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Jars of salsa resting on a table

Product Labels for Hot Fill or Warm Fill Applications

Here at EIM we specialize in labels for products that are hot filled. As consumers become more conscious of the effects preservatives and chemicals have on their health, hot filling sterilization is becoming the preferred way for safely packaging food and drinks.


Manufacturers tend to use hot fill processes to inhibit bacteria in food and beverages with high acidity such as spaghetti sauce, salsa, fruit and vegetable juices, teas, non-carbonated soft drinks and flavored waters that contain sugar. Hot filling is also used for household cleaners, detergents and automobile additives. (Another sterilization method is cold aseptic filling. The aseptic method uses chemicals like hydrogen peroxide to clean containers before they are filled; stringent safeguards have to be used to prevent contamination.)


Hot Fill Labels that Won’t Wrinkle, Bubble, or Flag


Known to extend the shelf life of food products up to 6 or 12 months, hot filling sterilizes the inner surface of a container and its lid. It is an inexpensive and conventional filling method that is often used simply because it is easier to pour hot liquids than cold solutions. As hot air is expelled from a container and a seal is applied, a vacuum is created inside the container. Usually the container has to be cooled down with a shower or steam once it is filled. Certain foods or drinks such as fruit juices need to be quick chilled to retain taste and vitamin content.


You may be familiar with the canning process where glass jars are sterilized in hot water, filled with fruits or vegetables and then vacuum-sealed for long-term storage to get you through the long winter months.  In modern mass production processes, glass is still used, but so are plastic containers which are less prone to breakage, lighter weight and less expensive.


Jars of salsa resting on a table While glass is very stable, plastic containers will expand and contract with temperature changes—the last thing you want is a label that will wrinkle, bubble or flag as it moves with a container’s expansion and contraction. It is important to use the right type of label adhesive that will bond correctly and adjust to any surface changes.


The face stock of the label is also important. For some producers, paper labels are appealing because they are economical. We have a couple great choices with excellent all-temperature adhesive—Matte Paper or Semi-Gloss Paper.


If you are labeling contoured or textured containers, you may find that plastic labels work better since they are made of more conformable polypropylene or polyethylene. Plastic labels have a certain amount of “slip” to adjust to a container’s changing size as it expands and contracts during the filling process. They also handle a wider range of temperatures and antibacterial cleaning systems. We offer both White Plastic and Clear Plastic Films suitable for most hot or warm fill processes.


We provide free samples to test so you can thoroughly evaluate our labels throughout your entire packaging process. Simply contact The Label Experts to get started.


Electronic Imaging Materials