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Typically, packaging demand holds up better in a recession than, say, the demand for new cars, consumer electronics and the like because, unlike all of these, eating and drinking are not optional. But what happens to high-end packaging, the type using in-mold labeling (IML) to accent it?

Matt Defosse

March 27, 2009

2 Min Read
Is IML recession-proof?

edaily_Mar30_Verstraete.jpg

Recently, Verstraete supported this new IML margarine container launched in Columbia.

Typically, packaging demand holds up better in a recession than, say, the demand for new cars, consumer electronics and the like because, unlike all of these, eating and drinking are not optional. But what happens to high-end packaging, the type using in-mold labeling (IML) to accent it? MPW posed the question to Dieter Maes, key account manager at Verstraete, a company active in the sector for more than 19 years as a supplier of offset-printing labels on polypropylene for injection molding and blowmolding applications. The company numbers among the leading IML-label suppliers, producing more than 25 million daily.

According to Maes, “The first quarter of 2009 has been good for us. We could even talk of growth compared to 2008.” He adds, though, that this doesn't necessarily portend a trend that will carry for the entire year because many injection molders (especially those processing packaging for salad spreads and ice cream) are currently building their stocks for the brand owners. If consumers eat enough of these salads and ice cream this spring and summer, then Verstraete can expect a good year with reorders aplenty. “The real evaluation can be made during September,” notes Maes.

Maes says the company sees no downturn yet based on the number of new IML projects starting in 2009, noting a few major brand owners in Europe, the U.S. and Russia chose to change to IML labeling, he says.

The label supplier also recently supported an IML container launched in Colombia, where for the past few months Campi-brand margarine has been sold in new packaging. The new packaging (see photo above) is quite different from the previous deep-drawn rectangular container, which featured direct offset printing. The new packaging offers a new oval shape and transpar¬ent colored lids. Working with Verstraete on this project were moldmaker Stackteck, CBW Automation for IML robots, and injection molding machine maker Husky. [email protected]

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