ePac Announces Its Newest Location: Montreal, Canada

ePac Flexible Packaging, the industry leader in quick turn, short and medium run-length flexible packaging, has announced it will be adding a third location in Canada. Adding to operations in Vancouver and Toronto, ePac Montreal will serve CPG brands of all sizes throughout Quebec province, and its  combined 3 Canadian locations will serve all of Canada.

According to George Boustani, Managing Director of ePac’s Canadian operations: “Since opening ePac Vancouver in 2019 and Toronto in 2021, demand for our services has grown rapidly. To keep pace, we’ve decided to add a new sales and marketing location – ePac Montreal. In fact we are now accepting orders in Quebec, and fulfilling them from our other Canadian operations.”

Added Virag Patel, ePac’s COO: “The acceleration in sales we’ve experienced in Canada has been phenomenal. Our ability to serve small and medium sized brands with great packaging within 5-15 business days  has been a game-changer for our customers.”

To read the complete press release, click here.

Top 7 Benefits of Custom Mylar Packaging

The explosive growth of new food, nutritional supplements, herbal and medicinal products, has driven a surge in demand for flexible packaging, which includes mylar packaging and other types of flexible packaging

In fact the flexible packaging market (which includes Mylar packaging) is expected to grow to $237 billion by 2028, from a market size of $176 billion in 2021.

A large part of this market is custom mylar packaging, as well as related types of films and packaging solutions.

In this short guide we’ll get into the top 7 benefits of customer mylar packaging, and we’ll also share a few definitions to shed some light on the often confusing terms related to the term.

What is Mylar Packaging?

In an earlier article we addressed some of the confusion related to mylar packaging:

“Mylar® packaging is actually the trademarked name of a widely-used PET film from DuPont Teijin Films. It was first introduced in 1952, and the company began production on it in Ohio in 1954. Mylar® is BoPET (biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate) film commonly used as plastic flexible packaging across a variety of industries, including many packaged foods. And while it is a trademarked term for a specific film from DuPont, the term is widely used in the industry when referring to any plastic film.”

In other words Mylar is a brand name used to refer to a specific type of packaging material, like Kleenex is the brand name for a type of tissue, and Band-Aid is the brand name for a type of bandage used for minor cuts and bruises.

Look, we get it. Many people use ‘mylar’ interchangeably with plastic film packaging when referring to the type of bags they’d like to package their products with.

The 7 Benefits of Custom Mylar and Other Types of Flexible Packaging

But whether you refer to it as ‘mylar’, or flexible packaging, there are some definite benefits you can count on.

1. Odor and Moisture Resistance

Many products in the herbal supplements, medicinal, foodstuffs and nutritional products space need special protection to keep the products fresh, and to prevent odors from leaking.

The high-barrier films used in custom mylar and flexible packaging materials today keep smells and odors from exiting the bag while preventing moisture from entering. 

The benefit? Your product  stays fresh while maintaining its quality. And you won’t have to worry about any smells wafting out causing an embarrassing inconvenience

2. Child Resistance

Let’s face it: many nutritional supplements and herbal remedies with medicinal properties can be hazardous to children at certain doses. Thankfully, with custom mylar packaging and its brethren, it’s easy to keep products out of the curious hands of little ones.

Many vendors, like ePac, sell child-resistant mylar bags, stand up pouches, and lay flat pouches that have been tested and certified by third-party agencies to meet federal test requirements.

3. Sustainable to Protect the Environment

With concern for the environment an ever-increasing priority today, many brands make their decision to go with a packaging vendor if they can prove their packaging materials are environmentally friendly.

Look for vendors that produce 100% recyclable packaging, with features such as CR zippers, and sustainable film structures for an earth-conscious approach to your packaging strategy.

4. Puncture and Tear Resistance

Packaging that can resist tears and punctures is so important for food and supplement vendors, especially for those that have to transport their goods to geographically dispersed locations. It’s important for both product freshness and to keep certain products away from children.

Custom mylar packaging and other flexible packaging materials, such as stand up, rollstock and lay flat pouches, are designed to not tear or damage on the shelf, in transit, or with customer handling. 

5. Resealable Closures

For packages to hold larger portion sizes, you need air-tight and water-tight resealable closures to continue keeping your product fresh, and keep odors from escaping.

