From Our Farm Moves Biltong Products to Printed Pouches

It was a visit to South Africa that first planted the idea of producing home-made biltong in the minds of Rachel and Michael George, founders of start-up brand From Our Farm. With the savoury snack market growing, they spotted an opportunity to set up a sustainable and potentially lucrative business, supplying the relatively unknown and healthy dried-beef treat. 

The young couple runs a farm in Pembrokeshire on land that has been used for rearing cattle for more than four generations of the George family. The perfect ingredient was right there grazing on the fields outside their window – top quality Welsh beef – they just needed to learn how biltong was produced.

Like many entrepreneurs, their first attempt at making the new product was tentative. They created a makeshift dryer in their kitchen using a plastic storage tub, a bathroom extractor fan and a lightbulb to test their idea. The result was delicious and set the Georges on their journey and so From Our Farm was born. Soon production was moved into new purpose-built premises, near Narberth, where batches of biltong are now made in a state-of-the-art dryer. 

Over time, From Our Farm has expanded its range of tasty beef snacks. ‘Original Biltong’ has been joined by spicier flavors, including a chilli-flavored version and ‘Blazing Turmeric’ with yellow Scorpion chillis, not to mention super-hot ‘Carolina Reaper’ – all created with chillis from nearby Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm. 

Despite going national, Rachel and Mike still celebrate their Welsh heritage and were lucky enough to see their products featured on BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen as part of a St David’s Day feature on Welsh food this year. They are also the proud recipients of a Great Taste Award and their biltong carries the Protect Geographical Indication and Welsh Beef certification marks.

Enabling Growth with Digitally Printed Pouches 

Until now, the biltong has been sold in 40g, 500g and 1kg plain, resealable paper pouches with labels applied by hand. However, as sales continued to increase, this approach proved unsustainable, so to find a solution and help drive further growth, the company turned to ePac UK Silverstone for help.

From Our Farm’s packaging before partnering with ePac

Mike explains, “We wanted to migrate from adhesive labels to fully printed pouches to reduce the labour time spent applying them to each pack and reduce unit costs for our beef snack packaging. We also wanted to create a more eye-catching design, which was achievable with fully printed stand-up pouches.”

“We also had lots of customers who wanted to display our products from a clip strip, and euro-slotted, blank stand-up pouches just aren’t readily available from stock.” 

With no plate costs, low minimum orders and full flexibility in design and colors, digital print was a clear choice for From Our Farm. “Using digital print means that we can tweak any of our designs or wording in the future without incurring additional costs, and there is also a benefit in splitting our order over multiple designs, in quantities that reflect each flavor’s rate of sale,” says Mike.

Digital print has also been used to add individual codes to each pack, so consumers can trace their purchase back to the cow that the beef came from and receive information on breed, sex, date of birth and ear tag number.

Reducing Lead Times and Keeping it Local

ePac UK Silverstone works with many local brands who find that having their flexible packaging supplier nearby very reassuring. It makes keeping in touch so much easier and means that samples can be supplied at a moment’s notice. Deliveries won’t be held up en route from abroad or incur huge shipping costs. And with the COVID-19 crisis severely affecting supply chains, the change of packaging partner couldn’t have come at a better time for From Our Farm.

“The fact that ePac is UK-based was a big draw,’ continues Mike. “It allowed for easy communication regarding material barrier requirements and we were able to get samples quickly to determine the finish and feel we wanted. 

“UK-based also turned out to be a very big advantage when we came to place the order as we would probably be struggling to get packaging from overseas currently. It also meant we didn’t have to place a massive order to offset shipping costs.”

In terms of lead times, ePac wins hands down by turning orders around in less than 15 business days, once the artwork is approved. Compare this to buying from suppliers outside the UK who can take up to 12 weeks to deliver. The result is that less packaging needs to be held in stock, which reduces costs for warehousing and waste caused by redundant packaging.

“Fast delivery allowed us to run down our previous packaging held in stock to a bare minimum before placing an order; this really helps with cashflow for small businesses like us. It was also good to be able to get regular updates when printing and pouch-forming was completed to make sure the lead time was still on track,” Mike explains.

Having Confidence in Your Packaging Partner 

The move to fully printed pouches represented a considerable investment in stock for From Our Farm. Rachel and Mike were keen to work with a reliable and trustworthy partner where the lines of communication were open to ensure no mistakes were made and orders lost in translation.

