COCO teams up with ePac for arty pouches

Artisan chocolate company COCO Chocolatier uses its packaging as a canvas for artists and artisans from around the world. Its chocolate bars are wrapped in artwork showcasing a multitude of styles and genres. However, bringing that successful concept to stand-up pouches for a new product line proved a challenge, until the COCO team was introduced to ePac UK’s digital print expertise.

Bringing together chocolate and art with packaging

Edinburgh-based COCO Chocolatier was founded in 2004. The company was acquired in 2013 by Calum Haggerty, who spotted an exciting opportunity to combine business with his passion for art, and in the process make art more accessible to the public. Working with a leading design agency, the COCO branding for each product was evolved under the tagline ‘The Art of Chocolate’, moving it from generic geometric designs to specially commissioned artwork. 

“We collaborate with independent artists from all over the world to create unique designs to wrap our chocolate,” said Calum. ‘We also work with many like-minded creative businesses, such as TATE and Talisker, to create limited editions.” 

High profile partnerships have resulted in exclusive collections of chocolate bars, such as the Thank You NHS! project, which was created to raise funds for the NHS and express gratitude for the amazing work done by healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This featured artwork by Sir Billy Connolly, along with illustrator and graphic novelist Andrew Rae, and Portis Wasp, a Scottish mixed media artist whose work is inspired by pop culture and celebrity.

Winning designs for ethical chocolate products

As the company has grown, new flavours have been introduced and the product portfolio has expanded. Personalized artwork from contemporary artists grace the packaging of premium chocolate bars, batons, thins, drops, truffles and drinking chocolate, which come in both traditional and new innovative flavours, such as Rose & Black Pepper, Lavender and Haggis Spice.  

The arty chocolate products really stand out in a crowded market, and in 2020, they won COCO a place on The Dieline’s list of Top 50 Package Designs. “Our art concept allows our products to look unique, and simultaneously provides a platform for artists to showcase their work to an audience that may have never come across their art before,” said Calum.

COCO’s approach to sourcing the ingredients for the chocolate is also very innovative. The company decided early on it would work with its Colombian supply partners to create a more finished product at origin, rather than importing the cacao themselves. 

“We like to challenge the industry norm, so instead of buying the raw commodity at much lower cost, we purchase coverture (high-quality chocolate buttons) directly from Colombia and use those to create our chocolate products here in Edinburgh. This contributes to the economy of a developing country, and it is something that we are really proud of,” explained Calum. 

Getting to market with short pouch runs

The latest product line from COCO is a range of giant chocolate buttons, sold in pouches produced by ePac UK, with artwork by illustrator and fine artist, David Bray. There are three varieties – dark, milk and white chocolate – each featuring one of David’s delicate drawings with themes that are rooted in the reality of dark fantasy, beauty, erotica, and the female form. David’s art can also be found on jars of chocolate caramel spread, another recent introduction.

The new button stand-up pouches have been digitally printed and converted at ePac UK’s Silverstone plant, leveraging the power of their line of HP Indigo 20000 Digital Presses and state-of-the-art pouch-making machinery. ePac UK was able to deliver the perfect combination of high-quality graphics, short run lengths of each SKU, and just-in-time production, finally enabling COCO to get to market with this packaging format.

“Previously pouches have been cost prohibitive due to the volume we would be required to purchase, so this is the first time we have created pouches like this for our products,” said Debbie MacLennan, COCO’s Product Development Manager.

Digital technology skips a whole step in prepress, as no printing plates are required. This naturally speeds up the process and eliminates the costs associated with making plates. As a result, minimum order quantities (MOQs) can be kept low, giving brands the opportunity to print multiple SKUs at lower cost and without the financial risk of ending up with surplus stock. With conventional printing, brands must order thousands of pouches up front, which in the past has denied many new companies access to professional looking packaging. 

For COCO, the benefits of partnering with ePac are clear. “Working with ePac UK has allowed us to produce smaller numbers per SKU than we would traditionally have been able to. For us that meant we could launch the new line and that we are able to offer it at a cost-effective margin,” said Debbie. 

She added, “We chose ePac because we liked the quality and the bold colours they can produce. They also offer much more flexibility than other suppliers and have kept us updated about the progress throughout the project.”

