LABELicious! The European label industry challenges next generation talents


Labels are so well hidden in plain sight, that many people are not aware of their omnipresence. Would you be able to guess how many labels you see during any given day, and how essential they are to help you make the right brand choices for example?


The professionals, who dedicate their talents on a daily basis to develop labels, are equally discrete. Silently working in the background to create labels, to add value to the branded products of their customers or to add value through process enablement. Subsequently, the label industry is not widely known to the next generation of talents, who are currently considering their future work environment. At the same time the label industry is innovating fast and needs to attract ambitious talent with fresh ideas.

In this context, FINAT, the European association for the self-adhesive label and adjacent narrow-web converting industry, has launched the talent competition #LABELicious!

The objective is to increase the visibility of the label industry, its exciting professional challenges and its excellent career perspectives, to students and early career professionals aged between 18 and 25.

Entrants can submit their ideas and concepts for labels in 2025 in three different categories.

  • Smart / Intelligent / Multifunctional Labels – #LABELicious! calls for truly fresh & feasible ideas about integrating technologies in brand/functional labels to enhance the experience and the value of the label in the end-customer’s business case in 2025. The entry should demonstrate how label converting technology adds value to a label through new functionality, production methods or other technical innovation.
  • Brand Design – #LABELicious! calls for next-generation label design, both visually and from a constructive and functional perspective. The entry should demonstrate how in 2025 a branded label creates an outstanding experience, competitive advantage and added value for a brand in its own product category.
  • Sustainability – #LABELicious! calls for new approaches to improve sustainability in the field or product labelling. The entry should demonstrate how in 2025 a new approach to label design, production and application can contribute to a positive sustainability performance.

While the competition is officially launched on November 7, 2018, competition entries can be submitted on the website between 15 January 2019 and 15 May 2019. The early launch enables interested young professionals to prepare their ideas in due time, either individually or in the context of their professional education. During the entire competition timeline, #LABELicious! will publish educational and inspirational material from the industry to show its diversity in craftsmanship, its combination of creativity and technology, and its continuous focus on sustainability to improve the environmental performance of product labeling.

The relevance of reaching out to the next generation workforce is illustrated by the industry-wide cross-European support for the project. “The findings of our annual Industry Survey, the so-called FINAT RADAR, demonstrate the growing challenge to attract young talent in the past few years.” says Jules Lejeune, Managing Director of FINAT. “The support of this project by currently some 25 international and national trade media companies, industry partners of all sizes across the value chain, and virtually all national label associations in Europe, proves that the #LABELicious project is addressing a top priority challenge.”

With the support of partners, the international winner in each category will receive a week of industry experience, a visit to Labelexpo 2019 in Brussels where the winners’ ceremony will take place and an additional financial reward.

“The biggest revenue of the #LABELicious project, however is to create connections between this innovative and fast evolving high-tech industry and their next generation talent force”, continues Mr. Lejeune. “We aim to reach the audience both directly through our media efforts and indirectly through our relationships with the educational institutions in packaging technology and design. The European label industry challenges next generation talents, and we are ready to be likewise challenged as an industry by the fresh ideas of the next generation.”