Mochi Bros serves gelato sandwiches in premium pouches

Start-up premium brand Mochi Bros turned to ePac UK Silverstone for support in finding the perfect packaging to match the high quality of its new mochi gelato sandwiches. The partnership resulted in soft-touch luxury pouches with built-in technology that helps engage directly with customers.

Mochi is a traditional Japanese soft and chewy rice dough that has become popular the world over, often in combination with an ice cream filling. After Bristol-based Osama Rashed first tasted one of these delicious treats, he realised that there was a market opportunity in the UK for a premium mochi gelato sandwich. 

With a degree in finance and accounting, Osama had originally set out to climb the career ladder as an analyst in the oil & gas industry, but his dream was to build his own business and work on projects that he could be truly passionate about. And so, he decided to seize the opportunity and make a career change. 

“Having worked in oil & gas for some years, I had begun to recognise that this was not the path I wanted to follow in the long run. What inspired me was the idea of being my own boss, so I had started to explore a few options before stumbling on mochi ice cream during a trip to the supermarket with a friend,” explained Osama. 

This chance encounter with the mochi concept was the catalyst for change for the budding entrepreneur, and the idea for Mochi Bros was soon born. 

Creating gelato in the Italian way

Setting out to create a premium mochi gelato brand without any knowledge of manufacturing was, however, a big challenge. He planned to find a UK manufacturer to produce the vegan gelato treat ground to a halt after some initial research. Instead, he decided to travel to Bologna in Italy, the home of some of the world’s best gelato, to learn the art of the ‘gelatière’ and develop recipes with a difference: delicious clean gelato made from only a few ingredients with exciting and innovative flavours that reflected Osama’s Middle Eastern heritage. 

The result was a dairy-free – or as Mochi Bros describes it ‘udderlessly’ – creamy gelato made from cashew nuts, which in addition to being vegan is also free from preservatives, artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners, and palm oil. With just eight or fewer ingredients, the mochi gelato sandwiches are available in five unique and delicious flavours: Baklawa premium pistachio, Roseberry sweet strawberry with rose, Lemonana Sicilian lemon with mint, Shai Nana Moroccan mint tea, and Kahwa Colombian coffee.

In just nine months, Mochi Bros was officially launched.  Partnering with ePac UK Silverstone on the packaging helped to deliver a professional finished product for his five unique SKUs, in the exact quantities he needed, and in less than two weeks…  Initially, the mochi gelato sandwiches were being sold locally in Osama’s hometown of Bristol at events, pop-ups, and via a website, but there are big plans to go national and beyond. 

Sourcing premium packaging: ePac saves the day

Getting the branding right and finding a packaging supplier for your products is often a big hurdle for small start-ups. Many simply opt for cheap one- or two-colour printed labels stuck to pre-made pouches. But Osama was more ambitious; he wanted to present Mochi Bros’ premium products in premium packaging that conveyed the right message right from the start.

The initial experience of sourcing premium packaging was not very positive. Osama soon found that he could not meet the minimum order quantities (MOQs) that most traditional packaging suppliers demanded. Furthermore, he was planning to launch five SKUs meaning he would be ordering even shorter runs of each design. 

While conventional manufacturing methods do not allow the agility that small to medium brands need for their packaging, digital technology has created a whole new world of opportunities with the ability to have very low MOQ produced. Even better, without being restricted by the limitations (and costs) of printing plates, digital gives you full design freedom, so changes can be made at any time in the process. 

Fortunately, Osama discovered digital flexible packaging specialist ePac UK and contacted the team at Silverstone for help. Not only could they print his small orders and multiple SKUs, but he was also amazed to find that ePac would be able to ship the pouches in less than 15 business days once the design had been finalised. As well as being printed digitally to order, the pouches are locally made avoiding lengthy import delays or other supply chain issues.

“ePac really saved the day for me and I can’t thank them enough. They were super helpful right from the first call and sent me loads of samples of pouches to narrow down exactly what I wanted in terms of materials and surface treatment,” said Osama. “Once I saw their soft-touch matt look finish and the fantastic print quality, I was sold.”  

Creating that special connection with ePacConnect

The superb lay-flat pouches with convenient tear notches from ePac give the Mochi Bros brand a luxury appearance and the chance to compete with the largest companies in the ice cream segment. 

“I’m really chuffed with the outcome of this project. The product is amazing, the design is fantastic and so is the quality of the pouches!” exclaimed Osama.  “ePac has helped portray our new brand as a well-established one!”.

A lot of the buzz around Mochi Bros has been created through social media, so when ePac explained that the packaging could be elevated with serialised QR codes to create unique customer interaction with the brand, Osama was quick to agree. 

ePacConnect is a simple way to build a bridge between Mochi Bros’ physical products and the digital platforms Osama uses to market the brand. A catchy call to action can be found on the reverse of each pouch, saying “You a fan? Give us a scan!” with each QR code linked to a campaign. This feature helps to promote the products and engage directly with consumers to establish brand loyalty while collecting valuable marketing analytics for the fabulous Mochi Bros premium gelato sandwiches.