Vendors like ePac offer packaging with press-to-close zippers, certified child-resistant zippers, and even no zipper options. 

6. Photo Quality Finish to Make Your Packaging Stand Out

With today’s materials, flexible packaging just looks good, period. And the customizable options to have your packaging pop on the shelves are endless. Finish options, such as matte, soft-touch matte, gloss, and metallized look great when printed with today’s digital printing technology.

7. Digital Printing for Fast Turnaround Times

Finally, with digital printing for custom mylar packaging, stand up pouches, lay flat packaging and rollstock, packaging vendors today (such as ePac) can deliver your finished pouches in record time (often between 5-15 days).

And if you have last minute changes to your designs, such as sudden regulatory changes you need to communicate on your packaging, or to be timely with world events, digital printing can help you do that without costing you an arm and a leg.

As you can see, custom packaging solutions with flexible packaging, mylar and other plastic film solutions, provide excellent benefits for today’s food, supplement, herbal and medicinal vendors.

If you’d like to learn more about how ePac can help you with your packaging, contact us now!

Stick pack vs Sachet packaging: What’s the difference?

There are so many advantages to single-use packaging, like sachets and stick packs. From providing pre-measured doses of nutritional supplements and medicines, to makeup, dairy products, flavorings, sweeteners and beverages, the convenience factor has made these small dose packaging options surge in popularity.

In this article we’re going to go over both flavors of single-use, single dose packages. We’re going to compare and contrast sachet and stick pack packaging for you so you can decide what is best for your product.

Why Good Packaging Matters

Whether you choose stick packs or sachets, your packaging matters. No matter how you cut it, the packaging you use to send out your product represents your brand. It might not be the most obvious thing, but people pay attention. 

People notice the brand went above and beyond to ensure that every person who touched the package sees a logo or feels the quality used when choosing how to ship items. 

Inversely, consumers notice when a package was just an afterthought, or when cheap materials were used to save a buck or two.

One thing that’s becoming more apparent is that many options are never a bad thing. Supplement, pharmaceutical, makeup and flavoring companies have preferences but also have needs. There’s a lot that goes into making educated choices in terms of quality, functionality, price points that need to be hit, and how a package needs to be shipped. 

In packaging, it’s easy to get in the weeds on what colors are best to print with, or is something sustainable or recyclable. One of those questions that pop up repeatedly is always around single-use packaging, most noticeably, stick pack vs. sachet packaging

What to know about sachet vs. stick pack

Single-use products like sachet and stick are increasingly popular choices thanks to being easily transportable with low weight and small size and acting as a time-saver. The two are very similar, but there is a subtle difference, and we thought you needed to know what those things are.

  • Stick pack is tubular, with a long, slender design, and there’s always a side seam. A stick pack is typically around four times longer than its width, with an average length of about 40 to 200 millimeters. They are primarily used for nutritional powders, sugar, spices, and are mostly concentrated and added to some kind of medium like water, milk, and other liquids.
  • Sachets are single-serve best for small portions of things like sports drink powders or supplements. And with ePac’s digital printing capabilities, they have a seriously wicked look and feel. 

One of the nicest things about sachets and stick packs is that they’re perfect for giving consumers a trial of your product. They’re also ideal for on-the-go lifestyles and frequent travelers because they’re small enough to be tossed in a bag before heading out. 

Packaging that makes sense for your business

Another perk of sachets is that they can be designed for an exact usage amount. However, a sachet is flat and has a three or four-side sealing. When picking between the two, it comes down to:

  1. The type of product
  2. What you’re using as flexible packing materials
  3. What’s inside the packaging. 
  4. And what’s the quality of the product.

And then there’s also the sealing method, along with the production speed. 

Sachets and sticks packs are super diverse in that they can package just about anything from condiments to over-the-counter drugs or your favorite Cajun spice blend. It does come down to what you’re selling and how you want it presented to consumers. 

Conclusion

Whether you’re providing samples, or selling single-use versions of your supplement at high margins, you’ve got a couple of choices: stick packs and sachets.

Stick packs are great for tea and coffee flavorings, or just to provide a pretty, slender look and feel.

Sachets are great for anything you care to provide in a single, pre-measured dose, either for people on the go, a last-minute purchase when you forgot your regular supplements at home, or as sample packs for shampoos, or anything else that fits in the little form factor.