Expanding the chocolate experience

COCO Chocolatier is currently renovating a building at the Port Edgar Marina in South Queensferry, as it prepares the next step in its journey by moving its production and office facilities to larger premises. 

The new home will also include a visitor centre attraction to allow customers closer access to the brand and the artwork it has become so famous for, including work David Bray created for the new pouches. 

“It has always been an aspiration of ours to open a visitor centre, where people could take chocolate making classes, attend chocolate tasting experiences and view the artwork that we use on our wrappers, so this is very exciting,” concluded Calum.

Are you looking to get your products into stand-up pouches with photo-quality print in bright, clear colours, but finding it difficult due to high minimum order quantities? Get in touch today to hear how we can help you.

Doisy & Dam Transfers Chocolate Packaging to Digital Print

Few would argue with Doisy & Dam’s mantra that chocolate makes everything better, and as all the company’s products are made from natural, ethically sourced cocoa and contain no palm oil, you can indulge your chocolate cravings without feeling guilty. 

The successful start-up was founded 2012 by childhood friends and young entrepreneurs Edward Smith and Richard Wilkinson, who wanted to offer a healthier and more ethical alternative for chocolate lovers. After a lot of experimentation in their own kitchen, they came up with a range of chocolate bars and started production. They named the company after the scientists who won the Nobel Prize in 1943 for the discovery of vitamin K – Henrik Dam and Edward Doisy – and initially sold their bars through small independent shops across London. 

Early feedback from customers shaped product development, while family and friends gave a helping hand and supported the business financially. A hugely successful 2016 crowdfunding campaign – set up to further fund expansion plans – saw Ed and Rich raise just shy of £300,000 in 28 hours, and they haven’t stopped since.

Chocolate with a conscience

Today, Doisy & Dam’s delicious superfood chocolate goodies can be found in Sainsbury’s, Holland & Barrett, Boots and Whole Foods, along with online retailers Amazon and Ocado. The product packaging stands out with its fresh and vibrant colours, the result of a recent rebrand and new partnership with ePac UK. All the company’s stand-up pouches, pillow packs and flow wraps are now printed at ePac’s digital print and converting competence centre at Silverstone.

The confectionery segment, which includes chocolate, has developed a conscience over the past few years. Consumers want to lead healthier lives, so they choose to eat better quality food and treats. They also want certainty that those products have been made without exploiting workers or causing damage to the environment. 

Doisy & Dam’s strong ethics naturally appeal to this market. As the 128th company in the UK to achieve Benefit Corporation (B Corp) certification, it has proved its commitment to the environment, social responsibility and good business practices. 

Having a social conscience also means choosing to work with a transparent and sustainable supply chain. At the heart of this supply chain is Luker Chocolate in Colombia, which supports and trains local farmers, while also delivering the highest quality cocoa. The cocoa itself has been classified as having a “Fino de Aroma” (fine flavour) by the International Cocoa Organisation – a status only awarded to some 8% of the world’s cocoa yield.

Changing to a full-service, local packaging supplier

Earlier this year, Doisy & Dam went through a rebrand which saw a number of new products launched and existing packaging redesigned. To ease this transition, the company wanted to find a packaging solution that could give them complete design freedom, fastest time to market and no waste. They wanted to find a different way to get their products on shelf and they wanted to find a local supplier. 

Enter ePac UK Silverstone with their flexible packaging expertise and deep knowledge of supporting smaller brands in getting to market using digital print and state-of-the-art converting technology. As a local, full-service provider, ePac could support Doisy & Dam with high-quality pouches and roll stock on-demand, with fast delivery and lowest minimum orders. ePac’s digital printing platform is also inherently sustainable, using less energy, producing less waste and having a smaller carbon footprint than conventional printing technology. 

“We started working with ePac UK, because digital printing seemed to be the best solution for us. A new product launch can be quite scary for smaller businesses like ours and we wanted to find a supplier that understood our ethos,” says Procurement and Operations Manager Pauline Morel. “We really appreciate the transparent and cooperative relationship we have managed to build quickly with ePac. Their values echo well with ours and we really value their carbon neutral position.”

