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Economic and lifestyle changes, and a growing focus on sustainable packaging, is leading to rapid growth in the labels market.

Global researcher Smithers Pira said these trends would drive market growth by 5.4 per cent annually between 2016 and 2021 to $44.8 billion.

Its report, The Future of Labels and Release Liners to 2021, shows brand owners are focusing more on

  1. Source reduction and sustainable packaging
  2. Consumer demand for convenience food
  3. The growing presence of large retail chains.

The researcher said label market demand was being driven by the relatively low cost with which labelling can be replaced or changed, and a continuing need for barcodes and other secondary packaging applications that support food safety and pharmaceutical compliance issues.
 
Drinks markets are dominating label consumption also.

Alcoholic drinks are the main end-use market for labels, accounting for a projected 27.5 per cent share of global label consumption in 2016.

The alcoholic drinks market growth is supported by booming hospitality and tourism industries in large cities, the influence of western culture on young people in emerging economies, and increasing disposable incomes among the growing middle class in Asia.
 
Smithers Pira said sustainable packaging and labelling was growing in popularity due to an increasing focus by brand owners on carbon footprint and life cycle impact analysis.

Retail chains and brand owners were reacting to growing interest from consumers concerned with depletion of fossil resources and climate change, and taking initiatives to evaluate the packaging and labels used by their suppliers in terms of source reduction, eco-friendliness, and cost reduction.

The growing trend towards sustainability in packaging and labelling means linerless labelling systems are gaining in popularity.

These eliminate the need for non-recyclable release liners, and reel changes are quicker and easier.

Linerless technology also provides full-colour, high-end graphics, together with the option to print on the back of the label for promotional, coupon and instructional applications.

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