Primary Packaging Labels

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This study analyzes the United States market for primary packaging labels. In the context of this report, a label is defined as any material adhered to an object to indicate contents, pricing, ownership, directions, destinations, ratings, warnings, or other information. Decorative decalcomanias (decals) and stickers are also included.

Primary packaging markets include:

  • food (e.g., meat, poultry, seafood, baked goods, produce, dairy products, candy and confections, frozen foods, grain mill products, dry foods such as pasta)
  • beverages (e.g., beer, wine, spirits, carbonated soft drinks, juice and fruit drinks, milk, ready-to-drink coffee and tea, sports and energy drinks, still and sparkling water)
  • pharmaceuticals – both ethical and over-the-counter
  • cosmetics and toiletries (e.g., skin care, hair care, and oral care products; cosmetics; fragrances; antiperspirants and deodorants; shaving products)
  • other primary packaging (e.g., automotive chemicals, household cleaning chemicals, architectural paint, medical devices, apparel and textiles, lawn and garden products, paper and plastic products, sporting goods, tobacco, toys)

Primary packaging labels are evaluated by application method:

  • pressure sensitive
  • heat shrink and stretch sleeve
  • glue-applied
  • in-mold (via blow molding, injection molding, thermoforming)
  • heat transfer
  • other application methods, including non-shrink wraparound, heat-seal, gummed, and foam

Excluded from the study are:

  • adhesive notes (e.g., 3M’s Post-it notes)
  • adhesive-backed envelopes
  • cloth and woven labels (e.g., garment labels)
  • decorative pressure sensitive tapes
  • graphic films
  • EAS tags (although the labels used in conjunction with EAS tags are covered)
  • label/form combinations
  • labels printed directly onto containers without the use of an intervening substrate
  • postage stamps issued by the US Postal Service (however, blank labels for postage meters and online purchases of postage are included)
  • rigid metal labels
  • tags
  • unprinted shrink neckbands

Historical data for 2010, 2015, and 2020 and forecasts for 2025 and 2030 are presented in current US dollars at the manufacturers’ level (which are not adjusted to account for inflation).

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