How ELSY Doubled its Turnover With Sustainable Packaging

Elsy is a unique confectionery brand that has revolutionized the industry. It specializes in chocolate confectionery made with healthy ingredients, and a low glycemic index. Established in 2020, this chocolate brand has successfully positioned itself in 400 large and medium-sized stores.

But Elsy encountered a significant challenge in providing its customers with chocolate products in sustainable packaging that is both practical and appropriate. To address this issue, the brand strategically partnered with ePac Lyon to provide the packaging.


The Birth of a Gourmet Startup


At its core, Elsy’s story is one of serendipitous encounters. It all began with the fateful meeting between Claire Laurent, hailing from Brittany, and Capucine Razou. United by their belief that indulgence should not carry a negative connotation, these two women embarked on a remarkable journey.

They soon discovered that the majority of confectionery lining supermarket shelves featured ingredient lists that were far from wholesome. 

At the same time, while dried fruit brands did offer health benefits, their products often lacked the alluring appeal of gourmet treats.

This realization led to a turning point for Claire and Capucine. They became determined to carve out a space on those very shelves for products that were simultaneously healthy and gourmet.

A Product Differentiation Strategy That Works


Elsy’s key distinguishing factor lies in its ability to offer a delectable yet healthy formula. The brand achieves this through its puffed balls, which contain 50% to 90% less sweetness compared to conventional confectionery, all while being free from sweeteners. To replace sugar, Elsy utilizes vegetable fibers sourced from the chicory root.

Elsy’s objective was to create a product that maximizes protein and fiber content. This composition, low in sugar but rich in fiber, enables Elsy to achieve a product with a low glycemic index. The chocolate balls also feature a unique addition: coral lentils. These lentils contribute a delightful crunch to the overall texture of the balls.

Remarkably, consuming just half a packet of Elsy’s puffed beads equates to approximately 20% of the daily recommended fiber intake set by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

You see? With Elsy’s products, there’s no need to deprive yourself!

The Meteoric Growth of this Confectionery Brand in the French Market

In 2020, Elsy embarked on its product marketing journey, starting with local references and store-by-store expansion. Today, customers can find the entire range of Elsy products not only in large and medium-sized supermarkets such as Monoprix or Franprix, but also on the brand’s own website.

Since its inception in 2020, Elsy initially experienced modest growth. However, the brand truly hit its stride in 2022, achieving a remarkable doubling of its turnover. Staying true to its vision, Elsy intends to maintain the momentum moving forward. As Claire passionately expresses, their ultimate goal is to become the go-to brand for healthy chocolate snacking.

Currently, Elsy’s product range includes puffed beads, chocolate-covered nuts, and chocolate bars. Looking ahead, the young brand envisions expanding its product line by incorporating a culinary dimension, enabling customers to explore low glycemic cooking options. 

In the medium term, the company aspires to establish itself as the health-conscious alternative to popular treats like M&Ms.

Finding the Perfect Packaging for Chocolate Products

After months of research and development, while perfecting the recipe, Elsy’s next task was to choose the right packaging for its chocolate products. The brand’s primary objective was to use packaging predominantly composed of paper—a challenging endeavor.

Starting in 2020, Elsy started using paper packaging with an EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol) barrier to protect and preserve its products. But a new concern arose as the EVOH barrier properties at that time did not meet their desired standards.

So Elsy explored alternatives, focusing on single-material packaging while still prioritizing recyclability. Unfortunately, this type of packaging was  ill-suited for the customer experience. Claire told us as some customers found it hard to open the bags.


Four Criteria for Confectionery Bag

When it came to packaging its chocolate balls, Elsy had four essential criteria that had to be met:

Aesthetic Appeal: The packaging design needed to be attractive and visually appealing, aligning with Elsy’s brand image and the allure of their delectable chocolate treats.

Product Protection: Ensuring the packaging offered optimal protection for the delicate chocolate balls was paramount. It had to safeguard the product from external elements, preserving its taste, texture, and quality.

Practicality: Elsy sought packaging that was user-friendly and convenient for consumers. It had to be easy to handle, open, and reseal, enhancing the overall customer experience.

Sustainability: A commitment to environmental responsibility guided Elsy’s choice of packaging. The brand aimed for sustainability by selecting materials that were eco-friendly, recyclable, and aligned with their dedication to reducing their ecological footprint.

By adhering to these four criteria, Elsy aimed to provide an exceptional confectionery packaging solution that combined aesthetics, product protection, practicality, and sustainability.

A mouth-watering Chocolate Packaging Bag

Packaging is also important because it serves as the initial point of contact between the consumer and the product, playing a crucial role in shaping the consumer’s purchasing decision, with colors, shapes, and images effectively communicating brand values.

For Elsy, the design of their packaging revolves around a simple yet impactful approach, incorporating their memorable slogan, “I am Elsy.” By employing this strategy, the brand aims to create a strong brand identity and establish a connection with consumers.

To facilitate easy differentiation among various flavors, Elsy has made a deliberate choice to assign a distinct color to each of its product variants. This thoughtful color-coding system assists consumers in quickly identifying their preferred flavor and contributes to an enhanced overall experience.

By prioritizing an appealing and well-executed design, Elsy ensures that its chocolate packaging captures attention, communicates brand values, and entices customers with its mouth-watering allure.

Protect the Product

Preserving the quality and freshness of their chocolate candies was important  to Elsy. To achieve this, they sought out a packaging solution that would safeguard the product throughout its shelf life. Thus, the brand opted for a packaging material with exceptional barrier properties known as EVOH.

EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol) barrier is a specialized material commonly used as a barrier layer in food packaging. It boasts remarkable properties that impede the migration of oxygen, gasses, flavors, and oils. By incorporating EVOH into their packaging, Elsy successfully shields the packaged puffed chocolate balls from these detrimental factors.

This packaging solution ensures that the chocolate candies retain their optimal quality, taste, and texture, allowing consumers to indulge in a delightful experience with each bite. Elsy’s commitment to protecting their products underscores their dedication to delivering excellence to their valued customers.