If you’ve got further questions on what makes the most sense for your business,  just ask. We’d love to show you the difference between the sachet and stick packaging, and together, we’ll figure out how to solve your company’s needs.

Custom Sachet Packaging: What Is It & What Are The Benefits?

Have you considered sachet packaging, but weren’t quite sure if it was a fit for your product? If you’re interested in single-use, sample packs, sachet packaging or pre-measured dose packages, then you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article we discuss what is custom sachet packaging, and its multiple benefits.

What is Custom Sachet Packaging?

Sachets, single-serve easy tear packs, pillow pouches, packets, and lay flat pouches are great options for brands seeking unique and convenient small portion packaging for their products. 

Today’s custom sachets are digitally printed using high-quality rollstock films, giving your brand a premium look and feel.

Single serve sachet packaging is great for giving consumers a trial before they purchase full-sized packages, or for pre-measured medicine or supplement doses. They’re also perfect for on-the-go lifestyles, frequent travelers, impulse purchases, and for quick “no-brainer” sales.

What are the Benefits of Custom Sachet Packaging?

There are so many benefits to custom sachet packaging. We mention the five most important here:

1. Perfect for the On-The-Go Lifestyle

Let’s face it: we’re busier today than ever before. Or at least we feel busier. We’re constantly on our phones, browsing our social feeds or responding to work emails. 

Our kids are busier than ever too. We’ve enrolled them in Kumon, Tae Kwon Do, and Chinese classes (but we forgot to let them play).

When there’s no time to deliberately measure that nutritional supplement, vitamin or medicine dose, a pre-measured sachet pack is the perfect answer.

If you’re training for a marathon, just grab that little package of your runner’s pick-me-up from your kitchen drawer, empty it into a glass of water, stir, drink, and shoot out the door for your morning run!

Or do you live from plane to hotel to Starbucks in a new city everyday? Custom sachet packaging is perfect for the frequent traveler. 

Just load five little packs of your favorite multivitamin. It’s a lot easier than measuring out the perfect portion while you’re trying to pack your bag and check out of your hotel.

2. Perfect Dosing For Medicines and Supplements

You don’t have to have an “on-the-go” lifestyle to take advantage of pre-measured doses. Taking out the enclosed measuring spoon for your creatine or protein supplement every time you need a little workout boost can get, well….old. 

Provide your consumer with pre-measured doses so they can easily tear open the package, dump it into the blender, and voila! A perfect protein shake for that post-workout smoothie.

3. Provide Samples with Custom Sachet Packaging

In today’s direct-to-consumer ecommerce marketplace, it’s harder than ever to give out samples so customers can try out your product. 

When your product is not on supermarket shelves, you can’t set up a little booth at your local Vons or Wegmens to hand out those clear little plastic cups filled with your raspberry-flavored super drink.

Enter sample size sachet packaging. For only $1.99, running supplement maker 6AM RUN offers marathoners, triathletes and beginners the chance to try out their energy-boosting supplement before they commit to buying a 30-scoop tub.

4. Encourage “No-Brainer” Sales

Do you want to make fast sales instead of trying to convince your customers to buy a $59 item? With custom sachet packaging you can sell a high-value product at a ridiculously low price. This is known as a “no-brainer” price point.

Sell an expensive beauty product? Package a single use portion in a pillow pouch and sell it for $3.99. Does your standard vitamin jar sell for $99? Package a single dose into a 99 cent package and watch your vitamins fly off the virtual shelf.

Your price points will be lower, but your sales will skyrocket. I mean, who doesn’t want to buy an expensive item for next to nothing?

5. Drive Impulse Buys

Finally, what can you copy from the big candy bar makers? Yes, I know, they sell sugar – a drug more addictive than cocaine. But there’s a lot you can learn from their brilliant marketing, especially the art of the impulse buy.

Why let Hershey’s or Snickers win those spur-of-the-moment purchasing decisions? You too can play that game. If your product sells in stores, there’s nothing like a sachet pack tempting shoppers in the check-out aisle to boost additional sales. 

You’ll make extra money and improve your shoppers’ health at the same time.