Enjoying full flexibility with digital printing 

Packaging on demand, in just the amount needed at the time, hugely benefits small and medium sized companies. Not only does it give them the agility to react quickly, so new sales opportunities can be captured as they arise, it also means inventory can be managed more effectively so vast sums of money are not tied up in stock. 

With many product lines and now also seasonal products, it was clear that digital printing could help Doisy & Dam achieve much greater control of packaging procurement and supply. Importantly, it would also eliminate unnecessary packaging waste. Pauline states, “One of the biggest advantages of digital is that we don’t need to order significant volumes simply to meet an MOQ. This also gives us the opportunity to manage our cashflow more efficiently.”

New packaging designs can take months to bring to market and getting the branding right is of course vital. However, with no plates needed to print and full design flexibility, this whole process can be shortened and cost a lot less. “Digital print gives us the flexibility to make modifications to our packaging artwork easily, which is always needed when you launch a new product,” says Pauline.

Doisy & Dam’s Marketing Manager Alexa Smith adds, “It was a bit nerve-wracking for us, as the new design was such a departure from our old brand look and feel, but the reaction has been so positive. And to be able to have printed packaging that has such vibrancy and precision is the icing on the cake. We know that we couldn’t get the same quality without digital printing.”

Moving to digital also gave Doisy & Dam easy access to launching seasonal product lines. “We have just had a really successful first foray into seasonal products at Easter and ePac was a big help with printing our ‘Good Eggs’ pouches. We are now developing our new packaging range for Christmas, which ePac will be helping us out with too.”

“Fast delivery from a local supplier and flexibility in design helped Doisy & Dam get their new products to market, and we were delighted to support their whole product range of roll stock and pouches,” says Nick Monk, Sales Director UK & Ireland and Managing Partner of ePac UK Silverstone. “With no origination costs and lowest minimum orders, Doisy & Dam can manage their cashflow and inventory much better, and grab any new opportunity to get into a retailer quickly.”  

Would you like to have the same flexibility in your packaging choices? Call us today to learn more about how ePac UK can help you.

6 Must-Haves for a Stand Out Gummy Package

From birthday parties, to holidays, to everyday treats, candy is everywhere and consumption is rising. The candy aisles are full of options from legacy brands like Mars and Hershey’s to more artisan and local brands. And when it comes to gummy candy specifically, the market is exploding with new choices that consumers are hungry for.

Peeking into the Gummy Market

Within the candy industry, the gummy candy segment is growing, with more brands, flavors, and products available to satisfy consumers of all ages and demographics.

In fact, the global gummies and jellies market is predicted to reach $40 billion at a 5% compound annual growth rate between 2020 and 2024, according to a new report by Market Research Future. North America will dominate the market over the forecast period, with the U.S. being the major contributor in the region, accounting for more than 80% of the total revenue. 

According to MRF, what’s driving growth for the segment is a booming candy industry, rising consumer spending, and an increased consumption of gummies over chocolates. In addition, “unique packaging, seasonal consumption occasions and the shape, design, texture, sugar content, and flavors of gummies and jellies are increasing consumer interest.” 

Becoming a Gummy Trendsetter

Within the segment, there are growing trends for today’s gummies that include:

Better-for-You Options

Many gummy brands are introducing candy made with either clean ingredients, low sugar, real sugar, natural flavors, or with other health claims that set the product apart from other more traditional candies. 

Medicinal Gummies 

Although not directly a part of the gummy and jelly candy segment, medicinal gummies are also rising in popularity. Gummy vitamins, minerals, and pharmaceuticals remain a popular way to take everyday medicine and herbal supplements for users of all ages.

Premium Brands

Many gourmet gummies have burst on the scene in the last few years that elevate candy beyond the average, everyday eating. These include gourmet, small batch gummies with unique flavors, such as ones inspired by cocktails, and are frequently sold in high-end stores and boutiques.  

Superior Packaging 

Today’s gourmet gummies are more often packaged in premium, gift-like packaging in vibrant colors with beautiful graphics. A good number of these gummies are packaged in upscale stand up pouches that offer a convenient reseal closure.  