Convenient Flexible Packaging for Chocolate Products

Elsy recognized the importance of providing its consumers with a packaging solution that was not only visually appealing but also practical and user-friendly. To meet this objective, Elsy opted for doypack pouches, which are compact in size, making them convenient for on-the-go snacking. Additionally, the inclusion of a resealable zip closure allows consumers to easily carry their snacks and enjoy them at any time of the day while maintaining the product’s freshness.

This practical packaging design enables Elsy’s customers to indulge in their delightful treats without the constraints of time or location. Whether it’s a quick bite between meetings or a satisfying snack during a leisurely stroll, Elsy’s packaging ensures a seamless and enjoyable experience.

Sustainable Production and Packaging

In its commitment to responsibility, Elsy ensures that every aspect of its products aligns with this ambition. The brand has made a conscious choice to utilize sustainable raw materials, including cocoa, brown rice, and coral lentils sourced from organic farming. 

However, their dedication extends beyond the product itself to encompass packaging considerations. Elsy has opted for recyclable packaging, composed of 80% paper, which can be easily sorted. As a local brand, Elsy proudly embraces the “Made in France” label!’


Flexibility for Small Order Volumes with ePac

When it came to packaging its chocolates, Elsy turned to ePac Flexible Packaging, and the collaboration turned out to be a resounding success. ePac was able to fulfill all of Elsy’s requirements.

In addition to the product itself, Elsy was highly satisfied with the quality of the packaging printing service. “I appreciated the prompt communication with the sales representative and the fast production of the packaging,” says Claire Laurent. Indeed, ePac offers shipping of your packaging within 10 to 15 working days after proof approval.

Furthermore, as Elsy made its debut, they sought the flexibility to start with small order volumes, which ePac made possible. We understand that small companies have distinct packaging needs compared to larger corporations. In response to this demand, ePac offers low minimum order volumes. Brands can place orders accordingly, ensuring reduced inventory.

If you would like support for your packaging project, just like Elsy did, please don’t hesitate to contact our sales team. We would be delighted to assist you.

The Perfect Chip Packaging for the Perfect Chips

100% made in France, from raw materials to packaging.

Chipizh are potato chips made in Brittany, France, with Pontivy potatoes, Guérande salt and the know-how of a local man.

After spending more than 12 years in Barcelona, ​​Brewen Duneau decided to return to his roots in La Baule, a beautiful seaside resort town in southern Brittany, France, to promote food products that represent the region’s heritage. 

As a lover of savory foods, Brewen felt a nostalgic longing for the potato chips his grandmother made for him. He decided to recreate this childhood delicacy, and worked on his idea for six months. Finally, with a solid business plan in hand, he set up a chip manufacturing plant in Guérande, a medieval town in the salt marshes of Western France. 

An Entirely Handmade Production Line

Brewen came up with the perfect chip recipe that brought back delicious memories of his childhood. And the secret behind the unique taste of Chipizh? “They’re 70% potatoes and 29% sunflower oil, with a light touch of Guérande salt,” he said. 

Brewen added, “the potato slices are not blanched before cooking. They are cooked in a cauldron and salted by hand, just enough to give them flavor without denaturing them”.

He deliberately set out to create a manufacturing process that avoided palm oil and artificial flavors. 

The result? A delicious, artisanal chip with the flavor of Brittany. 

Now a little about the brand name Chipizh. The French word for Brittany is Breizh. Duneau was playing around with the word ‘chips,’ and the name ‘Breizh’, his beloved French homeland.

And then the lightbulb moment: Chipizh!

Exclusive Local Partnerships

Brewen sources his potatoes from a regional farmer who specializes in growing the traditional varieties that are key to Chipizh’s success. He sources the salt from a local salt harvester who uses a manual salt extraction process that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Chipizh is sold through supermarkets, hotels, campsites, pubs, cheese dairies, delicatessens and cellars within a radius of 100 km, including the French regions of Nantes, Vannes, Pornic, and Guérande. He also distributes products as far away as Lithuania!

Brewen is also planning an ecommerce site for those artisanal chip lovers around the globe. 

Packaging With the Right Shade of Blue, Thanks to ePac 

Brewen had formulated the perfect chip, but the only thing missing was the perfect chip packaging.

Luckily, a good friend recommended ePac. He wanted a packaging partner that could create quality chip packaging, with the high barrier properties essential for preserving these crunchy treats. ePac’s plant in Lyon, France was able to deliver just that. Since then, ePac has already filled 5 rollstock orders within just a few months! 

Brewen said, “I very much appreciate my collaboration with ePac, because they responded very well to my requirements, specifically a very particular shade of blue. They offered me a premium, lightweight, high barrier, Matte BOPP/METBOPP material that gives the pouches a very nice feel. That soft touch feel. Apart from that, they were able to print small quantities quickly at attractive prices, which is essential when you start a business“. 

What Does the Future Hold for Chipizh? 

Demand has been crazy for Chipizh, and Brewen is already planning to install a machine that will allow him to quadruple production by the summer. And with the online store in the works, he doesn’t see demand slowing down any time soon.

Digital Print is No Joke for Snackzilla Cookies

Certified by Public Health England’s Change4Life programme, Snackzilla soft-baked oat cookies for kids contain 50% less sugar than the average cookie. The start-up brand was brought to market by entrepreneur Marieke Syed when she noticed there was a lack of healthy snack options for energetic 5 to 11 year olds.

Her two growing sons were always on the go and always hungry, but the market offering at the time was woefully inadequate, so Marieke set about developing an alternative. 

“I really didn’t want my kids to grow up on adult convenience food, but what do you offer them when they are constantly asking for more snacks?” says Marieke, who was previously COO of London Craft Week and now works with The Prince’s Trust as a mentor for young entrepreneurs. 

“The baby and toddler segment was saturated with healthy snacks for on-the-go families, but they just don’t appeal to older kids and the portions are too small. This got me thinking.”