Do you have a burning ambition to launch your brand in premium packaging? Get in touch here with the ePac team to find out what we can do to make your products stand out.

Perfect Pasta Enjoys Easy and Flexible Package Development for Its Entire Product Line-Up

Perfect Pasta is known by customers around the country for their impressive variety of handmade pasta options, from appetizers to entrées, and even brings their delicious fare to the gluten-free market.

Perfect Pasta is a family-owned gourmet pasta company that’s been in business for over 30 years, selling both retail and foodservice products. Based in the Chicago area, for decades the company has been known locally for its wide variety of specialty choices. Today, the company sells 41 different retail products in 1,700 grocery stores nationwide and can even be enjoyed as part of in-flight dining options both domestically and internationally for air travelers.

Making a Big Change in Types of Packaging for Pasta

Because of the high number of SKUs in the Perfect Pasta library, the company assumed that labeling in-house with stock bags was the only affordable solution. They didn’t think that it would be cost-effective to print custom pouches for every product in their line-up, and reducing the number of SKUs was not an option since from the beginning Perfect Pasta has made its name by offering specialty items. 

“At one point we had over 120 SKUs. We had a following because of this; our customers are used to specialty items,” says Chris Wilkins, Director, Sales & Marketing at Perfect Pasta.

So for a long time, the company was packaging its pasta in clear, stock, lay-flat pillow bags. In order to show their variety, they were forced to print out generic labels and apply them in-house. As the brand grew, it knew it needed a better package, especially to help bring the brand nationwide. 

“The old packaging worked for our regional business, but we needed something with mass appeal to attract new shoppers and provide them with a high quality experience. We wanted to expand, protect the product better, and create something exciting and consistent for our customers,” says Wilkins. 

So they began to look for other solutions, and after a referral from an industry partner, found ePac. Soon after hearing all that ePac and digital printing had to offer, and that it was a cost-competitive option, the company made a full switch.

Perfect Pasta began using ePac’s custom digitally printed pouches for all 41 retail SKUs in two sizes, the 12- and 24-ounce bags. The stand-up pouches are resealable and fully branded. They offer ease of use, easy retailing, and vibrant designs, with original artwork for each SKU.

The best part is that both retailers and customers are enjoying the new pouches. Retailers like the pouches because they stand up in the freezer, which eliminates the need for the trays the brand was using to make their lay-flat pouches stand up. This is also proving to be a cost-savings solution for the brand since it no longer needs to purchase trays. And, consumers love the pouches because they stand up in the kitchen, and feature a tear notch and press to close zipper for easy handling and resealability for on-demand use. 

Perfect Pasta is also pleased with the switch. But while everything is going smoothly now, Wilkins says that at first there were some fears and concerns over how much this would change Perfect Pasta’s operations. Before partnering with ePac, the brand was filling the stock bags as needed and then printing in-house for individual SKUs. Today, Wilkins explains that the company faces the challenge of managing and relearning inventory needs for 40 plus SKUs, like ordering the right quantities and staying on top of trends in production and inventory. 

“It’s been a big change in operations, but now there is no fear surrounding it because of ePac’s capabilities,” explains Wilkins. 

Finding Freedom Through Digital Printing

With ePac, Perfect Pasta has the freedom to print numerous SKUs each month and place large orders with mixed SKUs. When other printers would shy away from large orders with various SKUs, ePac is perfectly suited to handle jobs like that. With digital printing, there are no plates, no setup, and the fast turnaround is the same for 10 or 100 SKUs in one single order. 

“We place larger orders with 40 different SKUs at a time, all with a turnaround in 15 days. ePac’s operational capability is huge and allowed us to make this jump to custom digital printing with confidence,” says Wilkins.

And the pasta packaging change has not gone unnoticed. Perfect Pasta is experiencing more growth since unveiling the new pouches and has received only positive feedback.

“The reaction has been night and day. We receive compliments all the time about how beautiful the pouches are and how well they stand up,” says Wilkins.

Digital printing allows brands like Perfect Pasta to have fully custom frozen food pouches for every SKU in the line-up, with unique artwork for each one. Digital printing offers flexibility in ordering quantities, as well as when changes are needed for the design, from artwork changes to nutritional information, or even regulations. 

“It’s been great having the ease of not having to worry about minimums for SKUs or plate changes. We can make revisions to art and we can do that on the fly because ePac just rolls with it. There’s no extra time and expense incurred…in this industry, when changes come they can come fast and often, and ePac adapts,” says Wilkins.

Perfect Pasta also enjoys competitive pricing and the convenience of working with a local company, since ePac has an office in Chicago. According to Wilkins, Perfect Pasta will continue to partner with ePac as it expands into custom packaging for all of its products. 

Are you looking for a better solution for your flexible packaging products? Did you think that fully custom pouches were not an option for your brand? Call us today to learn how digital printing is the solution for you.