ePac Flexible Packaging: Packaging that Helps Small Brands Attain Big-Brand Presence
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Carl Joachim, Co-Founder and CMO
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are often deprived of high-quality packaging that affects their branding. Most of them are small brands that have been in business for a brief time span and lack sufficient resources to produce packaging with superior graphics. They resort to fulfilling their packaging needs by simply buying blank sacks and pasting labels on them. Subsequently, the end product receives a 'farmers' market' look that utterly fails to attract the consumer's attention. Moreover, the conventional flexible packaging converters are continuously adding capacity with new equipment and lower unit pricing to meet the demands of large CPGs, and on the way, they are increasing minimum order quantities with turnaround times stretched to 6-8 weeks. Naturally, SMBs cannot rely on these packaging companies due to cost factors and massive disruption in time-to-market. They typically go to market with one product and rapidly bring another with some modification, like adding another flavor. Every new product requires new printing plates, and small brands cannot mass order the packaging for their product iterations that will cost them more, and even if ordered, all the packaging may not be utilized. Besides, to stay competitive in the market, they need to bring their products to market faster, which the conventional packaging companies don't provide. This is where ePac, a digitally based flexible packaging company, comes into the picture to power small and medium CPG companies with the ability to compete with large brands with great packaging. Most importantly, they offer competitively priced short to medium run-length orders, with a turnaround time of 10-15 business days. “ePac’s founders began with a mission to provide locally based consumer packaged goods companies the ability to compete with large brands with great packaging. Our customers are predominantly locally based small and medium-sized CPGs, many of whom are focused on creating natural and innovative products for their consumers. Since opening our first manufacturing facility in 2016, our mission has been clear – to help small brands obtain big brand presence, give back to the communities we serve and contribute to the creation of a more sustainable, circular economy,” Carl Joachim, Co-Founder and CMO at ePac Flexible Packaging. He further adds, “If we remain focused on small and medium sized businesses, work with them though their challenges, give back to the communities we serve, and commit to a more sustainable planet, our growth as a business will take care of itself.”
ePac Flexible Packaging is based on the premise that emerging digital technology will significantly disrupt the service and manufacturing models that have served the flex pack industry for decades. The company is the first supplier in North America built entirely on the latest wide-web digital printing technology – the HP Indigo 20000. It offers true high-definition custom printing with variable imaging and the elimination of plate fees while enabling customers to print to demand and avoid inventory and obsolescence costs.
To maintain superlative packaging for its stand up pouches, lay flat pouches, or rollstocks, ePac uses print, sealant, and barrier films. They protect a product’s image quality from losing vibrancy and fading out by providing a protective layer; or prevents the passage of atmospheric gases, water vapor, and odor from entering or exiting the package. Thus, preserving products and extending shelf life.
The company also produces rollstock which is generally used for longer runs and by co-packers. "ePac is a full-service supplier providing prepress, lamination, and pouch making in all of locations, world-wide. We offer roll stock and finished pouches in many styles and with many options, including child-resistant, and sustainable materials," says Carl.
Through its range of offerings, ePac stays true to its name, covering the extent of customers' variations. ePac offers an array of films and structures, be it soft touch matte, gloss finish, metalized, high barrier, or spot embellishment, and they can swiftly make changes, totally in tandem with the customer's requirements for faster time to market and introducing new SKUs.
ePac’s founders began with a mission to provide locally based consumer packaged goods companies the ability to compete with large brands with great packaging
Riding on the back of the latest digital print technology, ePac aims to eradicate all flexible packaging complexities. Whenever the company receives an order, the customers supply their logo, copy, and design to ePac. After the company receives all the specifications along with the artwork, they put it through a pre-press process to create a “clean” file. Prepress then applies die-lines, sets the color strategy, and creates a print-ready PDF for each of the HP 20000 printers. Thereafter, the team at ePac laminates the printed film with its solventless laminators, slits it to size, and creates beautiful finished pouches. Besides streamlining the packaging process, the digital printing process is far eco-friendlier than conventional processes, offering reduced ozone production and energy consumption.
Carl expounds that a critical factor behind the successful production of such a vast array of products is a capability, only possible with Variable Data Printing (VDP). "There is a whole new level of capability that digital printing brings to the market, and that's where its ability to deal with variable data comes in,” asserts Carl. VDP allows unique and personalized text or graphics to be printed on each SKU, or even every package, enabling the printed content to change within a single press run. An electronic database is created, containing the variable data used to personalize or alter each printed piece's aspects. Software then extracts the variable data and merges it with the image to create unique images for every unit produced, which are then printed on the digital press. Just about any design element can be produced as a variable, from text and headlines to photos and colors. Ideal for promotional or personalized pouches, each impression can be printed differently from one piece to the next without stopping or slowing down the press. In addition, every package can be serialized, allowing it to be traced from the point of production, to the consumer, and eventually to the point it is recycled, providing full transparency and valuable tracking information.
ePac Flexible Packaging has already situated themselves as a trusted packaging partner across the markets of bakery products, confectionery, processed meats, snacks, supplements, pet foods, to name a few. Carl recalls an instance where Chicago based Iya Foods, a company specializing in farm-to-table sauces, gluten-free flours, spices, and edible flowers, and available at Amazon, Wal-Mart, started receiving poor feedbacks on its pouches from its consumers and retailers. Moreover, their packaging line did not have any brand consistency, with no standard images or design throughout. To succeed in the market, the company knew they needed a better package. Tapping into the situation, ePac helped them create an impactful, high-quality pouch with exceptional film quality and reseal technology, along with bright graphics and exact brand consistency throughout the whole line. As an upshot of ePac's innovative overhaul of their packaging, consumers now love them, and since they're lightweight, it helps lower the company's shipping cost. "Finding a company that was small and business-friendly makes a world of difference. Plus, the quality of the packaging and my relationships with ePac staff is just so great," says Toyin Kolawole, Founder and CEO at Iya Foods.
With the obvious impact that plastics have on the environment, ePac recently announced a partnership with Repurpose Technologies (RPT) that holds the potential to eliminate plastics from landfills and oceans. Through this endeavor, RPT will create modular, locally based repurposing centers, a simple collection process for ALL plastics, and convert them into usable, recyclable new composite products such as, building materials, traffic signs, and matting used in forestation projects. Through ePac’s Variable Data Printing capability, and partnerships with IoT/Blockchain technology providers, full transparency into the discarded plastics journey from production through repurposing can be achieved.
With eyes set toward the future, Carl feels the company just needs to remain true to their mission of serving locally based consumer packaged goods companies. ePac has grown form a startup just 4 years ago to a $100 Million company. “With plans to continue with its growth strategy in Europe, the Asia Pacific region, and North America, I have little doubt we only just begun to hear about ePac,” he concludes.
Description ePac Flexible Packaging leverages the latest in digital print technology, providing its customers with a quick and easy way to purchase custom printed flexible packaging. The company is based on the premise that emerging digital technology will significantly disrupt the service and manufacturing models that have served the flex pack industry for decades, and hence offers true high-definition custom printing with variable imaging and the elimination of plate fees while enabling customers to print to demand and avoid inventory and obsolescence costs. Subsequently, they provide locally based consumer packaged goods companies the ability to compete with large brands