Marieke wanted to create a snack that was healthy and filling, but also delicious. She decided on chewy oat cookies based on her Dutch grandmother’s baked treats, which she fondly remembered from her own childhood. 

“The idea to launch a range of soft-baked oat cookies first came about in 2018, and I spent the next three years working very hard to make my vision come true,” says Marieke. “Using my grandmother’s old recipe as the base, I worked with a food developer to reformulate the original ingredients, so the specification would meet the government’s healthy eating guidelines for children.” 

Adding flexibility to packaging choices

Once she had the recipe nailed down, Marieke embarked on the challenge of developing the branding and packaging for her new cookies. Working with B Corp Certified Kingdom & Sparrow, Snackzilla’s impactful and fun branding was born, with strong, bold colors and cartoon monsters on the individual flow packs.  

There are now three flavors – raspberry, chocolate and golden syrup – and each pack is printed with high-quality graphics and a joke on the wrapper. 

Marieke spent almost a year finding a snack packaging supplier, but the first supplier she found was very expensive, and she had to purchase higher minimum order quantities (MOQs) than she really wanted. 

They also didn’t provide adequate protection for the product inside, reducing the shelf life considerably. Plus there were issues with sealing the packs on the filling line.

“Because there is much less sugar in the cookies, the barrier properties of the packaging film have to be stronger than normal, otherwise the product can go off quite quickly,” explains Marieke. “We also needed more flexibility in terms of SKUs and minimum order quantities, so we could order just the amount we needed, at any one time, and not have to invest in thousands of meters that then had to be stored.”

Fortunately, the team at ePac UK Silverstone reached out, and Marieke jumped at the chance to get onboard with a local flexible packaging specialist. 

The packaging for Snackzilla cookies was soon changed to a new and improved format: a high-quality metallised biaxially-oriented polypropylene (BOPP), printed in CMYK on ePac’s fleet of HP Indigo Digital Presses with a matt varnish, supplied as ready-to-convert rollstock to Marieke’s fulfilment partners. 

A different joke on each package, made possible with digital printing

With digital printing, minimum order quantities are very low, so short runs can be printed cost-effectively and delivered at very short notice, giving small brands like Snackzilla the flexibility they need to operate at their own pace. Because there are no requirements for printing plates, there is also the freedom to make quick changes to the design file, and should the need arise a brand can print new SKUs for promotional and seasonal runs at the spur of the moment. 

For Marieke, ePac UK Silverstone’s variable data printing (VDP) capability was a real winner that added value to her brand. “We wanted to put loads of different jokes on the cookie packs, but with conventional printing, this was just not possible. Now ePac is printing 60 different jokes randomly on the packs, without us having to build up a huge inventory, and they deliver the rollstock super fast.”              

She adds, “I was already aware of the benefits brought to the table by digital printing, but actually experiencing how easy that whole side of the business is now, is just a joy. And I can’t praise the ePac team enough because they are great to work with. I’m so pleased I’ve finally found this fantastic high-quality packaging solution and the right partners for my business.”  

Joining the HFSS revolution to keep kids healthy

Marieke is not alone in wanting to provide healthy snacks for her kids. With childhood obesity in the UK having reached crisis point, the government is focused on reducing sugar and salt in children’s diet. 

One in three kids are overweight or living with obesity when they leave primary school, and rules are being introduced to ban promotions of products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) by location and price. 

Snackzilla low sugar cookies contain zero artificial sweeteners, colors, flavourings or preservatives of any kind. Made with whole grain oats that are high in fiber to keep kids fuller for longer, they are also completely vegan, palm-oil free, and each cookie contains only 99 calories. 

All these great health attributes support parents in cutting down on sugar, salt, fat and additives, and landed the brand the NHS Better Health Good Choice badge.

While Snackzilla’s initial success came from selling online via its own website, Amazon and portals such as Not on the High Street, the brand has also found its way onto Sainsbury’s ‘Future Brands’ shelf and is now launching on Ocado.

Recently, Marieke has received funding to the tune of £250,000 from Warburtons, which has taken a minority stake in the business – a major win for the new brand and gateway to developing new products with the support of the baking giant.

She concludes, “It has taken some time to get all the pieces of the puzzle in place – not least the packaging – but Snackzilla is now going from strength to strength. Once we have conquered the UK market, we will be expanding into the Middle East and Asia, markets that are also very health conscious.”

Are you struggling with finding the right packaging for your new brand? Get in touch today to see how ePac can help.

Delicious Protein Snacks for Healthy Snackaholics Find the Perfect Package

Justin Wiesehan is a snackaholic. A true connoisseur of crunch, he’s been chasing how to make excellent snacks that taste good, but don’t wreck a diet. 

He was always going for the bags of chips, but was always left wanting more. Despite the caloric intake, he wanted something bigger, something better that people could eat, but not feel bad about after eating. So he came up with HA!, which stands for Healthier Alternative, and he’s been off to the races ever since. 

HA! was founded as a company with something for all consumers, a company with a vision for the snackaholics in all of us, but the chips had to taste good. 

Finding the Perfect Protein for Healthy, Delicious Snacks

“I knew what ingredients to avoid and what ingredients to use. Protein was the first thing, but plant-based protein. I wanted plant-based protein to taste good, though, because I’ve had certain snacks that tasted like chalk and it’s like you’re eating dried protein powder, which is gross,” Wiesehan said. 

He continued, “Chickpeas were a great place to start because people know it, same with brown rice flour because of complex carbohydrates. I didn’t want it to have refined carbohydrates like sugars, white flour, and starchy stuff because those don’t sustain energy. They increase blood sugar, and then they drop it rapidly. I wanted to match slow burning carbs.”

Wiesehan is a big believer in personal well-being and living a healthier lifestyle. “When I was building the snacks, we wanted all those ingredients, but we had to ask ourselves, ‘What formulation would we put together to get the nutritional value that we’re looking for?’ But keeping in mind the most important thing: taste and the texture. You can have the greatest nutritionals in the world, but if it tastes like crap, nobody’s going to come back and eat it. I wanted HA! to taste awesome.” 

