In-mold labeling (IML) is a one-step decorating/manufacturing process for labeling a plastic container while it is in its mold. It results in a full labeled part directly from the tool. The method produces containers with a no label look with high quality graphics. The graphic qualities are superior to traditional post-decorating methods since photos, illustrations, and 3-D images can be molded directly into the package.

Molding around a label encapsulates the label and provides a smooth seamless surface. IML labels use a heat activated bond that secures the label to the container side wall permanently, eliminating the peeling, curling and blistering that can happen with post-decorating labels. In mold labeling also accommodates three to five-sided shapes – for a greater variety of design options.

Originating in Europe – where more than 90% of food packaging applications today use IML – in mold labeling is gaining momentum in North America. The North American market typically has higher run volumes and equipment geared to these large runs aren’t very flexible.

The in-mold labeling (IML) enables design flexibility, enhances the product appearance, reduces the investment of secondary, increases productivity, and is beneficial to the environment. IML Containers’ in-mold labeling advantages include:
• Superior brand recognition with photographic, visually impressive graphics
• Wrap-around labels creating unique shapes and designs of the final products
• Elimination the cost of secondary labeling and decorating operations
• EVOH barrier minimizing transmission of oxygen into the container and extend shelf life
• Durable surfacing eliminating peeling or curling of the labels caused during transportation
• Maximization of the brand visibility by utilizing the space on plastic part on all sides and bottom
• Reduction of label inventory at customer’s side
• Thin wall plastic part reducing the amount of resin used and shipping cost
• Easy design variations by changing graphics, such as different flavors in the same run
• Premium printing capability allows high resolution to achieve the extreme of eight PMS colors-like result
• Mono-material, #5 Polypropylene, reducing the cost and energy utilized in recycling
• Flexibility and resistance to humidity, heat, cooling, deep freezing and microwaving

Ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) is a barrier used in plastic food packaging to minimize transmission of oxygen into the container in order to improve the shelf life. For food packaging containers, thin wall indicates that the wall thicknesses is less than 0.025 inch (0.62mm), depending on the design of the containers. IML Containers are molded thinner and lighter than thermoformed packaging under certain conditions. They can be more than 1 gram lighter than comparable thermoformed packaging. Less weight means less cost on raw material and shipping. Also less material is greener – good for the environment. Combining the advantages of barrier and thin wall packaging, IML Containers maximizes the profit and benefits for your project and better brand messaging.

IML Containers offers exceptional integrated In-mold label process solution and service. We work closely with your marketing, technical and procurement departments to exceed your targets. We have an in-house R&D department, Quality Control team, design team, robot design, and label printing. We are capable of executing the complete process from 3D drawing, prototyping, mould design, pre-press, manufacturing, warehousing and shipping. Your dedicated Account Executive team will lead you through the process from the start to completion by providing production line design and tight project management. Our customer will not only experience an outstanding project fulfilment service, but will discover the ultimate shelf appeal of their brands in completion. 

The actual turnaround times vary depending upon a number of factors, such as the type of label, design, size, container, and the complexity of the project. Any adjustments within the proofing, molding, market testing process will affect the final delivery time. IML Containers has more than 20 years of experience in in-mold label process and will strive to deliver your project with the shortest possible lead time.

Estimated lead times:

  • Stock Containers with Custom Printed Labels: Around 6 to 8 weeks upon the approval of the artworks
  • Custom Shaped Containers with Custom Printed Labels: Around 26 to 28 weeks

Please contact us at or call 888-722-9915 to discuss the turnaround time for your specific project. Let our Account Executive walk you through the process from the concept to the market.

The in-mold labeling (IML) process is an environmental-friendly food packaging solution. By reducing secondary labeling operations, we save the energy and the foot-print from the production process. The durable thin wall container uses less raw material to produce. Less material used means less energy consumed.
In addition, both labels and plastic parts of IML containers are made by one material, #5 Polypropylene plastic, which is one of the most post-consumer materials recycled in The States. With one material, the consumers feel easier and more confident about their eco-friendly purchases and understand how the products help the environment.

IML Containers provides tamper resistant/evident lids for your market needs.
Tamper evident container is the best solution to reduce the cost of secondary operation, such as shrink-wrapping, and to prevent product contamination in the stores. Our stock containers are compatible for both applications: film-seal and tamper resistant/evident lids. For customized containers, we offer several options, break-to-open tab, seal-closed lids, and combination of film-seal and flip-top dispensing closure.

Please contact us at or call 888-722-9915 to discuss what closure options suit your market the best.

For stock containers, 100,000 minimum up to 4 designs with a minimum of 25,000 per flavor. It may vary depending on the type and complexity of your projects.

For custom shaped containers, please contact us at or call 888-722-9915 to discuss the lead time for your specific project. We will walk you through the process from the concept to the market.