Shrink Sleeve Labels give packaging a new look without investment risk


Competition for shelf space in stores is ever increasing. Each brand and product must stand out on the shelf from other similar products. Digital printing enables packaging to be customised for a unique appearance.

Packaging is a significant media and marketing channel, so the visual appearance of the package is worth capitalising on as much as possible. Digital printing has enabled the immensely popular mass-customisation of beverage brands. A good example of this is the famous Coca Cola promotion where the most popular first names or travel destinations were printed on the bottle labels. This made us think of new ways to make the most of labelling in product promotion.

Three top Finnish companies, Auraprint, UPM Raflatac and Foodwest, combined forces and knowledge. Together, they provide the packaging industry — and especially the food and beverage industry — with a unique opportunity to test shrink sleeve labelling technology in their products free of machinery-related investment risk.

The popularity of sleeves or shrink film labels continues to raise quickly in Europe, North America and Asia. Sleeves are especially popular in the packaging of beverages, cosmetics and various cleaners and detergents. The food industry has seen a rapid increase of sleeves in the labelling for yoghurts, dressings and confectionery.

Sleeve labels increase the printable surface on the product packaging and enable the entire package surface to be used to benefit its visual appearance.


Think of the added value and new uses for traditional packaging. Sleeves bring you more visibility on store shelves, and testing sleeves is now easier than ever before.


Picture: Vesta Mäki, Foodwest


Customers can now test sleeve labels on new packaging or their own current products. The first step is ensuring that the packaging shape is appropriate for using a sleeve and that there are no other restrictions regarding size or appearance. In collaboration, the three Finnish manufacturers produce small test batches, as well as larger production batches. UPM Raflatac supplies high-quality shrink films from their factory in Tampere with fast delivery times and, if required, also in small batches. In Turku, Auraprint prints new designs on the sleeve materials provided by UPM Raflatac. The printed shrink films are then transported to Seinäjoki and shrunk onto the packaging at the Foodwest factory. The shrink sleeve test batches provide the customer with information on market requirements and consumer needs and, based on this information, the customer is then able to make a decision on whether or not to invest in a sleeve labelling machine.

Auraprint was the first Finnish printing house to start printing shrink sleeves — as early as 2010. Experience has shown that the best end result is achieved when the bottle and its visual appearance are initially designed to support sleeving.

The tasty smoothies developed and manufactured by Foodwest are bottled in sleeve labelled bottles that may have, for example, a photo of the company experts and contact information printed on the sleeve. This way, the smoothies are not only tasty drinks, but also a calling card. The company also developed a concept together with the Ilves hockey team, where the team players were printed on sleeve labelled smoothie bottles. The bottles could then be collected, like traditional trading cards.

The only limit is your imagination when it comes to designing new solutions for your company to stand out on the store shelf. If you contact the Auraprint, Foodwest or UPM Raflatac experts, they will work with you to design a completely unique concept for your company using sleeve labelling technology and digital printing!



Original blogpost published in 5.9.2017 in Finnish

Kaisa Penttilä
Development Manager, quality and food safety, production and packaging, projects and financing, Foodwest Oy

Foodwest Oy has worked in collaboration with Auraprint Oy since 2014. Kaisa works as an external expert for Auraprint and deals with issues concerning food safety and quality control. Her areas of responsibility include packaging material declarations of conformity, HACCP team meetings and internal audits. Kaisa has extensive experience as an expert in quality management, production and product development. She has an understanding of the quality and food safety system structures and works to apply them in practice, based on the customer’s needs. Kaisa feels passionate about helping companies in the food industry by providing practical suggestions for creating functional tools to improve the quality, profitability and productivity of the companies.