The Consumer Feedback Loop

Through his search to find better ways to make healthy food taste good, Wiesehan’s brand stumbled into an area he wasn’t expecting: vegan snacks. “I wanted to be inclusive of any kind of snacker. We wanted to use plant-based proteins, but the more we experimented with flavors, we quickly found out that we could make these chips that tasted great but didn’t exclude anyone because we got flavor combinations right. So, a vegan who misses Cheetos or Doritos can eat our chips with zero guilt.” 

Caring about what his consumers believe in is critical to the brand’s identity. Throughout its life, HA! has relied on consumer feedback to get everything from the flavoring at just the right amount to what the snack packaging should feel like.

Commenting on their feedback process, Wiesehan said, “When we rebranded, we engaged everybody. We were called Macro Snacks at first. We literally sent an email blast out with four packaging options and asked people to vote.” 

“We wanted their input,” he continued. “Rebranding is tough, and I didn’t want to lose the base we had built over the last year and a half because they didn’t like the package, so I wanted them to feel like they were a part of the decision-making process.”

The brand is growing and is now selling direct to consumers as they’re fine-tuning the future and working to make sure they grow at the right pace. “We sell on our site, we’re on Amazon, and Snack Magic. You go into a retail store now, and the shelves are empty. Retailers are going to see constant disruption thanks to supply chain issues, but we can sell directly to our people.”

Wiesehan said consumer behavior is constantly changing. “There’s always another new brand coming out. So, you’ve got to stay ahead of it, and you can’t have your ego so ingrained in your product that you think it’s the best in the world and can’t evolve.”

Packaging to Match the Delicious, Nutritious Brand Mission

Wiesehan had a vision of the packaging aspect of what HA! believes in. “During the first production run, I used the packaging supplier that was recommended by my co-manufacturer because I didn’t know any packaging manufacturers. So I was like, okay, I’ll use the people you use.”

But the results were disappointing. “It was a bad package,” he lamented. “It was cheap. It didn’t look good. It was glossy, but not  shiny. It just didn’t look and feel the way that I wanted it to. 

After that run, Wiesehan started researching other manufacturers. After a chat with one of his food processing partners, he mentioned ePac. “He said ‘they’re great because it’s digital and If you want to change one letter, you don’t have to buy another plate, it’s super customizable.’ Immediately after I saw the packaging, it was exactly what I’d wanted HA! ‘s packaging to look like.”

Ha! is constantly experimenting with and introducing new flavors, Wiesehan said, “…ePac is digital, it’s cost effective for us. We want to play with limited runs and this allows us to do that because we can do customizable order sizes for special projects or something unique for our VIP buyers.” 

What’s Next for Ha!?

As the HA! name grows, it will be fascinating to see how the brand evolves with the changing market demands. The team is experimenting with ideas like limited run flavors, VIP experiences, and finding ways to serve consumers every time through healthy options. Wiesehan concluded, “We’re happy to be a part of their journey, one bag of chips at a time.”

Pockets of Energy Balls in Resealable Bags

What if snacks were organic, tasty, low in calories, and good for you? That’s the challenge Nüttree tackled with its energy balls that bring pleasure to taste buds, without sugar or preservatives!

Nüttree’s adventure started two years ago when co-founder Leslie Hoebeke discovered her friend and athlete Tania’s delicious “homemade” snacks. This was the sign she was waiting for to launch the entrepreneurial adventure she had been thinking about for some time now. 

As a result, Leslie developed a line of plant-based snacks, a veritable taste explosion filled with natural healthy goodness.

Certified Organic and Vegan, Minimal Processed Ingredients

Nüttree energy balls use only a small number of ingredients – from 1 to 7 depending on the recipe –  and are naturally gluten-free and 99% organic.  Made in small batches, they undergo minimal processing, and have been awarded a Siga Gold Medal, a new scientific score that assesses the degree of food processing. The balls have also received the label of the French Vegan Federation, and since they contain zero preservatives, their Minimum Durability Date (DDM) – which does not exceed 3-4 months – guarantees quality and freshness. 

Gourmet Snacks, Superfood Ingredients

Leslie supervises the manufacture of the energy balls at the Nüttree facility in Marseille, France, “…so I can control the production cycle and have the flexibility necessary to invent new recipes”. 

Nüttree has six delicious flavours: coco and coconut; fig and chia; apple and cinnamon; hazelnut and cranberry; matcha and goji; and apricot and espelette pepper. Each recipe includes plant-based proteins, fibers, antioxidants, superfoods, omega 3… a nutritional combination designed to provide an on-the-job pick-me-up or a pre-workout energy boost.

In 2021 Nüttree won the Vegetable Food Trophy in France, and several high-level athletes, such as mountain climber Salomé Romain, have praised Nüttree for its positive effects during long intensive workouts.

Healthy Snacks in Easy to Consume Sachets

Originally, Nüttree packaging was made with neutral kraft wrapping for that “natural and organic” look. But the bags were too rigid. Inserting the product was difficult, and each bag only contained three ½ oz balls. Also, each pouch needed two labels: one for the front and another for rear.

Buoyed by her initial sales success, Leslie decided to create a real brand identity with cheerful colors, and drawings of endangered animals in their natural environment. But to make the new identity work, she needed a packaging supplier that could provide high quality printing on metallic barrier film to preserve the nutritional qualities of her products. A web search put her in touch with the perfect partner: ePac Flexibles.

After some initial tests, Nüttree placed an initial 20,000 piece order for small stand-up bags with designs for six SKUs, in PET soft touch/ METPET / PE packaging, with a tear notch for opening and a resealable zip.

Commenting on her collaboration with Aurore, ePac’s local representative, “When you have somebody like Aurore, you no longer ask questions. She has always been there for me, offering me great advice every step of the way.” 

