European countries pushing past labels, shrink sleeves for aluminum cans, turning to digital can decoration for sustainability, recyclability; cans, cannabis, coffee are growing markets in printing, with craft brewers making up large part of can market

Sample article from our Printing & Publishing

August 9, 2023 (press release) –

Growing markets within the printing sector include three big Cs: cans, cannabis, and coffee. Craft brewers are retaining a strong hold and evolving into larger operations for the can market. Cannabis is a hot topic in the news as of late as earlier this year the US House of Representatives voted to approve a bill that would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. Finally, the global coffee market is anticipated to grow 7.6% between now and 2025. The fastest growing market for global coffee is South America, with the largest market being Europe. Being aware to what is on the rise is a great first step.

The concept of sustainability is popping up in in many industries as we all are socially responsible for the future of this planet. Sustainability is a societal practice of broadly aiming for humans to safety co-exist on Earth for as long as possible. Therefore, the practices that happen today need to consider the long-term effects for tomorrow.

Efforts in Europe are in motion to push past labels and shrink sleeves for aluminum cans. Aluminum cans decorated with shrink sleeves and labels hinder recycling. Labels adhered to cans and shrink sleeves stuck to the surface need to be removed prior to recycling and often cans decorated this way end up in landfills rather than having the material reused. However, digitally printing on cans does not forgo recycling rules. Therefor companies digitally printing on cans need to pay careful attention to recyclability after digitally decorating.

Whether you make a personal pledge to use a reusable water bottle daily, join in on your communities ban on single use plastic bags beyond your small town, or manufacture eco-friendly products these small steps when taken alongside others can vastly better the planet. Sustainability is normally broken down into three areas; environmental, economic, and social.

Today we will explore areas in which those within the can markets can find sustainable practices to take part in.

Beverages packaged in cans double for convenience and sustainability. Canned drinks are convenient and portable, as well as chill quicker than beverages packaged in glass or plastic. Glass bottles are more likely to be banned than canned drinks, therefor making an easy alternative to bring along. Most importantly, aluminum cans are one of the most purely recyclable objects in the world, meaning new cans are made from recycled cans and no additional new aluminum is needed to complete the process.

Craft Brew Industry

A crafter brewer, as defined by the Brewers Association is a small or independent brewer in one of six distinct segments: microbreweries, brewpubs, taproom breweries, regional breweries, contract brewing companies, and alternating proprietors. These segments are characterized by how much beer is produced, how much of the beer is sold off-site,

The craft brew industry has exploded over the last decade. Craft Breweries often up demand by releasing “limited release” and “short runs” of specialty draft beers. To be able to offer this, breweries need the flexibilities to print as many or as few personalized graphics on cans as needed. Digital printing allows this. Rather than order X number of labels, and risk wasting excess or being limited by too few, digital printing is as flexible as you are. Allowing companies to print as many or as few as they need.

Cannabis Industry

Cannabis on the market today is made up of a wide variety of different products: oils, flowers, edibles, beverage and more. Due to this, there are six common containers for cannabis: glass bottles, silicon jars, resealable containers, tin containers, plastic vials, as well as mylar bags. It should be noted that depending on the state you reside the containers may need to be childproof.

For this article’s purpose the focus will be on canned cannabis and CBD products.

Coffee Cans

“The best part of wakin’ up…” you finished that line, didn’t you? Talk about good marketing with such a catchy and memorable slogan. Not only that, but it’s a slogan we can all agree is pleasant and evokes happy memories.

Coffee cans on the grocery store shelf can be found made of aluminum, plastic, cardboard, or paper. Plastic coffee cans are often digitally printed, but coffee tins made from aluminum are often decorated with vinyl labels. Coffee cans are recyclable as well as plastic coffee cans, but surprisingly coffee grounds packaged in paper or cardboard is tricker as those materials are often lined with aluminum or wax.

The most sustainable practices for packaging coffee cans would be in aluminum tins.

Printing on Cans

Digitally printing rather than labeling products is more sustainable, can reduce labor costs, and elevate product packaging. Aluminum cans for coffee are straight walled and an ideal application for direct to object printing with a cylindrical printer. Tins for storing cannabis are typically characterized by a flat lid which could be digitally decorated with a flatbed printer and cylindrical body of the can in various heights which would either be seamlessly decorated with a cylindrical printer or have a side decorated with a flatbed printer with proper tooling. Craft brew cans can be digitally printed and automatically loaded and unloaded due to their extremely lightweight nature.

The Revolution® high speed digital cylindrical printer is a great printing machine for directly decorating aluminum cans. Print full-color 360° artwork on aluminum cans and take advantage of it’s automatic load and unload function due to cans lightweight nature. The Revolution® has 12 stations and can print up to 600 parts per hour. Part of the Helix® line, the Revolution® utilizes Helix® technology for all the high-quality, high-resolution images printed directly on vessels. Learn more about the Revolution® here: video resource.

Get Started Today

In conclusion, when it comes to sustainable printing on cans, the Inkcups Revolution® digital cylindrical printer stands as an unrivaled choice. With its eco-friendly UV LED curing technology and efficient ink consumption, it ensures minimal waste and environmental impact. By selecting the Revolution®, you not only achieve stunning, high-quality prints on cans but also contribute to a greener future. Embrace sustainability and elevate your can printing capabilities with Inkcups’ Revolution®—where innovation meets environmental consciousness. Contact us today to get started.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.

See our dashboard in action - schedule an demo
Jason Irving
Jason Irving
- SVP Enterprise Solutions -

We offer built-to-order printing & publishing coverage for our clients. Contact us for a free consultation.

About Us

We deliver market news & information relevant to your business.

We monitor all your market drivers.

We aggregate, curate, filter and map your specific needs.

We deliver the right information to the right person at the right time.

Our Contacts

1990 S Bundy Dr. Suite #380,
Los Angeles, CA 90025

+1 (310) 553 0008

About Cookies On This Site

We collect data, including through use of cookies and similar technology ("cookies") that enchance the online experience. By clicking "I agree", you agree to our cookies, agree to bound by our Terms of Use, and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. For more information on our data practices and how to exercise your privacy rights, please see our Privacy Policy.