When it comes to condiments and their packaging, not a ton has changed over the years. But a new brand is shaking up the market with its classic ketchup and spicy sriracha slices that promise to save your sandwich or burger from sogginess.
Slice of Sauce is based in Austin, Texas and run by owners Cole and Emily Williams. The tale goes that Emily created the product by “happy accident” when she was recreating one of her dad’s barbecue sauce recipes. Part of the recipe involved braising vegetables, then discarding them. Not wanting to waste them, Williams instead dehydrated the veggies and they turned into a solid sheet of barbecue sauce. Curious, she tasted it and declared it awesome, thus beginning Slice of Sauce.
Getting the Slices Started
The company started in 2018 when after the barbecue sauce “accident,” the husband and wife duo began a Kickstarter campaign that went viral.
“It was a great success! The challenge then was to find scalable manufacturers, and the right manufacturing partners,” said Cole Williams, Co-Founder and General Manager, Slice of Sauce.
Part of finding the right partners involved a lot of trial and error. Initially, the company hired a conventional printer overseas to create the pouches for the slices, but the package quality left much to be desired.
“The original package from China was flimsy and cheap, and did not have the right barriers,” said Williams. “The product began to oxidize and was turning dark right away. We knew we needed a higher-quality package.”
The team also wanted a package design upgrade after originally using artwork that Emily created herself. The packaging design and branding firm they hired created the new packages’ artwork, featuring a two-toned color palette with a signature bite design that works as a whole to delight and inform consumers about the brand. With the new design finalized, the duo moved on to the next pressing issue: finding a new packaging partner that could address the quality issues they were facing.
Luckily, the Slice of Sauce team met ePac at an event hosted by Naturally Austin and it was a perfect match. The duo wasn’t very familiar with digital printing, especially in regards to consumer packaged goods, but Williams says he primarily felt excited to learn more about the technology and the solutions it would provide.
Custom Packaging for Packets of Sliced Ketchup
Today, ePac creates the matte, 3 ounce, resealable lay flat pouches that each hold 8 slices of sauce. ePac’s high quality film has all the barrier properties necessary to prevent the slices from oxidizing in the package, keeping them fresh. And inside the pouch, similar to a cheese package, each sauce slice is separated with parchment paper.
Not only did ePac print a better-quality package that extended the shelf life of the sauce, but the technology allowed the company to take advantage of the perks of digital printing.
“The new package from ePac is far superior than what we had before. Plus, we’ve been able to do short runs, which was so crucial to us as we were developing the brand. We were making changes often, be it a formula change, or recipe tweak. So, the ability to work with ePac to print off a smaller number, and make changes quickly with a super short lead time has been really helpful and easy,” said Williams.
After two years of hard work, Slice of Sauce is preparing for its official launch to market this November and is taking pre-orders for the two sliced sauce varieties. The product will be available online only for the first year on the company website, Amazon, and via Thrive Market.
“We’ve been working on refining our processes and our product over the last two years. In those two years we’ve talked to thousands of people and demo’d the product a ton. We went to tons of events in Austin where we got to test the market, and we got some feedback. Two years later, we finally landed on the right partnerships,” said Williams.
The Future of the Slice
In addition to e-commerce distribution, Slice of Sauce has plans to launch some new flavors and varieties of sliced condiments early next year, including a co-branded product with Secret Aardvark hot sauce. And while the COVID-19 pandemic did set the sliced ketchup packets company back a little with their grassroots efforts approach, Williams says they are leaning into their captive online audience.
“More recently we’ve been using social media and video to launch the brand, instead of in-person demos. People are on screens more and always online, so we’ve been having fun connecting with our audience that way,” said Williams.
And the audience has given a lot of positive feedback about both the sliced ketchup singles and its packaging.
“We’ve done a lot of testing and asked consumers, ‘does the packaging tell the right story, is it descriptive enough?’ and people look at it and they’re blown away. It looks so different than what is on the shelf. It catches their eye; it’s so bright, so bold! People are really taken by it,” said Williams.
Benefits of a Custom Packaging Partner
Are you looking for a better solution for your organic food packaging as you launch or relaunch your brand? With digital printing, you’ll enjoy a fast turnaround and the ability to print short runs, make changes on the fly, and most importantly work with experts in the field to help you determine the right film for any project. Call ePac today for a free quote.