Aurore adds: “I am proud to have accompanied Leslie on her project and to have been able to offer her the packaging she needs. The visuals are innovative, impactful and creative, just like the brand. “

In terms of productivity, the new packaging represents a significant time saving for the company: the bag is ready to fill (no more labels to stick) and is more flexible, therefore easier to handle both in production and for the customer. 

A Company Committed to Preserving Flora and Fauna

Leslie added, “We wanted to include endangered species (cockatoos, chameleons, squirrels, lemurs, lynxes and turtles) on our packaging to raise awareness of their plight and to encourage their protection.“ Nüttree is a member of the organization 1% for the Planet, to which it donates 1% of its profits.

Nüttree only works with suppliers that follow agricultural and breeding practices that respect the environment and animal welfare. And if you look closely at their packaging, you can see more evidence of their commitment to the environment:

  • The logo, which states “sort your recyclables.”
  • The words: “Our bags are reclosable and reusable. Don’t throw them away. Keep them for your next order of energy balls or other snacks you’d like to  take with you wherever you go.”

Nüttree sells energy balls in bulk, along with a pocket bag, so you can re-use it after finishing the order. How clever is that?

What’s Next?

Nüttree currently distributes through organic food stores only, but they plan to introduce corporate catering for worker lunch breaks by offering three flavors in recyclable packaging

They are also preparing a range of savoury snacks for a flexitarian clientele, with significant amounts of vegetable protein and, of course, very few processed products.

Keep a close eye on Nüttree and their delicious energy balls!

New York Delhi Goes for Gold With Pouches From ePac

When New York Delhi decided to upgrade their packaging for its Barista Bites range of gourmet snacks, the company chose digitally printed hero packs from ePac UK Silverstone.

Home to gourmet peanut brand VIPnuts, New York Delhi was founded by husband-and-wife Nina and Eugene Slattery, who started their food producer journey by launching a range of spices inspired by family recipes created by Nina’s grandmother. 

The two entrepreneurs had met each other in art school and found that they shared a love of great food and flavors. Their backgrounds – Nina comes from an Indian family and Eugene has Irish American roots – were the inspiration behind the company name, and New York Delhi was born.   

“Our very first product was Magic Masala, a fantastic spice mix based on my grandmother’s own special recipe and the key ingredient to making the world’s best curry,” says Nina. Fortunately, the market agreed with that bold assertion, and the pair were lucky enough to land Fortnum & Masons as their very first customer.

Giving the Humble Peanut a Makeover

The couple started using the unique spice mixes to flavor jumbo premium peanuts and that soon proved to be an incredibly popular idea. After successfully introducing their tasty nuts to the US market, and an appearance at the international food show SIAL, New York Delhi truly became a global taste sensation. Customers in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of China, including Hong Kong, just couldn’t get enough of VIPnuts.   

“I think a large part of our success is due to the fact that at New York Delhi we offer flavored peanuts for every palate,” says Nina. “We have savoury nuts like Hot Chilli and Bollywood Barbecue, and sweet ones such as Honey & Mustard or Hot Toffee, along with more traditional salted and dry roasted nuts. We also sell wasabi and cashew nuts in mouth-watering flavor combinations.”

Over the past year, the brand has seen huge growth in online sales, due in part to the coronavirus pandemic. They can be found on Ocado, Amazon and many other online retailers. This has more than made up for the decline in sales to the hospitality industry, says Nina, who also said they plan to introduce VIPnut butter and more snack market categories.

Looking Out for a Packaging Hero

VIPnuts are sold in several packaging formats including grab & go, shot packs, gift tins and large glass jars for selling by weight in pubs and bars. “We have now also introduced a Hero size pack for three of our flavors in the Barista Bites range. And for this project, we chose to work with ePac UK Silverstone and take advantage of their digital print expertise to make our product shine,” says Nina.  

The company wanted to move away from basic pouches made from a metallic-look film with labels attached, to fully printed stand-up pouches with high impact graphics for a more professional look. The ability to order low quantities of each flavor to help with cash flow and avoid stocking a huge inventory was also an attractive proposition.   

“We had been using a silver generic film as [the minimum order quantities (MOQs)] were very high,” explains Nina. “We simply applied a label to denote what flavor was in the pack and another with the appropriate ingredient listings and nutritional information. This helped us try a few flavors without huge commitments, but it really wasn’t ideal.” 

With digital printing, the MOQs can be kept very low, because there are no plate costs, lengthy set-up times or wasted materials. Once the artwork has been approved, the pre-press operator sends it straight to the digital press where it is printed in full color without delay. The printed film is then laminated and made into pouches on ePac’s state-of-the-art converting lines. This agility means shorter lead times with pouches delivered ready to fill in just 15 working days. 

The Sky’s the Limit With Digital

New York Delhi’s new pouches were made for three of their SKUs: Cocoa Caramel Peanuts, Hot Toffee, and another very popular snack – Americanos Dark Chocolate Coffee Beans. Adding to the luxury look, the pouches are made from a metallic laminate with gold on the inside of the packs. Zippers for reclosing and tear-notches for easy opening are also part of the package.  

Nina explains, “We are known for the gold lining of our bags rather than traditional silver, and this was the challenge we gave ePac. They also had to print the deepest black to really show off our brand – everything needed to look glossy and high quality. We are so impressed with what has been achieved and how quickly the pouches were delivered.”

Short lead times and low MOQs also give brands the freedom to experiment with new designs, products or flavors without incurring huge costs or creating unnecessary waste. “Digital allows us to experiment and try things sooner than we would have otherwise been able to. We are very big on new development, so this is right up our street,” exclaims Nina.

The partnership with ePac UK Silverstone looks set to continue with Nina singing the praises of this first project. She concludes, “We have been super impressed with ePac and I love that we can bring ideas to the market so much quicker. With digital print, the sky’s the limit and the relationship with ePac will help us take over the world. We’re very excited about our next venture.”

If you’re looking to move your brand to the next level, Get in touch today and see what we can do to elevate your packaging.

