ProPrint printed labels

[Big Cheese Expertise Guest Post] Hi, my name is James Denny and I’m one of the founders of The ProPrint Group. Here are my top tips to help all of you food and drink SMEs to get the most value out of working with your print partner.

Bring your product to life with printed packaging…

You’ve invested time, effort and money in creating your fantastic products, so naturally, want customers to choose them when faced with a multitude of choices on the shelf.

Packaging plays a crucial role when it comes to protecting the contents, promoting your brand and responding to consumer demands, so here are my industry insights to help you get the most out of your printing budget.

1. Keep your product safe and secure

The fundamental purpose for your packaging is to keep your product clean, undamaged and ensure it is fit for purpose. For food products in particular, various regulations and requirements mean that your printer needs to be accredited and experienced in packaging that is food safe.

They also need to understand the types of processes you will be using for application and production, so it is important that a printer uses the correct low migration inks, and sources the correct materials.

Experienced packaging suppliers will be able to engineer and build your pack to meet production and customer needs, providing a blank sample for you to test throughout the process. This will ensure you won’t have any nasty or expensive surprises later on!

Printers also need to be able to provide environmental packaging solutions to answer the ongoing recycling, carbon footprint and plastics debate highlighted in the media, which is extremely important to many of your customers. It’s not just the final printed product that needs to be recyclable.

Your printer should also be diligent in the way that they recycle their own waste and care about sustainability, such as taking part in the Cycle for Green waste management process used by us here at the ProPrint Group for our label backing paper.

Cycle 4 Green logo

2. Your packaging is communicating with your customer!

Packaging is an extension of your brand.

Some would argue that packaging appearance is just as important as the product itself.

Your carefully thought out design needs to be respected and prepared by an experienced art worker and printed using quality print technology and skills.

What we call the pre-flight process (when your artwork is checked and prepared for print) is key:

  • Account managers, along with expert pre-press departments should check and assess artwork to advise on colour management, foiling or more complex finishes that will achieve the best result
  • With a range of different print processes, recommending the best quality as well as the most cost-effective print method for your packaging is essential
  • Print trials or digitally printed mock-ups are another way to apply a checkpoint – you can use these tools to review how your finished design may look and feel before you invest your money in a costly print run
Range of chocolate boxes

The ProPrint Group can provide fully constructed mock-up packs as well as sample labels

3. Make the commercials work

Your budget needs to be managed carefully, and if needed, your printer should be able to discuss alternative ways of achieving the desired appearance. This could be:

  • Reducing the number of colours used
  • Looking at sizing for efficiency
  • Trying a different approach with artwork or finishing
  • Using digital printing to combine packaging ranges with common features into one print run – smaller volumes can be printed together to exploit economies of scale

Printers who are diligent and honest will be open about the processes needed to produce your final packaging and will advise you on colour management, tooling and set up costs.

Digital printing, foiling and varnishing can help to avoid tooling costs.

A reliable, knowledgeable printer will have the expertise and experience to navigate you through the advantages and disadvantages of the print processes to make the most of the technology available and, hit your budget as closely as possible.

Flexographic printing

Flexographic printing requires printing plates, but digital printing can also be used depending on your requirements

4. Be responsive to your market

The ability to react, launch on time and promote products quickly and easily is a constant challenge for our SME customers, especially in the food sector and particularly for fresh produce.

From changes in the weather generating more product volume, to launching quickly to jump on new trends or seasonal opportunities – these are all situations where your printer must be able to support you as their customer.

Unreliable service, late print deliveries or long lead times mean that the energy you put into delivering a brand launch or new product is wasted.

A focus on customer service, honesty and reliability are needed, with the recognition that printing is the final process in launching a product that has taken a lot of work!

Good resourcing, bespoke management systems and excellent communication with customers, delivered by well-informed account managers, are imperative to ensure packaging is provided on time looking its best.

MIS System

Our tailored MIS system, supported by our highly trained and experienced team of account managers, enable us to react and deliver labels and packaging quickly.

Special Offer for Smoothie PR Readers!

At the ProPrint Group, we have extensive experience in food packaging, are fully British Retail Consortium (BRC) accredited and provide cartons, labels and sleeves into the majority of UK retailers, as well as supporting artisan food companies.

Our range of print processes, including flexo, litho and digital, enable us to print one-off packaging samples for presenting or testing, right through to large volume print production.

The ProPrint Group are offering FREE DELIVERY for Smoothie PR readers – simply email hello@proprintgroup.co.uk quoting ‘Smoothie’ and we will send you free samples plus, answer any questions to help you get started with your packaging process. Your first order from us will include free delivery.

If you’d like to look through our ranges and find out more about us, check out our ProPrint Group website or follow us on LinkedIn. 

More food for thought…

Hey, Charlotte here, thanks for reading through to the end! If you enjoyed this, you’ll also love ‘How to find a great designer for branding and packaging‘ and ‘How to protect your Intellectual Property‘.

Or, hang out with us for a bit longer and try out my 10-day free trial in The Smoothie Bar – I’ll teach you how to do your own responsive PR in only 10 mins a day!

The Smoothie Bar

The Smoothie Bar 10-Day Free Trial

(You only get to do this free thing once, so make sure you’ve got Twitter, a FB account and those 10 mins a day ready!)

Join us in The Smoothie Bar and learn how to do your own responsive PR in only 10 minutes a day. This is a quick and easy way for any start-up working in the food industry – producers, consultants, nutritionists etc. – to get their brilliant brand out there.

We take your card details at this stage so that you can easily become a Smoothie at the end of the free trial if you want to stay. No first payment is ever taken without your say so.

Click below to set up your card details and join the free trial.

What happens once I’ve pushed the button?

1. You’ll see an instant invite link to The Smoothie Bar Facebook group and receive your welcome email.

2. Click the Facebook link and I’ll let you in.

3. Check into the group for 10 minutes a day and get your PR party started!