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Just like the “gospel” spread took over the world by storm, many producers of packaged food have started to embrace and fall in love with the eye-catching appeal of the In-Mold-Label (IML) technology

The term “In-Mold-Label” is directly derived from the technique where a printed POLYPROPYLENE (PP) label is placed in a Mold. The Mold has the shape of the end product, e.g. the shape of a butter tub.

Then the molten PP is added to the Mold. It fuses with the label, and while curing, takes the desired shape of the Mold. In-Mold-Label technique for producing food packaging can be done through the following production processes:

  • Injection Molding
  • Blow Molding and
  • Thermoforming


In Mold labeling offers several major advantages which includes

  • Best print quality of images
  • Strong yet flexible and hygienic
  • Less time is spent in production which is proportional to more units unlike other techniques
  • lower production costs
  • Environmentally friendly packaging
  • Wide range of variety to choose from and a number of options to consider.
  • Quick implementation of designs.
  • No need for secondary decoration post production.
  • Meets FDA standard and requirements
  • Spans a broad variety of shapes.
  • Can also be used to package other durable foods.
  • Can be used with microwaves and can withstand heat up to about -18°c.

The In-Mold Labeling technique, or IML, is produced using a “no-label” look and a graphic quality that needs no further post-production design and decoration.

The technology correctly allows for photographs, crisp illustrations, and even three-dimensional (3-D) images to be included in the design of brilliant packaging needed to attract customers while satisfying the FDA requirements.

There are many packaged food products but the In-Mold-Label packaging is perfect for plastic butter tubs. This is because the label provides structure as well as decoration unlike many other technology that still requires secondary decoration after production. The images used to convey adverts and attract consumers are made an integral part of the product and the images aren’t just left to hang outside like other plastic packaging techniques. In the end, the butter tub package comes out in the lightest of weights imaginable even with so much side wall strength.

In designing butter tub packaging that is convenient for the packing of peanut butter, almond butter amongst others, the In-Mold-Label design (IML) now ranges from flat lids in all shapes to entirely circular wrap-around labels. This containers are usually made from 100% pure plastic (PP) and are in line with global FDA standards and can withstand temperatures of up to -18℃ and can be used in microwaves.

And apart from butter, a lot of other durable goods are also embracing IML designs which can be shaped in a rectangular or round manner, square with rounded corners, or with wavy sides. PP In-Mold Labels range from flat panels to eight-sided wraparounds and are getting thinner all the time.

In one variant of the technology, the “label” is a printed piece of stiff cardboard that needs only a plastic rim molded around it to become a complete lid.

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