Windsor-area labelling company growing business globally

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

CBC News


August 7, 2017 - An Essex County produce labelling company, which has become known worldwide for its eco-friendly products, is growing its business on the international market.

Accu-Label made its mark on the industry by using biodegradable stickers and it has since dug its roots deeper with other technical innovations that give fruit and vegetable growers, as well as consumers, some of the most effective labels on the market.

Whether it's slapping those sticky produce tags on just the right spot on a tomato, or getting a little more aggressive with a hairy kiwi, Accu-label owner Joe Sleiman has helped revolutionised the labelling process with ground-breaking ideas.

His company pumps out an estimated 1.5 billion stickers a year, mostly throughout North America, but that number is expected to skyrocket with deals inked with new distributors in New Zealand, Australia and Holland.

"We'll probably grow tenfold pretty quick," Sleiman told CBC News.

Sticking with innovation

Finding a partner in New Zealand and Australia came after Accu-Label came up with a formula that makes putting labels on kiwi much easier and more effective.

The deal in Australia alone could provide a bulk of the company's business.

"We tested our labels on kiwi fruit in California and Italy and I guess we impressed them," Sleiman said.

His company uses biodegradable paper for labelling, compared to the plastic that has been an industry standard for decades. Though this difference helped set Accu-label apart from others, Sleiman continues to find new ways to improve the process.

Two years ago he invested about $2 million to come up with several adhesive formulas, which still meet safety standards, specific to different types of fruit. A lighter formula is used for smooth surfaces like a tomato, while a heavier product is used on items like peaches or kiwi.

It "allows us to be more aggressive on products that are difficult to stick to, less aggressive on products where people have a challenge peeling the label off," Sleiman said.