Conclusion

By using custom sachet packaging, you can deliver compact doses of your product with easy tear packs for samples and promotional use, pre-measured doses for on-the-go lifestyles and travelers, no-brainer selling opportunities, and impulse buys.

And with the new digitally-printed technology from companies like ePac, you can get these sachet packaging options with high-definition images using three side seal (3SS) pouch rollstock, films that extend product shelf life, material that is recyclable as well as post-consumer recycled (PCR), and compostable or biodegradable. 

Finally, your packaging can be both moisture as well as oxygen resistant to preserve the contents of your product for extended periods of time.

Are you interested in learning more? Contact us and we can quote you!

epac lyon obtains BRC, flexible packaging for food approved

ePac Lyon obtains BRC Certification

ePac Lyon is pleased to announce that its Lyon site has obtained BRC (Global Standard for Packaging Materials) certification. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes site received an AA rating following an in-depth audit carried out in early January and is now ready to serve customers who require BRC compliance. 

Group photo of the ePac Lyon Team.

“Achieving BRC certification validates the quality of our business, and of course, we are delighted to have passed the inspection and received the full score from the auditors,” says Jonathan Schmitt, Managing Director, and Partner at ePac Lyon. “Since the beginning, we have had a very good quality system. Today, we have official approval to support it,” adds Julie Verney, Quality Manager. 

The BRC global standard for packaging materials, designed to protect consumers, covers the manufacture of glass, paper, flexible plastics, and other types of packaging, as well as the associated printing and chemical processes, and is used worldwide by manufacturers producing packaging materials for any product that ends up in the hands of consumers and is a requirement of most major brands in the FMCG industry.

Mickael Reali, Technical Director of ePac Lyon, adds: “It has been an incredible year for ePac Lyon, and BRC certification was the next logical step in our quest to serve customers with high-quality packaging delivered quickly. Not only it will open up a new market share for us, but it will also reduce the audit burden for brand owners and retailers. The list of customers willing to work with us once we have obtained the BRC label is growing rapidly. So I’m very happy to be able to make this announcement and open our doors to them.”

Click here to learn more about the press release.

ePac Flexible Packaging Announces Expansion into Poland

ePac Flexible Packaging is pleased to announce its third European facility, ePac Poland North, located near the cities of Poznan and Bydgoszcz. This expands ePac’s network of sales and production operations across the Continent, builds on the successful launch of European sites in the UK (Silverstone) and France (Lyon), and further signals the company’s intent to become the supplier of choice in local markets throughout Europe.

ePac Poland North is a partnership between ePac and mFlex, and will operate from mFlex’s production facility, an established flexible packaging facility that already uses digital printing.  The company will be led by Managing Partners Jacek Ciosek and Marcin Kowalski; both seasoned executives in flexible packaging who will manage ePac’s operations and customer relationships.

Jacek says, “I’m very excited to head up the ePac team in Poland. We welcome the opportunity to help small and medium sized brands across the region grow and compete with large CPG’s. Across the globe, ePac has an established presence focused on helping local entrepreneurs achieve their dreams, and to be accretive to the communities we serve. Our aim here in Poland is to bring that same philosophy to Poland.” Marcin adds, “I am also convinced that the synergy resulting from mFlex’s experience and capabilities, along with ePac’s resources and know-how, will bring great benefits to all of our customers”.

epac-poland-north, epac and mflex open first polish production site.
Marcin Kowalski, Johnny Hobeika & Jacek Ciosek (left to right).

Johnny Hobeika, Managing Director of ePac Holdings Europe, comments, “Bringing our great business model to Poland to help local brands is hugely exciting. These are of course very challenging times, but despite the pandemic, we have been able to continue with our plans, and together with mFlex, offer our Polish customers a local and unique solution to their flexible packaging needs. Our message is simple: we are here, and we are ready to serve!”.

Click here to read the full press release.

10 Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Tips For Your Brand

The new generation of CPG startups – CPG 2.0 as we call them – are bypassing what is expected of traditional CPG brands, and many are choosing the direct-to-consumer (or D2C) model.

If you’re a new CPG, pet food, or even a non-food brand selling a consumer product, and you’re either thinking of adopting D2C as your go-to-market approach, or you’re already doing it, this article is for you.

What is Direct-to-Consumer (D2C)?