Snacking on-the-go with sustainable pouches in hand

Evolved Snacks is using the perfect combination of digital print and recyclable film to package its new range of freeze-dried fruit toppings in grab-and-go environmentally friendly pouches.  

When young entrepreneur Dom Kristy set out to revolutionise the UK dried fruit snack market, he looked to space for inspiration. After finishing a degree in nutritional science at Plymouth University, he set up his own business with the vision to offer a healthy snack option for adults and kids alike. His mission was to produce fruit snacks with no added extras, and the method he chose to preserve the fresh fruit was freeze drying, a technology best known from NASA’s space missions.  

Often people believe they are eating healthy snacks just because they are fruit-based, but too many brands fill their products with extra sugars,” said Dominic, who is determined to help improve bad eating habits. “Freeze drying preserves the taste, texture and colour, and more importantly, the nutritional value of fresh fruit without adding any junk ingredients. We wanted to bring out all the goodness in fruit, make it more easily accessible and improve people’s diet.”

Healthy convenience in fruity flavours

The result of Dominic’s mission was little bite-sized pieces of dried fruit that have the sweet and sour taste of candy, the light crunch of popcorn, and the goodness of real fruit. After several years of perfecting the freeze-drying technique for fresh fruit, the first products from Evolved Snacks hit the market under the tagline ‘Evolved Fruit for the Modern Primate’.

Launched in several delicious fruit combinations, each pack contains less than 50 kcals and has no additives. Dried fruit is also high in fibre, gluten-free and vegan, perfect for people with a range of specific dietary requirements, and the customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. 

Following a slightly unconventional route to market, the new products were first listed on Amazon Prime and also chosen as a supplier for Google’s European HQ, in Dublin. The fruit snacks have now found their way into subscription-based nutritional boxes from the likes of Healthy Nibbles, Love Free From, and Treat Trunks. 

We scaled up during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was the wrong time for it, but we also had the opportunity to supply a number of airlines and nationals railways, which we are very proud of,” added Dominic, who has big ambitions for his company. “We want to become an established cross-selling brand, so we are now pushing into retail and hospitality. We want Evolved Snacks to be a household name and lead the way in food innovation for healthy snacks.”

Recyclable pouches packing a punch

The tasty fruit bites are also perfect as toppings for porridge, yoghurt, cereal, in baking and even salads, so to make them even more convenient and respond to customers’ demand, they will now also be available in larger portions, packed in stand-up, resealable pouches produced by ePac UK Silverstone. 

We are introducing this new product, because we realised our customers often used our on-the-go fruit bites as toppings on their porridge, so we felt the need to introduce a bigger pouch, which is resealable so that the fruit stays fresh for longer,” explained Dominic. 

But the Evolved team has gone one better with their packaging: the new larger pouches are made from 100% recyclable polyethylene (PE) and printed digitally on ePac’s fleet of HP Indigo presses for the ultimate in sustainability. 

“From the start, we wanted recyclable packaging and ePac made this possible for us. When we switched to recyclable, we were scared that it might have a big impact on the barrier properties. This didn’t happen as ePac offered us a high-barrier recyclable option, which was very reassuring for us,” recounted Dominic. “Finding the correct barrier to pack our products also helps to limit food waste, which is what we are trying to support as a company,” he added.

The new pouches are made from a mono-material laminated construction, where one layer of PE is printed and then laminated to another layer of PE to provide strength and durability. This means that they can be recycled where supermarkets provide collection points for plastic shopping bags, such as Tesco’s new recycling scheme for ‘soft’ plastic, which is due to be rolled out nationwide.

“When we first met Dominic, it quickly become clear that our PE-based films, which are fully recyclable, would be just right for Evolved’s new toppings,” said Nick Monk, Sales Director for UK and Ireland. “The films are fully customizable and has high-barrier functionality for optimal product protection. Similar to standard pouch constructions, the films are oxygen and water vapour resistant, bringing the same benefits as existing non-recyclable solutions.” 

Keeping it lean with digital print

On top of the great environmental credentials afforded by the filmic material, there are also many added sustainability benefits of digital printing from ePac. These include low minimum order quantities (MOQs) and fast delivery of less than two weeks from artwork approval to finished pouches. All in all, creating a lot less waste compared to the traditional supply chain.

Dominic can simply order the number of pouches he wants, when he wants them, rather than having to order huge MOQs and wait months for them to be produced and delivered. With no printing plates to be made, trying out new designs and concepts is easy and quick, and you don’t end up throwing out loads of unwanted pouches.

“For the new toppings range, we were able to order a small quantity of fully printed pouches from ePac to test the market first, just in case something wasn’t quite right, and we needed to adjust it in the next order, and this was of course enormously helpful for us,” explained Dominic. 

Finding a local partner for packaging also speeding up proceedings, with no fears of packaging that had been made abroad ending up stuck in customs and taking ages to arrive. Keeping it local improves the carbon footprint of each pouch, as it has not travelled hundreds, or even thousands, of miles before even being filled.

This agile workflow can mean the difference between a small start-up making it or falling at the packaging hurdle, and the advantages were not lost on Dominic: “The quick turnaround time helped to launch the product to the market as soon as possible, and I think having a local supplier played a big part in this.”

Realizing the dream of sustainable packaging

Getting the right kind of packaging at the right price has been just one of the pieces in the puzzle for Evolved Snacks, albeit a very important one. Starting a new company selling on-the-go snacks during a year of national lockdowns, with so many restrictions on travel, has definitely not been easy, which is why having a great packaging partner has meant so much.

A special thanks to Christina Coles and the rest of the ePac team, who have been amazing with continuous communication, sending me samples, emails with updates, and even photos of the finished pouches as soon as they were produced!” said Dominic, who has learnt a lot through this new partnership. “Before I met ePac, I didn’t know much about digital print for packaging at all,” he said. “But I can definitely see the difference from our previous pouch. The quality of the graphics is great!”  

