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March 27, 2008
In an effort to reduce packaging, AgroLabs, a division of Integrated BioPharma Inc. called on Seal-It, a division of Printpack Inc., for a package and label solution for its nutraceutical beverage. AgroLabs was using two pressure-sensitive labels and an outer box for its retail presentation. In discussions with AgroLabs, we learned that AgoLabs was interested in presenting its product in an environmentally friendly way, but wanted to ensure major POP (point-of-purchase) on the retail shelf in order to differentiate the brand. In a co-branding agreement with Plastic Suppliers Inc., we proposed the company use a label made of PLA (polylactic acid) film, a relatively new kind of shrink film. PLA, a polymer made from plants, is environmentally friendly, compostable in industrial composting facilities and has great printability and machine-ability. In addition, the film shrinks to the contours of the glass bottle, providing top to bottom coverage and 360-degree real estate. This provides enough room for graphics, nutrition facts and product description on the beverage bottles.
Christina Kay, vice president of logistics at Integrated BioPharma and vice president/director of Agro Labs said, “We decided as a company to be more eco-friendly. We made the switch to PLA labels and wanted to ‘come out of the box,’ if you will: to start using more environmentally-friendly packaging.” In 2006, Agro Labs introduced its Naturally brand of liquid dietary supplements. Soon after, the company made a decision to move the bottles from paper pressure-sensitive labels to full-body sleeve labels from PLA. These shrink labels, converted and printed by Seal-It, are the first labels of their type that are commercially available.
PLA labels perform the same way other shrink film labels do, but they are made from a renewable, natural resource. They conform to the shape of the longneck bottle and shrink to the contours of the bottle. The labels are reverse-printed gravure in eight to nine colors on 2 mil gauge PLA. The vivid graphics for each flavor illustrates the contents of the nutraceutical within and provides a premium look.
With a goal of “changing one person at a time,” according to a company slogan, Agro recognizes the importance of package sustainability and the environment. Now, its bottle labels also include a statement headed with, “Where’s the box? In an effort to help protect the environment, reduce trash and conserve, AgroLabs had redesigned its products without the box. Furthermore, the shrink label is made from corn, so it’s environmentally friendly as well. We embrace the tremendous responsibility we have, as leaders in our industry, to use our talents, resources and technologies to provide the finest products in a manner that protects our precious environment.”
Barbara Drillings is the marketing and communications director for Seal-It, a division of Printpack Inc., which maintains a commitment to the environment and to its customers. While the company continues to offer shrink films made of PVC, PETG & OPS, it feels its customers have the right to a choice; therefore, it offers Earthfirst®PLA as an important option.
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