Direct to consumer, or D2C, is when you remove the intermediary – wholesaler, retailer or distributor – and sell directly to the public. It typically involves ecommerce, but can include brand-owned stores, such as an outlet location.

Shopify reported recently that international firm Heinz, founded in 1869, and Swiss chocolate icon Lindt, founded in 1845, established direct to consumer initiatives in just 5-7 days.

And a growing number of CPG 2.0 brands, are starting as direct to consumer brands. Some estimates say D2C volume will reach $174 billion in sales by 2023.

The Advantage of Adopting a Direct-to-Consumer Business Model

With so many CPG 2.0 companies starting as D2C brands, it got us thinking: what are the advantages of this model?

Unlimited Market

What you lack in physical presence, you make up for in reach. You’re not limited to your city or your neighborhood. The whole world is your potential market (if you can ship it there).

No Costs Maintaining a Physical Location

Many new companies think that by opening up a storefront, getting business cards, and designing a logo, they’re in business. 

No. Being in business means selling something. The rest are all costs.

And what better way to start selling than by going directly to your consumers through an ecommerce site.

The bonus? You won’t pay exorbitant rents for a ritzy locale. Just a virtual storefront with nominal hosting fees.

24/7 Sales

When you adopt a D2C model, you sell while you sleep. Imagine going to bed and waking up the next morning to see sales for 7 bags of your grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookies.

No Middleman Eating Into Your Profits

Also, when you go direct, you keep all the money (minus your low overhead). No discounting your goods to leave margin for retailers or wholesalers. No paying commissions to salespeople. It’s 100% yours.

Gain Valuable Insight Into Your market

But the most important aspect of direct to consumer sales is gaining critical information on your market – direct from customers themselves. 

Through online analytics, direct sales figures and feedback from customers through email and social media, you can learn what they like, what they don’t like, and what they are likely to buy in the near future.

The 10 D2C Tips You’ve Been Waiting For

Now let’s get into the meat of the article: the 10 tips your brand needs to kill it in direct-to-consumer.

1. Feature Your Packaging in Your Marketing

There are a few drawbacks to not being on the shelves of Whole Foods or Albertsons: Your beautiful, digitally-printed stand up pouch or lay flat package won’t be able to stop consumers in their tracks while browsing the aisles.

Fortunately, you can wow your customers by actually featuring your gorgeous pouches in your marketing.

ePac client Chunk Nibbles (chocolate covered popcorn nuggets – they’re delicious, you’ve GOT to try them) advertises on the Google Display network. Doesn’t their ad stand out with their professional-looking bags?

2. Design Unique Packaging to Really Stand Out

There’s an old marketing maxim: be different. Marketing professionals sometimes call this your ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ (USP), your ‘differentiator’, or your ‘positioning.’ Marketing guru Seth Godin talks about the importance of being different in his iconic book ‘Purple Cow.’ 

One of the ways to be different is through your packaging design. ePac customer Valhalla Tea features different mythical, heroic figures on each bag. Their eCommerce site is a literal pantheon of Norse gods, Mexican saints (ever heard of Santa Muerte? Don’t go looking for her statue at your local Catholic Church), and an Uncle Sam warrior.

With bags that look different and unique, you can stop your site visitors dead in their tracks with your eye-catching, off-beat designs.

3. Have a Unique Product Angle

You need a differentiated product with a unique angle if you want to succeed as a startup brand using the direct-to-consumer approach.

If you’re selling just another cheese puff snack or granola cereal, buyers would just as soon go to their local Kroger’s and pick up any old brand.

But if they want a healthy snack that has that salty, decadent taste without the guilt, they’ll have to go to your online store.

That’s the case with ePac customer Ha! Snacks, purveyor of macro snacks made from plant protein. From their sour cream and onion, to their churro, as well as their cheddar cheese flavored crunchers, Ha! Snacks satisfies a snackaholic’s craving with guilt-free yet scrumptious formulations they can only get from their D2C ecommerce store.

4. Work With Other Non-competing Businesses

Plug into a community of like-minded yet non-competing businesses who will promote you to their customers. 

ePac customer Wagging Companions, sellers of vegan dog food and pet treats, works with a community of other pet product companies. They promote each others’ products in a sort of mutual support network.

If you can find an ecosystem of like-minded brands, join forces with them. Together you can solve an array of problems for your customers!

