Are you interested in flexible packaging for your brand, but you’re not sure where to start? In this guide we break down all of ePac Flexible’s packaging options, with detailed explanations about each.
The Rise of the CPG 2.0 Company
We’re seeing a rise of a new type of consumer packaged goods company – the CPG 2.0 firm – smaller, more conscientious brands that care about the ingredients they put in their food and their impact on the environment.
They’re also very mission-driven, driven more by a purpose than just by the profit motive. Obviously earning a profit is important, but it’s not the be all and end all of their existence.
For example, ePac customer Granarly is driven by its founder Morgan Potts’ goal of empowering human adventure. As Potts says on their About Us page:
“At Granarly, we know people are afraid to live outside their comfort zone. We believe every human has an adventurous life within, so we create on-the-go nutritious snacks to fuel people to live their gnarliest life.”
Another characteristic of CPG 2.0 companies is the passion of their founders. Werewoof founder and CEO, Cierra Thompson, is passionate about animal health, and wanted to create an alternative to the adulterated, mass-produced dog foods that are so unhealthy for our furry friends.
As the Werewood website states: “Our natural dog treats are handmade in the USA and are free of artificial flavors, colors and chemical preservatives…[o]ur treats are corn-free, and wheat-free and the ingredients are sourced from well vetted and mostly local suppliers.”
Finally, CPG 2.0 founders are smaller than traditional CPG manufacturers. Many times that’s because they’re startup companies, but staying small is often a choice: they prefer to keep things manageable, to have direct control over culture, lifestyle and their impact on the earth’s ecosystem.
Today’s CPG 2.0 Founders Expect More From Their Packaging
Seeing how this new crop of CPG founders are more passionate, mission-driven and focused on healthy alternatives – both for people and animals, as well as their environment – they also expect more of their packaging.
- They want to have that big brand presence (as ePac CMO Carl Joachim stated in a recent video), without having to commit to huge, wasteful minimum orders.
- They desire to express their brand through creative designs that communicate a distinct message.
- And finally, they want packaging made with environmentally friendly materials, reflecting their concern for the environment, packaging that complements the sustainable ingredients they use to make their products.
Additionally, according to a recent study by CPG consulting firm L.E.K. Consulting, 56% of CPG brand owners reported an increase in spending on packaging since 2019, and 65% said they anticipate growing their spending in 2022 and 2023.
The Rise of Digitally Printed Flexible Packaging
At ePac we are responding to the needs of the CPG 2.0 vendor with digitally printed flexible packaging. By leveraging modern digital printing technology we’re able to provide the features that today’s CPG 2.0 founder demands:
1. Small Runs and No Plate Fees
We believe this new crop of CPG brands shouldn’t have to wait until they reach a certain size before they can look professional with their packaging. And thanks to today’s technology, they don’t have to.
With digital printing, brands can commit to a minimum of only 1,000 units on their initial run, and avoid producing expensive plates that become redundant very soon after they’re made.
2. Quick Turnaround
CPG 2.0 companies don’t have time to wait the 6-8 weeks it takes for the ship from across the globe to deliver their pouches. Sometimes they need to get their bags into the store in less than a month.
This was the case with a customer of ours that recently received a last minute order from a large supermarket chain. They had to deliver finished package products ASAP. With ePac’s quick turnaround time (5-15 days) they were able to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
ePac’s digital printing platform is inherently sustainable: it uses less energy, produces less waste and has a smaller carbon footprint than traditional printing technologies. With the ability to order on demand, packaging obsolescence can also be eliminated, keeping unused plastic packaging out of landfill.
With environmentally friendly packaging, such as recyclable PE-PE Films, Post-Consumer Recyclable (PCR) Films, and our soon-to-be-made-available compostable films, we’ve opened up options to complement the missions of the company founders we serve.
4. Connected Packaging
To complement the paradigm-shifting worldview of today’s CPG 2.0 companies, ePac also offers packaging with connected packaging, powered by unique serialized QR codes.
Each package is unique, like a fingerprint, which allows brands to engage with consumers through personalized marketing messages, protect against product counterfeiting, and allow for track and trace.
5. A Canvas for Unique Designs
Finally, through digitally-printed flexible packaging, brands can express their creativity through unique packaging design. Brands can now feature works of fine art, make use of negative space using solid colors to stand out on supermarket shelves, and print seasonal or special occasion package designs.
A Breakdown of ePac’s Packaging Options
Let’s get into the nitty gritty. What kind of packaging options does ePac offer today’s CPG 2.0 brands?
stand up pouches
ePac’s signature package is our stand up pouches. They’re also our most popular offering.
Why do brands love our stand up pouches? They really allow you to stand out on the shelf (both the physical as well as the virtual shelf). They look different from the run-of-the-mill plastic and cardboard packaging.
With stunning, photo-quality graphics, and tons of options such as hang holes, tear notches, high vapor barriers, transparent or clouded windows, and gusset bottoms to mention a few, they’re the workhorse of our flexible packaging line.
