Tea Packaging: Understanding Label Material Types and Choosing the Right One

The world of labels and label material is far more extensive than you think. While we often don't give a second thought to labels, they can be viewed as the product's identity and the thing that will grab a customer’s attention first.

Labels can be made from various materials, each possessing its own unique look and feel. So, here are the most popular label materials, where you will most likely find them, and what they’re best for, in additions to tips and insights.

The Power of Labels

One aspect many business owners and brand leaders overlook when comparing how a label looks and feels is how powerful a label can be. If you think about something like tea, we are accustomed to seeing boxes, packages and jars on the shelf – sometimes with the teabags or loose-leaf tea being almost unidentifiable. Thus, it’s critical to think about how labels impact the presentation, and then pick the right one for your product.

White Paper Labels

White paper labels are the most economical choice for products that don’t need to withstand water, oils or chemicals. The simple label material allows your logo design and slogan to pop, as it provides a great backdrop for color. 

White paper labels may not have the same ability to withstand the elements, but they are perfect for products that should remain dry.

Overprint Labels

Overprint labels are extremely common for consumer goods businesses that would like to stock one label and overprint it with variable data. They are incredibly versatile, as they can be custom-made for anything from food packaging to cosmetic labeling. 

Overprinted blank labels can also be applied by hand, making them the go-to choice for businesses that have yet to invest in label printers.

White Vinyl Labels

White vinyl labels are easily some of the most durable around. They are waterproof, oil-resistant, weather-resistant and chemical-resistant. They have a strong adhesive and are often used for lip balms, beauty products and even household cleaners.

White Plastic Removable Labels

White plastic removable labels look similar to other white labels but have a much weaker adhesive. These labels are waterproof and oil-resistant but are designed to be removed easily without leaving any glue or residue on the object it's placed on. 

These labels will often be found on products with a reusable element, such as food jars.

Holographic Plastic Labels

Holographic plastic labels feature a colorful substrate that is aimed at catching the attention of passers-by. Not only do the labels look great, but they are highly versatile, waterproof and oil-resistant, and they can be used on a variety of products from wine bottles to tea packaging.

Metallic Plastic Labels

Metallic plastic labels are made from metalized polypropylene film, and while they are some of the best-looking labels around, they are much tougher than they look. They are chemical, UV and oil-resistant, making them suitable for harsh outdoor environments.

Tea Packaging Labels How To
(Photo: Unsplash.com)

Clear Plastic Labels

Clear plastic labels are simple and sleek and are the ones commonly found on drink bottles and some food packaging. They are waterproof and great for showcasing your product without hiding the contents.

Many high-end manufacturers of goods, such as coffee and artisan teas, often use clear plastic labels for their jars, due to the stylish simplicity. 

Ultra-Clear Plastic Labels

Ultra-clear plastic labels are incredibly subtle and nondescript. They are waterproof and oil-resistant, and they also offer more than enough strength for automatic application. While they may blend into the packaging of a product, they add a level of class and sophistication that is hard to match.

Estate 4 Paper Labels

Estate 4 stock is a textured paper with more dimensions than white paper labels. Estate 4 is water-resistant, meaning the paper does not instantly tear, and the ink won't run if it comes into contact with water. Estate 4 is commonly found on jars, coffee jars, tea jars, packaging, wine bottles and some skincare containers.

Avon Classic Crest

Avon classic crest labels are unlaminated, smooth paper labels with a bright white finish. The labels are water-resistant and perform well in moist environments, hence why they are commonly used for high-end cosmetics and beauty products.

How to Choose the Right Label

When choosing a label, there are a few things you need to consider. Not all labels are made equally, and some products won't look good with some labels. Here are a few tips to help you choose the perfect label.

Your First Consideration: Use of the Label

The first thing you need to consider is the use of the label. If you are a tea brand, and you ship your product in jars, a clear label might be ideal, as it will showcase the tea bags or tea leaves inside the jar. You can also use clear or white paper labels on the tea bag string.

Be Sure to Evaluate the Price

If you are a small business that’s just starting up, stick to simple labels or overprinted labels that can be easily and effectively applied by hand. While you can eventually upgrade to a label machine, choosing labels you can apply yourself is one of the best money-saving options out there.

Remember: Design Is Key

The next point you need to consider is the design you’ll want to use on the label. Do you want something bright and colorful or are you opting for something more reserved and refined?

Whether your product is high-end or mid-range will also decide what type of label you use, as your label can influence whether your product has a high-end look and feel.

Ask: Where Will Your Product Be Stored and Used?

As mentioned already, different types of labels can withstand different types of conditions. It is important to consider where your product will be stored and used once it reaches the consumer, as this will help determine the type of label you should use. 

Will the product be kept under the kitchen sink in a damp cupboard, in the bathroom, or in the sun? All of these conditions can affect how your label looks and how long it will remain undamaged. For tea, it’s pretty clear where customers will store their products, but you should still stop and reflect on that and the other considerations mentioned above.

Helen O’Donnell is a senior marketing executive and brand ambassador, leading B2B branding, marketing strategies and activities within the Australian manufacturing sector. She’s worked with BHP Billiton, Thiess and Queensland University of Technology.

Plan to Attend or Participate in the
World Tea Conference + Expo, March 18-20, 2024

To learn about other key developments, trends, issues, hot topics and products within the global tea community, plan to attend the World Tea Conference + Expo, March 18-20, 2024 in Las Vegas, co-located with Bar & Restaurant Expo. Visit WorldTeaExpo.com.

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