5. Have a Seamless Return Policy

This is a must-have. 

In marketing we talk about ‘risk-reversal’, an essential element when trying to close a sale. If you can’t eliminate your potential customer’s risk, you won’t generate the trust you need to convince them to give you their credit card number.

Implement a solid, seamless, quick, efficient, no-questions-asked return policy to eliminate risk for your potential customers.

A whole industry has sprouted around ecommerce returns. Startup Floorfound was created to solve the big hairy problem of large ecommerce returns for things like sofas and bookcases.

6. Sell Sample Packages

The traditional way to gain exposure for your food startup is by setting up a little sample stand at your local Sprouts or Trader Joe’s to hand out bite-sized servings of your hand-crafted delicacy.

As a D2C brand, you can replicate that by selling sample packets.

Running supplement seller 6AM Run solved their market adoption problem by selling single serve packets for $1.99. When they did that, their sales exploded.

7. Provide a Personalized Shopping Experience with a Consumer Data Platform

One advantage D2C brands have over traditional brands is their ability to deliver a personalized shopping experience at scale. That capability used to be limited to giants like Amazon. But now that power is available to you!

With a Consumer Data Platform, like Salesforce, Klaviyo, RedEye or planhat (to name a few), you can assign unique IDs to your customers and lead them through personalized buyer journeys.

For more information on how to apply this to your online store, we recommend the book ‘The Context Marketing Revolution’ by Mathew Sweezey. 

8. Deliver Valuable ‘How-to’ Content’

If you can identify a distinct target audience with specific informational needs (that happen to coincide with your product offering), you can become the leading content provider for that audience.

But make sure your content is educational. As Jay Baer says in his book ‘YouTility’: “Deliver help, not hype.”

Publish tutorials. Interview successful, happy clients. Share your founders’ journey (see ‘10’ below) on social media. 

Internet technologies empower your brand to become a media company in addition to a D2C company. You can attract your own audience, just like news websites or online magazines do. 

This audience, which can come in the form of subscribers, followers or connections, becomes your “pre-client” database. 

Pro-tip: turn Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and LInkedIn followers into email subscribers. That way you can track them in your CRM or Consumer Data Platform, and eventually turn them into a client. 

9. Develop a Passionate Community

Let’s take a few elements we previously mentioned, and combine them for this point: By identifying a unique product angle, as we discussed in number ‘3’ above, and creating valuable content for a clearly defined audience, as we discussed in number ‘8’ above, you can create a passionate community of loyal followers who will buy from you, recommend you, and follow you to the ends of the earth.

That’s what 6AM RUN has done. With their 21,300 strong (and growing) Facebook group, Hami Mahani, founder of 6AM RUN, has gathered a tribe of passionate runners that boosts the brand – and gives Hami an intimate view into his audience’s needs.

You can easily build a community if you have a purpose beyond just selling products. Coffee seller Courage Worldwide has gathered a global community dedicated to rescuing young girls from sex trafficking.

And Patagonia – the famous outdoor lifestyle brand – has gathered an army of dedicated conservationists changing the world one parka at a time.

10. Fuse your founder’s personal brand with your corporate brand

Finally, to make it as an online D2C brand, fuse your founder’s personal brand with your company’s brand. 

Morgan Potts is the fun, adventurous, road-tripping founder of ePac customer Granarly (granola mixed with whiskey…mmmm…). She’s also the face for her brand. 

A huge part of her appeal is how she documents her road trips on Instagram sharing the Granarly message from coast to coast.

Conclusion

Selling as a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand is powerful. The world is literally your oyster. You can start baking dog treats in your kitchen today, and sell them online tomorrow.

There are a few things you can do to stand out as a D2C brand, and other things you must do to make up for your lack of a physical presence.

Let us know what you think, and if you’ve got any additional D2C tips based on your brand’s experience, drop us a line!

ePac Flexibles Set To Accelerate Growth

Established in 2016, and just 6 years old, ePac Flexible Packaging is doubling down on the aggressive growth strategy it has deployed since the company’s creation. ePac will continue to focus on helping small and medium brands achieve big brand presence, recognizing the importance of this sector in driving economic growth in all corners of the globe.

