According to a recent study by Package Insight, labels stimulate consumer attention to buy new products. Exciting label design trends have penetrated every corner of the food and beverage market. Moreover, brands are exploring innovative design and print technology to make their product packaging visually impressive and impactful on the shelf.
Greater Noida based Kumar Labels is a family-owned company in the label business for over a dozen years. Anuj Bhargav, its founder and chief executive, speaks about the latest trends in the labeling sector and says, “There is a huge demand for premiumization in this segment as preferences are changing across categories and a clear trend towards ‘stand out’ rather than ‘me too.’ With premium packaging, perceptions are changing about a brand and giving a kick to the market.”
Labels are the least expensive yet essential component in driving consumers to buy. “At Kumar labels, we are 360 degrees integrated with our customers because we make raw material, label stocks, and label applicators. Therefore, we can offer them a better price. Our focus on innovation, fast and agile equipment, reliable service, price, and our family legacy of working style makes us different.” The company understands the needs of the industry and guides its customers about legal mandatories for approvals, trade requirements for labels, and more.
Kumar Label’s business is primarily (80%) focused on the alcobev segment, and the remaining 20% is a mix of FMCG, cosmetics, food, and beverages such as Bisleri. It supplies labels to all the famous alcohol and spirit brands in the market, including Teachers, Jim Beam, Caption Morgan, Oaks Smith, Directors Special, B10 Premium, Rampur Single Malt, and many more. According to Bhargav, Alcobev is the only segment that requires high value add labels in high volumes.
Augmented reality interactive labels
A multitude of industries, from manufacturing to healthcare, are using augmented reality for a variety of applications such as product labeling. Earlier, labels were only a medium to depict information to consumers. Now consumer product businesses are giving labels life and their products a story, turning them into an interactive experience. The trend is demand driven by consumers looking for a more immersive shopping experience.
Kumar Labels thinks smart labeling will be the next big trend in the market. Having developed its ‘Play my Drink’ app, which can be subscribed to by all alcobev companies, Bhargav explains, “When we print labels for companies, we embed or encrypt some text or pattern in labels which this app or software recognizes. Every pattern or code printed by Kumar Label is unique and hence makes every bottle unique. These codes can be in either peel and reveal or peel off formats, depending on the level of interaction the brand wants with its customers.”
How does this work?
“When you order a drink X with this embedded label at the restaurant and scan it using the ‘Play my Drink’ app, immediately the pop up will ask you for feedback. Also, it will give you offers, for example, you may get a gift voucher of Rs 200 for a restaurant which will be linked to buying that drink X only, or you may get a free wine opener from Flipkart,” Bhargav explains.
This interactive model is designed in a way that it offers benefits to both parties – as a consumer, you get gifts, vouchers, and more. On the other side, the restaurant gains a loyal customer. Based on inputs in the app, data is collected about the consumer by brand owners as well as restaurants, which they can use to send relevant offers based on their consumption patterns, similar brands, and much more. Bhargav admits that it is all about building a loyal customer base through labels. “You could interact with the bottle to know more about the brand, try new recipes, and have a distillery tour through the app.”
Alcohol being a state excise matter where everything revolves around permits, the Government can use this tool by doing supply chain data integration. It can figure out if something wrong like smuggling is happening, such as a product meant for Delhi only is found in Chennai.
On the impact of Coronavirus, Bhargav says the company ran out of some varnishes from China. Now it has implemented contingency plans and tie-ups to ensure the timely supply of labels to its customers.
Smart labeling is the way forward
Kumar Labels is working on graphic and functional innovation in the supply chain model to make the order to delivery process smart, on time, and more efficient. Bhargav talks about another innovation, “We are working on labels that can light up. On the sustainability front, we are working on our single release, two faces (SRTF) technology, with 50% waste reduction, 60% carbon emission reduction, and a 20% total applied cost saving. SRTF is gaining more acceptance.”
In the coming years, security, sensory effects, customization, and smart and interactive labeling will be in demand. To make a stable connection with the consumer, brands need to exploit these technologies like interactive labeling, which will, in turn, become an opportunity not only to increase sales but also to improve brand loyalty.