In-mold Labeling Market – Global Industry Insights, Trends, Outlook, and Opportunity Analysis, 2017-2025

In-mold labeling is a process used for labeling or decorating an object while it is being formed in the mold. Merging the decoration process and molding process cuts total production cost but increases manufacturing time. The in-mold labeling (IML) technology permits design flexibility and production gains over conventional post-molding labeling and decorating technologies. IML enables the use of several colors, special effects, and textures in a single operation. IMLs are long lasting and visually appealing. As in-mold labeling and decorating are completed using plastic injection molded process, no secondary procedures are needed, thus excluding post-molding labeling, decorating labor, equipment costs, and time. As packaging and labeling are prepared using the same material, the package is fully biodegradable. Due to lightweight and ability to be stacked tightly, it results in decreased delivery discharges, less wasted space, and a much smaller transportation footprint. IMLs also result in lesser break waste and is safer than glass and metals.

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In-mold labels minimize manual operations such as hand finishing, polishing, finishing, and changing of stack mold after every operation. In-mold labeling is not an instant-access technology. The production of IMLs needs substantial investment. The market has the most complex structure and value chain configuration of any packaging decoration method, involves raw material suppliers, printers/converters, mold-makers, molders, suppliers of robotics, as well as knowledgeable end users, with the resultant high barriers to entry at all levels.

In-mold Label Market Taxonomy

On the basis of production process, the in-mold label market is classified into:

    • Injection molding
    • Extrusion-blow molding
    • Thermoforming

On the basis of material, the in-mold label market is classified into:

    • Polypropylene (PP)
    • Polyethylene (PE)
    • ABS Resins
    • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
    • Others

On the basis of printing technology, the in-mold label market is classified into:

    • Flexographic Printing
    • Offset Printing
    • Gravure Printing
    • Digital Printing
    • Others

On the basis of ink used, the in-mold label market is classified into:

    • UV curable inks
    • Water soluble inks
    • Thermal-cure inks
    • Others

On the basis of end-use industry, the in-mold label market is classified into:

    • Personal care
    • Automotive
    • Food & Beverage
    • Medical
    • Chemical storage
    • Others

Polypropylene (PP) is the largest used material due to its excellent moisture-resistant properties. Majority in-molds deploy injection molding as it helps in providing a three-dimensional effect to the labels on various products such as food & beverages, cosmetics, and automotive parts. The food & beverage industry represents the biggest market for in-mold labeling. This is due to the growing demand for packaged foods in various emerging countries.

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Market Outlook

    • IML is gaining immense traction in emerging nations of Asia Pacific due to the increasing demand for efficient, innovative, and premium labels. This is attributed to the increasing consumer awareness about the trends related to packaged food and rising consumption of containers and bottled packaging. The region has amplified the growth of the IML market due to its growing customer base and increasing demand for packaged and branded products in emerging markets such as China and India. The advent of e-retail as well as the increasing cross-border trading have helped leading brand-owners to promote sales of their international brands in the fastest-growing economies of Asia Pacific.
    • The North American and European markets create substantial opportunities to the in-mold labeling market due to the presence of a large number of market players and the changing government policies pertaining to sustainable labels, which have led to technological advancements
    • Africa offers the in-mold labeling market a major development opportunity. This is due to the presence of under-developed economies, which are on the edge of growth, in this region. The Middle East market is driven by the need for product identification and classification for their endorsement drives in the food & beverage sector
    • Growth opportunity for IML market in South America is significant owing to the growing global consumer economy. This has been achieved due to the increased exports and establishment of various local regional manufacturing and packaging operations in the emerging countries such as Brazil and Argentina. The presence of major packaged food industries such as Nestle and Heinz drives the demand for in-mold market for better and efficient packaging.

As the use of three-dimensional (3D) printing is becoming popular in IML printing, in-mold labels can be created in the shape of the product or part they’ll cover while delivering a 3-D effect. That means, the elaborate designs such as camouflage patterns can easily be applied to durable goods with no buckling, stretching, or wrinkling. Some of the major players include Avery Dennison, CCL Industries, Constantia Flexibles, Coveris, EVCO Plastics, and Inland labels.

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