They come in a variety of sizes, from small sizes for snack packs to large, family-sized options, depending on your brand’s needs.
And they’re not just for foodstuffs. Companies such as Crud Cloth offer one-time use washcloths with soap pods, whereas Puzzle in a Bag offers….surprise surprise….puzzles in a bag!
lay flat pouches
If your package needs to lay flat on the counter, you can try our lay flat pouches. While your packaging will be horizontal, you still get the high quality graphics and other options as our stand up pouches.
If you want single-use or sample sizes, like our client 6AM Run, lay flat pouches are perfect.
For maximum flexibility try ePac’s rollstock packaging, Ideal for a wide variety of products — everything from granola bars to packaged snacks to single-serve sample packs — rollstock is most suited to brands looking to create pillow pouches, packets, sachets and lay flat pouches using their own pouch-making equipment.
ePac customers Gezzelig, with their delicious stroopwafels, and energy bar maker Verb Energy, use rollstock for some of their packaging.
ePac’s packaging – whether stand up, lay flat or rollstock, can be manufactured with a variety of films, depending on your needs.
These include films that serve to extend product shelf life, films that are recyclable, post-consumer recycled (PCR), compostable or vegan. All fully customizable, they can be produced with finishes such as matte, soft-touch, gloss or spot embellishment, to name a few.
Our films help extend product shelf life and they’re designed to keep moisture and oxygen from entering or exiting the package.
And as to why our packaging helps you stand out on the shelf, here’s the secret: our films allow you to feature high-definition photo-quality graphics so you can create custom packaging with an unsurpassed, attention-grabbing look to attract new customers and set yourself apart from the competition.
ePac offers the following types of films:
- print films: Print films form the packaging layer that brings packaging design to life. With our HP digital presses, the print layer is reverse printed on a 29-inch wide web, preventing your image quality from deteriorating over time. The print film, combined with the barrier film, and sealant film, becomes the finished packaging product.
- sealant films: Sealant films, also known as packaging laminates, protect your packaging’s image quality from fading and losing vibrancy while providing a protective layer. Sealant film “seals” in the ink, and our solventless lamination process eliminates VOC emissions and creates a more eco-friendly package.
- barrier films: Barrier films preserve product freshness, extend shelf life, and ensure product enjoyment. This film layer prevents the passage of atmospheric gases, water vapor, and odor from entering or exiting the package. With high-barrier packaging, your product is protected from punctures and tears during transit and on and off the shelf. And our barrier films are all FDA compliant for direct food contact.
child resistant packaging
Need to package food stuffs or supplements for grown-up use only? Our Certified Child Resistant stand up and lay flat pouches have been tested and certified by third-party agencies to meet federal test requirements provided in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, (CFR 16, Part 1700), and as referenced by A.S.T.M. D3475.
Child Resistant (CR) packages are designed to reduce the risk of children successfully opening a package and ingesting potentially harmful or hazardous products. We offer a child resistant press-to-close zipper for safe and convenient pouch resealability.
Child resistant packaging is perfect for medications, herbal medicines, dietary supplements, lawn & garden products, and more.
custom mylar packaging
Custom mylar bags are highly desirable in the food, herb and supplement space because of their strength, durability and ability to protect their contents from the outside environment.
Their scent-proof and odor-resistant nature make them a great way to keep products that are known for their strong fragrance from infiltrating its surrounding environment.
As noted above, ePac offers environmentally friendly packaging for today’s modern CPG companies.
- Recyclable PE-PE films: Our 100% Polyethylene (PE) films are fully recyclable and are customizable to include high-barrier structures, providing optimal product protection. Similar to standard pouch constructions, our recyclable high-barrier films are oxygen and water vapor resistant and feature photo-quality graphics. Our recyclable films are Store Drop-off compliant (part of the How2Recycle program).
- Post-Consumer Recycled (PE) films: After recyclable packaging (ex: milk cartons or water bottles) have fulfilled their life cycle, they are diverted from landfills and converted into other commodities, such as new packaging material. The new packaging uses ~28% less virgin polymer, since it’s replaced by PCR resins. By using PCR films in our packaging, we are able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by ~15.25%.
- Compostable films: Our compostable films are perfect for brands seeking a fully-compostable packaging option. At the end of the product life cycle, this type of packaging can be broken down into non-toxic components. It will return to the soil without harming, and will actually nourish, surrounding plant life. *Due to uncertainty in the supply chain, ePac cannot currently offer this product.
The Bottom Line
There’s a new market emerging – a market of locally-based, sustainable, purpose-driven CPG manufacturers. So many new companies eethat follow this new CPG 2.0 model have become empowered by digitally-printed flexible packaging because of the flexibility and options now available to them: smaller minimum orders, photo-finish designs, environmentally friendly options and more.
Now the ball is in your court: what’s stopping you from stepping up to the plate to compete with the big brands?
Your size isn’t a barrier anymore.
Your environmental principles can’t keep you from using great-looking packaging.
There is nothing to stop you from going out and conquering the world!
Let us know how we can help. Let’s start this journey together!