6 Gummy Packaging Ideas + Must-Haves

To satisfy these trends and cravings, consider creating your next gummies packaging with these six must-have attributes in mind:

1. Convenient Pouches 

Consumers love the convenience and lightweight, shatterproof quality of pouches. Plus, they’re easy to open and close, as well as pour and scoop from, and gummies pack well in the bag. 

On the marketing side, pouches offer a large amount of space for branding and graphics. Remember that a great design and quality package, like a pouch, go a long way to showcase a brand’s premium look and feel. 

2. Clear Window

See-through packaging allows the consumer to see the beautiful and colorful candy inside, enticing them to make a purchase. A clear window also builds trust when you allow the consumer to see the product before they buy it. 

3. Resealability

This must-have delivers two major benefits. Resealability offers consumers the chance to take the gummies on the go for snacking, without the risk of spilling. It also means that the package will stay sealed when not in use, which keeps the candy fresher for longer.

4. Multiple SKUs

Everybody loves variety! More flavors allows you to appeal to more palates and gain more customers. Plus, with a variety of packages, your brand will take up more space on the shelf for increased exposure. 

5. Seasonal Varieties

Who doesn’t love seasonal and holiday flavors? Red gummy hearts for Valentine’s Day, peppermint gummies for the winter holidays – the choices are endless. With more seasonal and flavor options, your product can be on store shelves all year long. 

And, when you choose digitally printed pouches, you can create short runs with seasonal flavors in limited-edition packaging, so you can introduce a new gummy flavor for every holiday. 

6. Bright, Photo-Quality Graphics 

Walk down the candy aisles and you can’t help but notice one thing: brightly colored packaging. Why? Bright colors ignite the senses and attract consumers. It’s a win-win in our books!

With digital printing, you can achieve photo-like graphics and bright, vibrant colors on your packaging, which will not only attract new customers, but also help with brand recognition.

Gummy Packaging Partner

As you develop your gummy packaging, it’s important that you find a packaging provider that meets your individual needs. When you partner with a flexible packaging company that specializes in digital printing, you can enjoy short lead times and low order minimums. Plus, digitally printed custom flexible packaging creates photo-quality graphics and images, allows for 360° branding, and delivers the convenience and aesthetics today’s consumers crave. Call us today, or request a free quote, and let us help you create your custom gummy bear packaging or other confection packaging.

Trends and Opportunities Within the Candy Packaging Market

From hard candy to gummies, chocolate, and licorice, today’s candy market is vast, much more so than in years past. Candy aisles are bursting with options from legacy brands like Mars and Hershey’s as well as newer, artisan, and local brands rising to compete in the space. And there are even food brands not traditionally in the candy space that are producing sweet treats to get a share of the market.

As a candy brand, you know how important it is to set yourself apart from the competition and make your product and package jump off the shelf.  As you create your next candy line-up, consider these trends in the market to get a leg up on the competition.

The Candy Industry is Growing, and Changing 

Today’s candy aisles are busy and the market is growing, but it isn’t just ordinary options that are pulling consumers in.

According to IBIS World, industry revenue has increased annually over the past five years. But the research company states that heightened competition, as well as health concerns for today’s health-conscious shoppers has changed the market.

Since consumers are more aware of the nutrients in their food than ever before, items like high sugar and high calorie are turning some people away, reports IBIS World. But product innovations that appeal to the health-conscious mindset have seen positive returns. 

Tamalitoz by Sugarox pouch lineup.

The Current Candy Market

Part of the reason the candy market is growing has less to do with the candy itself, and more about the current environment. According to a report issued by IRI in March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred Americans to find some comfort in indulgent food, like candy. 

The report stated that when looking across all channels for the week ending March 15, 2020, consumers bought about 50% more cookies than during the same time period in the previous year. And, chocolate candy went up 21.1%, while non-chocolate candy went up 14.4%. 

As you create your next (or first) candy product, be aware that consumers are looking for both healthier options, as well as an indulgent treat that will make them feel good – especially in times of unknown.

How to Move with the Candy Market

To meet demand, more brands are creating ‘healthier” candy options made with organic and locally sourced ingredients, fruit and nuts, low sugar, or even sugar-free. There is also a huge market for keto-friendly, dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free treats that appeal to consumers following a free-from lifestyle. 