He concluded, “With the fantastic support from ePac and the team’s expert knowledge of all things flexible packaging, I was able to make my hopes a reality. A lot of young brands want their products to be perfect, and so did I. Right from the start, I wanted the packaging to be sustainable, but that wasn’t possible at the time. So now, the fact that our new range is being launched in sustainable packaging is very exciting. I mean, it’s 100% sustainable!”

Are you looking to realise your dream of sustainable packaging? Contact us today to find out more about our green solutions and see for yourself how digital print and new innovative substrates can get your products to market without damaging the environment.   

Hunting Flavours In Bold, Colourful Packaging With Digital Print

Starting up a brand-new business from scratch is never easy – doing it during a national lockdown even harder. Now throw in three small children, aged 5, 4, and 3, and you have a real challenge on your hands! 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough, largely because of the schools being closed. It was impossible to make sales calls with three small kids screaming in the background!” says Dominique Woolf, who launched her own range of Thai-inspired sauces in the summer of 2020. 

But by working every night after the kids had gone to bed and through the weekend, while doing the more responsive tasks during the day, she has successfully managed to build her own distinctive brand – The Woolf’s Kitchen. 

She explains, “My husband does most of the childcare at the weekends, so I can work on the business. It’s not been an ideal balance, but we’ve done what we can to make it work, and my products are now stocked in delis and independents across the UK.”

Fulfilling a dream

“I was at a career crossroads and knew I wanted to start my own business,” Dominique says looking back. “After much soul-searching, I realised I wanted to pursue my passion for food. My Thai auntie used to make these amazing sauces, and it all clicked – I knew I wanted to take those to market, so I started developing my own range.”

Getting from the first idea to the official launch took a lot of dedication and many late nights for the Leith-trained chef. An initial test selling the sauces at a local farmers’ market to see if the recipes would appeal, gave Dominique the positive feedback she needed. She decided to put all her efforts into the venture and spent the next seven months working to set up her business and develop the branding. 

The launch was a great success. Within the first three months over 1800 bottles were sold by more than 30 stockists, and the sauces were featured in The Times, Metro, and included in Stylist magazine’s Style List. Shortly after, The Woolf’s Kitchen was chosen by Theo Paphitis as one of his Small Business Sunday winners on Twitter, and just four months into her journey, Dominique was nominated for Female Start-Up of the Year by Enterprise Nation, a support network for small businesses, where she reached the final. 

But it was not all plain sailing. “It has been tough getting visibility with the products in-store when footfall is so low, and people are spending less time browsing,” says Dominique, who offered a point of sale flyers to shops and free bottles to sample with takeaway food to spread the word. 

Finding the Premium Look

Not content with selling flavourful sauces, which she describes as “bold, punchy, and vibrant”, Dominique has recently expanded into the snacks category with a range of tasty nut mixes. Again, she found inspiration in her Thai roots. “The Thai love nuts; they use them in cooking and snack on them constantly. They’re a deep-rooted part of the culture, and my auntie used to make these amazing caramelised cashews, so it was a natural progression for me to extend into nuts,” she explains. 

The packaging for the new Woolf Bites range reflects the big, bold flavours of the nuts with bright, vibrant colours and eye-catching designs. So far three new products – Sticky Cayenne Nut Mix, Crafty Cocoa Peanuts, and Smoky Beast Almonds & Peanuts – have been launched, in digitally-printed lay-flat pouches produced by flexible packaging specialist, ePac UK Silverstone. 

For small to medium runs of multiple SKUs, digital print with its excellent colour reproduction, high quality, and low MOQs is the perfect solution for start-ups and entrepreneurs alike. Unlike traditional printing methods, it doesn’t require printing plates or long lead times, so new products can get to market quickly at the right price point. “As a small company, low MOQ is essential, and the fact we can amend the design on subsequent rounds is a huge bonus,” says Dominique. 

To create the new pouches for Woolf Bites, ePac used a BOPP film material optimised specifically for digital printing and ideal for the packing of snacks and crisps. The film has been designed to keep moisture and oxygen from entering the pack and helps maintain product consistency, avoid spoilage and preserve the quality of the nuts. 

Printed with high-definition photo-like graphics and perfect solid colours on ePac’s HP Indigo Digital Presses, the packs come with added shelf impact that is bound to grab the attention of snack-hungry consumers. “The product really stands out on the shelf. We are extremely happy that our design has been brought to life exactly how we wanted it. ePac really delivered for us,” comments Dominique. 

Future ambition with smart packaging 

The story doesn’t end here; Dominique has her sight set on introducing more products and using new innovation to make her packaging work even harder for her brand. One of the new initiatives will be leveraging the power of ePacConnect, the new smart packaging solution from ePac UK. “We are adding QR codes to our next round of packaging and I’m really excited about the possibility of added consumer engagement,” she explains. 

ePacConnect allows brands to engage directly with consumers through the use of serialised QR codes. By cultivating more brand engagement, The Woolf’s Kitchen can expand its marketing strategy and increase sales through loyalty programmes, promotional campaigns, personalised content experiences, and even games!

The codes can also be used for a host of other purposes including verification of authenticity, track and trace, security alerts, and to collect data on market and supply chain activities. 

“The versatility of digital printing continues to drive innovation in flexible packaging and offer a multitude of possibilities, so brands of any size can connect directly with the consumer,” comments Ryan Kiley, Director of Market Development at ePac Holdings. “The Woolf’s Kitchen is tapping into this potential, and it will be exciting to see where this will take them and our partnership.”

With both the sauces and the nuts about to launch in high-end department store chain Selfridges & Co, Dominique is well on her way to achieving her ambition, “My dream is to become a recognisable UK brand with distribution not just in the independents, but also in mainstream supermarkets. I envisage having a much wider range of products – it doesn’t stop at sauces and nuts. That’s just the beginning!” she concludes.

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

Olly’s Goes Nuts for ePac’s Printed Pouches for New Range of Snacks

Snack food entrepreneur Olly Hiscocks has come a long way since starting his business in his parents’ kitchen. Since 2014, Olly’s has gone from an artisan start-up selling at the local market to an international business that serves big retailers, travel operators, tech companies, online shops and more with olives, pretzels and nuts.