2021 was a strong year for the company, again seeing sales growth in excess of 50% YoY, and an increase in production capacity of over 30%. In North America new plants were successfully opened in Portland, Toronto, and Kansas City, and internationally in the UK, France, Poland, and Australia. ePac now operates 17 plants in North America and 6 more in Europe and Asia Pacific.

Looking forward into 2022-2023, ePac will continue expansion in North America, adding plants in the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, and a second location in the Mountain region. Additionally, print and pouch making capacity will be increased in existing ePac operations.

Click here to read the full press release…

Cold Seal vs Heat Seal Packaging: What’s the Difference?

It’s no secret that the flexible packaging market is growing and growing fast. Many consumers and packagers are turning to flexible packaging because of its light weight, convenient features, and endless customization options. 

But as you create your next custom mylar bag or pouch, you need to decide whether you’ll use cold seal or heat seal adhesives. 

In this post, we answer the questions: what are they, how are they different, and which should you choose?

Cold seal and heat seal adhesive coatings are both used in a variety of flexible packaging applications. They each have advantages and disadvantages and work best for specific product needs. Do you know the difference between the two and which works best for your application? Read on to find out.

Choosing the right adhesive coating for your product depends on a number of variables, primarily the specific needs and requirements of the item, such as machine speed and capacity, barrier properties, and seal strength.

Heat Sealing 

Heat sealing is the most widely used package sealing technology, and is the preferred choice when a high-integrity seal is needed. Heat seal packaging consists of a multi-layered film including an outer layer, core layer, and interior sealant layer.  

Heat seal packaging doesn’t require any special processes or materials (such as pressure-sensitive adhesives). Therefore it’s the more economical choice. 

Available in a wide range of laminations, heat seal films also offer a wider variety of performance characteristics over cold seal films. For example, better barrier properties keep oxygen, light, and other environmental elements out of the package (and away from your product). 

You can also create a tamper-evident seal to ensure your product’s integrity.

During production you need to carefully manage the following three factors to ensure an effective heat seal:

  • Heat: the temperature of the sealing surfaces
  • Dwell: the amount of time the jaws of a machine are in contact with the sealing material
  • Pressure: the pressure applied by heat seal machinery

These factors work together to create the seal and must be in balance to do so effectively. 

Heat sealing can be used in many food and beverage applications, and for pouches and bags in all shapes and sizes. 

Cold Sealing

Cold sealing is also used in many industries and is preferred for temperature- sensitive products such as chocolate, other confectionery items, and ice cream, as well as medical packaging. It requires only pressure, no heat. 

The process involves two films, one reverse-printed with the brand owner’s package design, and a second that provides the barrier to protect the product. 

Cold seal adhesives are unique in that they seal only to themselves. For example, when a substrate coated with a cold seal adhesive comes into contact with another substrate coated with the same cold seal adhesive, the two are bonded together through pressure, not heat.

Cold sealing is sometimes referred to as “self-seal”. Packagers using cold seal adhesives can choose the bond strength – from low to high – depending on application and packaging specifications. 

But the most notable advantage of cold seal technology is speed. The cold seal process can be up to 10 times faster than heat sealing. 

Why? Because production lines don’t have to wait for machines to heat up, as with heat sealing. Additionally, the absence of heat eliminates burn injuries, which leads to a safer working environment. 

But there is a downside to the cold seal: the lack of chemical resistance and other properties often required by the FDA, depending on the type of product being packaged. 

Cold seal adhesives are also sensitive to air contact and require a suitable release surface.

Conclusion

As you have read, both cold seal and heat seal have their advantages and disadvantages. Each one works best for specific applications. As you seek to find the right sealing process for your product, keep in mind that when you partner with ePac, we can help you determine the right materials and seal for your specific flexible package. Call us today to get started.

ePac Flexible Packaging Breakdown: All of our Packaging Options Explained

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.

Granarly Founder and CEO Morgan Potts

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 smaller minimums on their initial run than traditional packaging printing providers, thus avoiding 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.

3. Environmentally-friendly

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 Recycled (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.

Crud Cloth Founder and CEO Tim White

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.

6AM RUN’s single-use running formula pack

If you want single-use or sample sizes, like our client 6AM Run, lay flat pouches are perfect.

rollstock

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.

films

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

Mylar-style 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. 

sustainable packaging

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 that 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!