can artistically let the metal can show through in varying opacities - silver or gold accents, metalized colors or fully opaque areas.  

“This is shown in the design of our Vanish label on the can (pictured) – with blue metallic mountains, an opaque white area where graphics and logos are located, and silver shining through as accents.”

Using the Vanish film instead of paper labels or thicker clear films lets brands include marketing initiatives such as QR codes, Richardson added.

Seasonal blends and limited editions

UPM Raflatac’s craft beverage label stocks can be used with glass, PET and aluminium cans.

“Using a thin gauge polyester (PET) face stock and liner, we achieved the balance of density and clarity – improving the visual appearance on the package as well as yield and environmental impact compared to traditional paper and thicker film label products,” ​Richardson said.  

“Applying Vanish labels to a can fell into place extremely well – virtually disappearing and conforming to the aluminum can.”

The labeling system offers flexibility to accommodate launches of seasonal blends and limited editions, furthering the attraction to craft beverage producers, Richardson added.

“This decorating method is versatile for smaller quantity production or product family grouping, as well as cost efficient for large production runs,” ​he said.

“Typical pre-printed can minimums can be in the 95,000 (a truckload) quantity range. By purchasing "blank" cans and labeling with Vanish, craft beverage manufacturers have flexibility. Significantly lower minimum purchasing quantities allow for more flavor extensions, seasonal blends and marketing promotions.”  

“The total overall cost of decorating in this method is offset by having lower inventories (of pre-printed cans), warehousing optimization and increased revenues - statistics show new products or brand extensions give an opportunity to increase revenues in seasonal or limited launches.”

From beer to energy drinks

The labels are suitable for beer, wine, and liquors; as well as non-alcoholic beverages such as energy drinks, flavored waters and speciality sodas.

UPM Raflatac offers textured, colored and metallized papers, as well as clear or white films.

Label stocks use adhesives that have been tailored to automated packaging and are strong on bottles and cans, the company claims.

“We have identified adhesive performances to fit a wide array of end-use environments and conditions – for example, an adhesive that will not whiten when the labeled product is submerged in water or ice such as a cooler or ice chest,” ​Richardson said. 

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