“The team at ePac was very good in following up our queries during the costing and specification process. Cutter designs and proofs were turned around within an hour or two in most cases, which was really good as we had to make a few tweaks before approving final proofs. This whole process happened within the same day.”

Mike concludes, “One thing we have found when purchasing blank pouches is that colors and shading can vary quite considerably between orders, so we are glad that we won’t have that worry going forwards. Mostly though we are excited about not sticking on thousands of labels by hand each month!”

“We are always fully committed to helping the local communities and enable brands of all sizes to continue to grow – even more so through the current crisis,” says Nick Monk, Sales Director UK & Ireland and Managing Partner of ePac UK Silverstone. “And it is our privilege to support From Our Farm and help Rachel and Mike achieve their dream.”  

Are you looking for a better packaging solution for your brand? Contact us today to learn more about how ePac can help you.

When It Comes to Jerky Packaging, It’s All About Freshness

Move over potato chips, there’s a new savory snack on the scene that is filling grocery carts as more consumers opt for healthier, higher protein snacks.

What is it? It’s meat snacks, and more specifically- meat sticks and jerky. Meat snacks have come a long way since the Slim Jim, and there seems to be an endless opportunity in the segment to offer many varieties including turkey and beef, organic, grass-fed and premium options. Consumers appreciate the high-protein snack that fits nicely into many of the latest high-protein, low-carb diets, as well as a healthier snacking lifestyle.

Sales remain steady in the segment with new brands emerging to satisfy these trends. According to Nielsen, in 2017, meat snacks was a $2.8 billion category. The segment is bucketed into jerky and sticks, each of which contributes about half of the total sales. It’s no surprise that the segment is growing as U.S. consumers crave more and more protein. Nielsen reported that 55% of U.S. households say high protein is now an important attribute to consider when buying food for their households. And since consumers are snacking more, and sitting down to traditional meals less, jerky is definitely having its moment in the spotlight.

When launching your jerky brand, remember key packaging considerations to capture consumer attention, keep the jerky fresh and get your product to market quickly.

Designing Jerky Packaging For Convenience & Performance

Because snacking should always be convenient, jerky is most often packaged in pouches and bags for on-the-go consumption. Flexible packaging delivers to consumers the convenience of its lightweight, resealability and great design capabilities. And in unbreakable bags and pouches, the jerky becomes incredibly portable and easy to pack for school, work or climbing up a mountain.

Jerky can be packaged in both lay flat pouches and stand-up pouches, in either a single-serving size package for on-the-go consumption or a full-size package. Press to close zippers are best utilized when a consumer will want the ability to store the product while ensuring freshness, while single-serve pouches can utilize a tear notch for ease of opening.

Jerky Packaging for Maximized Freshness

But the biggest consideration when packaging jerky snacks is not consumer convenience, but rather freshness! The bag or pouch must keep the jerky inside fresh, staving off oxygen and moisture.

Moisture and oxygen threaten the jerky’s freshness, and when present can cause the product to develop mold and negatively impact shelf life. Because of this, the packaging must work to maintain moisture levels, and create an airtight seal.

High-barrier films are so important for jerky packaging, as they will create a strong protective barrier between the outer world and the product inside. This, combined with a tight seal, like a push to close zipper, with enough strength and functionality to allow consumers to open and close the pouch multiple times, will keep the meat snacks fresher for longer.

In addition to the bag or pouch working to keep the jerky fresh, the use of an oxygen absorber inside a plastic pouch or bag is also key to a package’s success as it works to prevent the growth of fungi and microorganisms. It works to keep air out, maintaining an oxygen level close to zero, during the entire life of the product.

Fresher jerky means a longer shelf life for both manufacturers and consumers, resulting in less waste and happier customers.

In summary, when it comes to jerky packaging, it’s all about freshness, keeping the meat fit for consumption. Bags and pouches accomplish this with superior strength, keeping oxygen out and freshness in. What’s more, pouches and bags offer the convenience of resealability, lightweight and the added perks of digital printing. With digital printing on flexible packaging, small and medium-sized companies can order short and medium run length orders, finished jerky pouches and roll stock, all shipped quickly. This means getting your product to market fast, and not holding a large inventory, saving you on waste and money down the road.

Digital printing takes the complexity out of ordering and printing your jerky packaging, with a simple, streamlined process. If you’re not sure of what custom jerky bags you need, our packaging experts will recommend the perfect product for any jerky or processed meat – or we can work with your specifications.

Contact us today for a free quote!