Food Packaging Label Adhesives

The choice of adhesive for a custom food packaging label depends on the environmental, handling, storage and other conditions the label will be exposed to. Three most basic, general categories of label adhesives are:

Permanent adhesive

Permanent labels are strong and fast-bonding. The can be removed from the label only within a short window of time after applying it on the packaging, after which it becomes impossible to remove it without tearing the label or food packaging.

Removable/Reusable adhesive

Removable and reusable labels have a strong adhesive, but they can be easily removed from the package and applied to another surface, in case you need to use it multiple times. It does not leave any sticky residues on the food packaging.

Freezer grade adhesive

Freezer grade labels are used for food packages that are to withstand freezing conditions. Freezer grade labels can be exposed to temperatures as low as – 65 degrees F.

There is another category that is technically not a label adhesive:


Non-adhesive labels do not stick to the product, but can be applied by stitching, inserting, sewing, tying with a string, etc.

These categories include many types of label adhesives that differ in strength of adhesion, initial tack, base they are made of (rubber or acrylic), technology used for liner application, etc. An average food producer is not familiar with all these technical details, but they trust their label providers to make the best choice for them.

What you, as a food producer, do need to know is that not every label adhesive specified as having a strong hold will adhere to any food packaging. There are many factors that determine whether a label will stick or peel off, and some of them are:

  • Texture of the food packaging the label will be applied to
  • Shape of the food packaging
  • Shape of the food packaging label
  • Temperature at which the label is applied
  • State/cleanliness of the surface to which the label is applied
  • Storing and handling conditions of the food product

It is important to communicate all of these details about the food product, if known, so that the printing professionals can come up with the best choice of label material and adhesive for a specific food product.