In the last couple years, aluminum cans have been experiencing a renaissance thanks to craft beer and other beverage markets using cans instead of bottles. There are numerous reasons behind the reemergence of cans like cost, freshness, portability, and sustainability, but there’s another one you may not be too familiar with – shrink sleeves. Printing directly onto cans has been a deterrent for some manufacturers due to cost, but shrink sleeving cans has become an attractive alternative. In this article, we’ll explain how custom shrink sleeves for cans benefit beverage manufacturers and what you need to know before making the switch.
What’s Behind The Growing Popularity Of Cans?
Cans are typically associated with large beer and soda brands, but that’s starting to change as more start-ups and small manufacturers choose cans over bottles. Below are some key reasons behind the growing popularity of cans in the craft beer, soda, and energy drink markets:
- Cans Are More Portable: Cans can go places where glass bottles can’t like parks, beaches, and golf courses, for example. By using cans, manufacturers can expand their product’s reach while allowing customers to enjoy their products almost anywhere. Also, cans weigh less than bottles making them cheaper to ship!
- Cans Preserve Freshness: Cans have excellent light-blocking capabilities and provide an effective barrier to oxygen, which is particularly beneficial for keeping products fresh for a longer period of time.
- Cans Are Innovative: New types of cans and interesting new features are making them more appealing to manufacturers. New format sizes, can-lips that accentuate aromatics, removable lids that turn the can into a glass, and even resealable tabs offer new levels of user experience.
- Cans Are More Sustainable: Since cans are lighter than bottles, they produce less CO2 emissions during shipping. Aluminum cans are also one of the most recycled (and most recyclable) goods on the market.
- Cans Are Changing Perceptions: Manufacturers have shown that quality products can come in cans and look extremely cool on the shelf, too. This has helped make cans more appealing to consumers than they ever were before. Cans have found favor with craft beer-loving hipsters and millennials, which has also helped change overall perceptions of cans among mainstream consumers.
- Cans Are Changing The Market: Business innovations in the can market have made it easier for smaller brands to use cans thanks to smaller scale canning lines, mobile canning services, and shrink sleeves, to name a few.
There are a lot of advantages to using cans but there are challenges as well. For example, printing directly onto blank cans often involves minimum order requirements, which can be too expensive or far larger quantities than what a small manufacturer needs. Custom shrink sleeves for cans are an alternative, helping small manufacturers overcome that challenge so they too can enjoy the benefits of cans.
Why You Should Shrink Sleeve Your Cans
Shrink sleeve labels, commonly known as ‘shrink sleeves,’ are a specialized print product that form fits a container with 360-degree graphics coverage. Shrink sleeves are printed on the inside of a durable film which protects the printed image from moisture and abrasion. Unlike pressure-sensitive labels that have an adhesive and are applied by pressure, shrink sleeves have no adhesive and are shrunk onto the container using mechanical shrinking equipment like a steam tunnel (preferred method), radiant heat tunnel, hot air tunnel, or hybrid tunnel (combines heat and steam).
Using shrink sleeves for cans is relatively new in the packaging world, but it’s quickly gaining popularity for the following reasons:
- More Packaging and Design Flexibility: Manufacturers can buy blank cans in bulk and apply shrink sleeves to only the amount they need at that moment. This flexibility means that the manufacturer isn’t stuck with a larger amount of a pre-printed cans than they actually needed. You can also change your design whenever you want with new shrink sleeves, using the same cans!
- Visually Appealing: With limitless design options and high-def print quality, your shrink sleeves will be sure to turn some heads. We also have HD flexo printing technology, making it easier to achieve smoother, sharper images, more intense and consistent ink laydown, and a wider range of color tones.
- Unique Design Features: Customize your shrink sleeves as little or much as you want with our special printing options like foil accents, texture, holographic patterned film, or matte finishes.
Shrink sleeves for cans create an attractive packaging solution but before you place an order, please note that you will need to have mechanical shrinking equipment or outsource to a co-packer to get the sleeves on the cans. While these options aren’t cheap, making that initial investment can save you money in the long run when compared to the costs and design limitations of pre-printed cans.
We understand that this is a big decision which is why we have a variety of guides and videos to help you learn more about shrink sleeves. If that’s not enough, our customer service team would be happy to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process.
For more information or to place an order, please call us at 1-800-475-2235 or fill out the contact form below.