You may notice that there are also health food brands introducing their own version of candy options that tout things like made with real sugar, minimally processed ingredients, and raw or whole foods. These products are still candy, but with ingredients that consumers can eat guilt free, while still appealing to their desire for an indulgent treat. 

The rising awareness of sustainability is pushing the market forward as well. And part of that is eco friendly candy packaging, sustainable company practices, and even fair-trade issues surrounding products like chocolate. Consumers want to feel good about the things that they buy, and want to support brands that care about more than just their bottom line.

Flexible Packaging for the Win

As candy sales climb from increased purchasing during the COVID-19 pandemic, an influx of small brands coming to market, and healthier candy options emerging, one candy packaging format rises above the rest.

It’s really no surprise that flexible packaging is growing in the candy market. Flexible packaging allows for 360 degrees of branding, is lightweight, unbreakable and offers many options like stand-up, reseal, and even sustainable material options. 

There are three main types of flexible packaging for the candy market:

  • Stand-up pouches are a popular choice today for premium candy, for both small and large sizes. The multi-serving shareable bags and pouches with resealing technology help keep the candy fresh. And since they stand up, it’s easy to scoop, pour, and snack from right from the bag.
  • Rollstock is a popular option for small and large candy bars in that it allows for full branding of the bar, is lightweight and economical. 
  • Lay-flat pouches work well for bags of loose candy in all sizes. They are lightweight, and can be created with clear windows to showcase what’s inside.
Lay flat pouches from our friends at Kopper’s Chocolate

Digital Printing and Candy Packaging 

It’s common knowledge that an eye-catching design promotes a strong brand presence, as well as a higher value. But great design can’t stand on its own — it needs to be printed in a way that fully brings that design to life. Digital printing creates high-impact graphics, bright colors, and 360 degrees of candy packaging design, so you can include all the images, marketing and nutritional information, and brand story that you’d like. 

With digital print, brands of all sizes looking for custom candy packaging can also benefit from low minimum orders, quick turnaround time, and multi-SKU runs. 

Partnering with a Candy Packaging Manufacturer

If you’re in need of hard candy packaging, gummy candy packaging, or packaging for your craft chocolate, look no further than ePac. We specialize in digitally printed, custom flexible packaging, and our team of flexible packaging experts is ready to help you stand out on busy candy shelves. Contact us today or click here to get a free quote. 

Undercover Snacks Uncovers a Winning Solution with Digital Printing

Undercover Snacks, a better-for-you chocolate snack, is made from crispy quinoa, lightly covered in premium chocolate. Coming in a variety of flavors, including seasonal options, this healthy treat has come a long way since it originally launched in 2016.

Founder and CEO, Diana Levy, is a self-proclaimed chocoholic who began creating gourmet chocolates as a hobby in 2013. When her daughters were diagnosed with celiac disease in 2016, Levy took her love for chocolate and desire to create a gluten-free snack to the kitchen. The result? Undercover Snacks

Ramping Up Growth 

Undercover Snacks is no stranger to growth. After starting the brand in her kitchen, Levy shifted her focus to store demonstrations and social media, resulting in national exposure. How? It was a matter of having a really great product at a time that consumers needed and wanted it most.

“The product is gluten free and allergy friendly, and since we manufacture in our own facility, we can ensure there is no cross contamination,” said Levy. “Dieticians and nutritionists recommend our product for clients in need of allergy-friendly snacks.” 

Additionally, the snacks fill a need in the market as consumers look for better-for-you options for snacks and treats that don’t sacrifice taste. 

“We use simple, higher quality ingredients for our products, which is why they taste so amazing, said Levy.  “Our products are so incredibly delicious that it is easy for people looking for a healthier option to make the switch.”

After receiving enough positive feedback, Levy launched the brand in a handful of stores in 2016, and by 2017 had garnered attention from some large retailers, including Whole Foods. As she began to scale the company, she had to make the decision of where to manufacture the snacks.

“In the beginning I tried to find a co-manufacturer to make them for us. But the product is so unique; the ratio of chocolate to quinoa is so small they weren’t able to make it the way that I wanted. So, I made the decision build out my own factory in New Jersey,” said Levy.

