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5 Things That Impact The Shelf Life Of A Label

One of the most commonly overlooked factors of a label and labelling machinery is shelf life. Shelf life of a label is a critical consideration when choosing the perfect option for your products, as it can be the difference between packaging which looks the part for its entire lifespan, and packaging which fails before it’s time. Shelf life is sometimes referred to as service life, and put simply, it refers to how long your labels will last. If labels become damaged or outdated, it can have a real negative impact on your brand, so it is important to ensure you are using your labelling machines in the most effective way. Our experts are sharing the top 5 things which impact the shelf life of a label.


Depending on the type of labels you are using, they might not mix well with moisture. Paper labels are one of the most common types of labels used in label machines, but they can quickly become damaged by water and other fluids. Products which are kept in the fridge or likely to come into contact with liquids should use waterproof labels, which will have a longer shelf life.

Scratches And Marks

During production processes, shipping, and storage, it isn’t uncommon for products to go through harsh conditions. Labels can quickly become scratched and scuffed, and this will not send a good message to consumers. Using laminates and varnishes on your labels can help to improve their shelf life and minimise damage from general wear and tear.


Exposure to the sunlight can be very problematic for labels, as the UV rays work to break down the bonds used in inks. This can quickly cause a bleaching effect, leaving your beautifully designed labels dull and faded. It isn’t possible to completely protect labels from sunlight but being careful with your storage and handling can be a big help. Never store labels or use your labelling machines in direct sunlight and consider adding UV coatings to products which are designed to be used outdoors.


One unavoidable factor which impacts the shelf life of labels is changes to local regulation. Depending on the nature of your product, there may be certain information that you need to include on your labels. This could be ingredient lists, safety information, or instructions for use. These regulations can change with time, and when this happens, your existing labels will become outdated and require updating. Keep up to date with latest regulations and be prepared to print and apply new labels when necessary.


The adhesives used on your labels are extremely important when it comes to shelf life, and the right kind of adhesive will depend on your unique product. The last thing you want is labels that become unstuck while your products are still in use, or labels which can’t be peeled off when they should be. Consider the requirements for your product labels and choose an adhesive accordingly.

To discuss your label requirements and find out more about our contract labelling service or labelling machines, get in touch with our team.

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