That’s when Levy’s husband Michael, who has decades of experience working with food companies, joined Undercover. Together they opened their own state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in East Hanover, NJ. The factory, which opened in 2018, has the capacity to run 40,000 bags per day, which is a good thing since the brand is currently sold in over 4,000 stores, and is on track to double or even triple that in the next year.

Today, you can find Undercover Snacks throughout the US in grocery stores like Kroger and Whole Foods, independent retailers, natural, and convenience stores, as well as on college campuses and at food service locations. They are also available on Amazon and directly from the brand’s website.

The Undercover Packaging Story

Getting the brand from Levy’s kitchen to national store chains took some time, as well as finding the right partners. Her journey is unique as she learned some hard lessons early on in trying to find the right custom chocolate packaging supplier. She initially printed the bags overseas, but when she received the first part of the shipment, the quality was not what she hoped for and she determined she could not use the bags.

“I lost my money on that order… and I didn’t even get the rest of the packaging. I learned a hard lesson that way,” said Levy.

After that, she found a company that did rotogravure printing for their pouches. To get started, Levy had to purchase the cylinders for the set up and commit to a large order. After receiving her order though, she faced yet another setback.

“Almost days after I received my order, Whole Foods asked me to change something on my packaging before going into their stores,” described Levy.

Not wanting to lose the massive retailer, she obliged. Disappointed, Levy felt the blow yet again of unused packaging and wasted materials. But after some encouragement from her husband, she got up and kept pressing on. 

“I realized that I would probably have to make other updates to the packaging as the brand evolved, and I did not want to continue to incur the expense of printing plates each time I made a change. After some initial research,  I knew I needed to find a small run, digital printer in the U.S., which eventually led me to ePac.  I’ve been using them ever since.” 

ePac supplies all the stand up pouches in multiple sizes for the various Undercover Chocolate products. The chocolate snack packaging is resealable for optimal sharing, snacking, and storing. But the best part is now Levy can place small orders, make changes to the chocolate packaging design easily, and print packaging as needed.

“ePac solved a huge problem for us.” said Levy. “With short runs we were able to make updates as I received new certifications, like gluten-free, nut-free, Non-GMO Verified and Rainforest Alliance-certified. Each time I received a new one, I wanted to put it on the packaging immediately. We also grew so quickly that it was extremely helpful to be able to place frequent small orders.”

With digital printing, small brands like Undercover can take advantage of ordering on a flexible, as-needed basis and make changes to the package as often as necessary. And, there are never any plates to set up or purchase. 

“With digital printing, I don’t have to invest in tooling and plates and I’m able to make changes to the design quickly, and print small runs,” said Levy. “And I am not charged to run more SKUs. We can add a few hundred bags of a new flavor to try and just tag it onto an existing order.”

Digital printing with ePac helps small businesses get started and grow without having to make a costly upfront investment. Ready to learn how digital printing for snack packaging can help your small business? Call us today to chat with a flexible packaging expert, or click here to request a quote. 

Small Cacao Pouches Deliver Big Results

Andrew Dunbar has made healthy snacking a way of life with an unconventional sweet: cacao nibs. 

In 2014, Dunbar was working in the healthcare industry and was looking for a change. So he decided to follow a lifelong dream of starting his own business and launched a cacao nib startup. At that time, cacao nibs were not a well-known treat, but Dunbar was on a mission to bring the snack into the spotlight. He knew that with enough effort he could spread the word about the tastiness and health benefits of cacao nibs. He hoped that the snack would be a hit, but he couldn’t have foreseen just how much his business would grow in only a few short years.

Building a Cacao Company

In the early years, Dunbar was packaging his cacao nibs in stock bags with hand-applied labels, and selling them via Amazon. Eventually, he found a packer that would package the nibs for him and ship them directly to the e-commerce giant. The packer he found was Kakosi, a Venezuelan cacao brand that produced a variety of cacao products. Two brothers had started the company to help their friends and family grow and sell cacao naturally, without the use of pesticides.

As Dunbar’s business was growing, the stars aligned – Kakosi was looking to sell its cacao business. 

“It all seemed to line up. The timing was perfect for me to acquire Kakosi,” says Dunbar.

Since Dunbar acquired the company in 2016, he works hard to keep the original sustainable and ethical farming practices in place.

A Chance Encounter with ePac Creates a Packaging Transformation

After the acquisition, one of the first things Dunbar set out to do was upgrade the packaging. Since the products were already sold in the popular pouch format, Dunbar was mainly looking to create a new design that would resonate with the end-user. He had chosen pouches because they’re so light-weight, unbreakable, and really resonate with consumers. Plus, it was the best format for the on-the-go size he would later relaunch in ePac’s digitally printed pouches. 

As Dunbar began the rebranding in 2016, he started working with a packaging supplier overseas to create the new packaging, but he was having to endure large minimum orders, several plate set-ups, and mounting fees. 

“Each package has a clear window and that meant extra plate fees,” says Dunbar.

Dunbar hadn’t yet heard of ePac and its capabilities so he thought that this was the only way. Budget constraints meant that Kakosi had to move through the repackaging process slowly.

“Once we figured out what the new packaging would be, we didn’t have the budget to do it all right away. It was expensive, and we had high minimums and huge orders… it was a big investment, so we broke it up into three rounds,” says Dunbar.

But the stars aligned again for the small business when out of the blue Dunbar received a call from ePac. The sales representative pitched him a new way of ordering pouches with digital printing. Even though he was already in the process of ordering new pouches from a different supplier, Dunbar still listened to the pitch. 

“I needed a good price and a low minimum order, and she got back to me with exactly that!” says Dunbar.

ePac was able to deliver quality pouches with a low order minimum, all with a fast turnaround. What’s more, the order minimum was for the order as a whole, not by SKU, which helped stand the company apart from the competition.  

“It took a long time to find a good vendor, with low minimum orders, and a good price point. I am so happy I went with ePac; I only wish I would have found them before, I wouldn’t have nearly as many pouches as I have right now, and I’d have more cash in the bank. We’ll be using ePac for all future products and orders,” says Dunbar.

From the start, Dunbar knew that working with ePac was different than working with his former overseas supplier. ePac specializes in short runs, is competitively priced, and has offices throughout the U.S. 

“Our other packaging was printed in China, where it took three months to get here after sitting in customs for a month. ePac has offices all over, including in Boston, so we got our order in a matter of weeks instead of months,” says Dunbar.

Another big difference? With digital printing, various design elements and changes are a lot easier. 

“With digital printing that doesn’t matter, you just change the image on the computer and you’re done. There are no set-up charges for each design and no plates to buy… that’s a big plus,” says Dunbar.

Packaging Sells

Andrew Dunbar and Kakosi know that a great package has the power to tell a story, draw consumers in, and keep them coming back. 

“It used to be that it took a long time before customers knew the quality and flavours of our cacao. But with the updated packaging, people are much more eager to try it,” says Dunbar.

In July 2019, Dunbar received his 1-ounce, 3-side seal, lay-flat, recyclable pouches from ePac for five SKUs in the product line-up: cocoa butter, shea butter, cacao nibs, and two hot cacao varieties. The small size allows consumers to try something new, use just what they need for a recipe, or take the product on the go. The ePac pouches are fully branded, feature a clear window to see the product inside, and are recyclable, which aligns with the brand’s emphasis on sustainability.

Since working with ePac, sales for the popular 1-ounce size bags are up. Retailers and consumers like the look and feel of the small bags, and they offer a great opportunity for people to give the products a try.

“It’s easier now to sell the products because of the better packaging. Also, once stores put them on to shelves, they start selling much quicker than before, and re-orders are more frequent. And it’s because packaging sells,” says Dunbar.

Today, Kakosi creates hot cacao mix, cacao nibs, baking products like cacao and shea butters, as well as cacao baking powder. The brand sells its products to health food stores, grocery and gourmet stores, as well as online to consumers.  Kakosi supports local groups in Ecuador and in the Dominican Republic so that cacao can still be produced ethically and sustainably. Thanks to the custom, branded and recyclable pouches from ePac, Dunbar is able to better tell that brand story through the best avenue- the packaging. 

Are you a small brand looking to make a big impact through your confection packaging? Call us today for a free quote to see how we can help you.