Along the way, having a standout high-quality packaging with impactful graphics has been a central part of Olly’s vision of bringing ethically sourced, healthy, and flavorful snacks to the on-the-go market.

Olly’s Olive Revolution

The idea for the business was born when Olly spotted an opportunity in the market for flavored olives that were 100% natural, with no artificial additives or preservatives. He also wanted to keep the fruit as fresh and colorful as possible without the use of heat treatment to conserve them. In most cases, olives are pasteurised to increase their shelf life, but that process can adversely affect the flavor, texture and nutritional value.

Instead Olly moved away from the traditional method and launched his all-natural olives in three delicious flavors: Basil & Garlic, Chilli & Rosemary, and Lemon & Thyme.

He explains, “We were the first olive brand not to use heat treatment but instead offer a tastier, crunchier, more natural taste experience to customers. We only use fresh ingredients and the result is juicy olives in unique marinades that I believe even olive ‘haters’ will love.”

His innovative approach was carried through to the packaging, which is bright, bold and colorful: “We don’t just want our products to taste amazing, they need to look amazing too.” And right from the start, it was stand-up pouches that proved the perfect format for Olly, who soon expanded his product range.

Moving into Nuts with Funky Pouches

Not content with just olives and pretzels, Olly decided to expand his reach in the snack category with a new range of nut mixes, another venture that promises to disrupt the market. As with his olives, Olly is employing the best production techniques to achieve a unique, full-bodied flavor and using only ethically sourced nuts.

To get the nut products out in packaging that reflects their exceptional quality, sustainable ethos and entrepreneurial nature, the company partnered with flexible packaging specialist ePac UK Silverstone.

From the get-go, Olly knew that any new nut product would need strong shelf impact to succeed in the competitive snack sector. He also wanted to launch the range very quickly and so began the search for a new packaging supplier that could offer high quality, fast delivery and full design flexibility.

Having spoken to a number of other brands, Olly found that ePac, with its state-of-the-art digital print capabilities and sophisticated converting lines, came highly recommended.

“We were very much up against it from a time perspective, and the ePac team were very supportive in being flexible with production lead times so we could hit our launch date,” he says.

Olly was already aware of the benefits of digital printing, and the results didn’t disappoint. “Digital gives an incredible quality of print,” he says. “We have always been really insistent on making sure that our brand matches the quality of the product, and the finish ePac delivers does that perfectly.”

He adds, “As a smaller brand who likes to make small tweaks to branding, ePac offers the perfect solution. Flexible, short lead times and low medium order quantities really helps when you’re launching a new product.”

Small MOQs with just-in-time delivery also equal reduced environmental impact, as there is no need to order tens of thousands of pouches that need storing for weeks or months, Olly doesn’t have to worry about warehousing with its associated costs and energy use. Nor will he end up with redundant stock going to landfill if the packaging design or business model changes.

Local Partner Proves Vital During Crisis

Having a local packaging partner when launching a brand-new range of products is always a huge advantage, but this has become even more important during the COVID-19 crisis. Staying local has allowed the company to avoid disruptions to the supply chain and made communication much easier.

“Not only does using a UK-based company for my packaging mean that delivery is fast and efficient, but I have also felt extra reassured during this critical time because there won’t be any issues with overseas shipping or unexpected delays in production,” says Olly. “And of course, the whole process is also so much more environmentally friendly.”

However, the pandemic has had some effect on sales, of course, particularly in the travel market, but says Olly, “Luckily we have been able to subsidise loss of sales in travel with an incredibly huge surge online. And now, with our new product ranges, we could not be in a stronger position.”

Since its foundation in the UK in 2019, the ePac concept has been proven time and time again, as evidenced by the company’s rapid expansion. Olly’s is a classic example of how the ePac business model continues to deliver exceptional packaging for brands of all sizes.

Jason Short, Area Sales Specialist at ePac UK Silverstone, worked closely with Olly on the project. “We offer the most flexible solution for small to medium brands, with lowest minimum orders, best-in-class print quality and faster production than what can be achieved with conventional printing,” Short says, adding, “I know Olly is over the moon with the pouches we produced for his new nut range and I have to say I think they look fantastic.”

With Digitally Printed Pouches, Craize Corn Brings Ethnic Snacks To The Grocery Aisle

Craize Corn snacks are all-natural toasted crisps (or crackers) made from corn. The crisps are similar to “arepas” with a traditional maize, or corn, flavor that has a subtle sweetness that is different from a tortilla. They are as founder Leonardo Cotter describes, “evolved for the American market, and ready to eat as is.”

Cotter’s goal when starting the company was to bring Latin-inspired and ancestral flavors to consumers in the United States. Cotter describes that most brands launching ethnic products were doing so in ethnic-specific aisles in stores, and in confusing packaging. But Cotter aimed to change all that with his Craize Corn packaging.

“Most ethnic food products today are not in friendly aisles in the supermarket, most are in regional aisles. And some have very ethnic packaging and are even in a different language. It doesn’t pull customers in to try it when they don’t know what the product is. I saw an opportunity to bring to the U.S. flavors from different origins with clear branding, and clear communication in the main aisles to the regular consumer,” says Cotter.

Cotter originally started the company in Venezuela and then in May 2017, only a few years later, launched the brand in Miami, FL. Today the snack line is sold in Canada, Florida, Texas, New York, and several states in the Northeast. The brand is available online at the company website, as well as on Amazon. Once the brand launches in Whole Foods stores this spring, consumers will be able to find Craize in more areas across the U.S., including the Midwest. 

Finding the Right Package

When Cotter first launched Craize Corn in the U.S., he was packaging the snacks in rigid plastic containers that held the crackers stacked one on top of each other. But he soon noticed that many of the crackers on the bottom of the container were breaking from the weight of the crackers on top. Cotter knew that he had to fix this packaging problem and began to look into packaging his crisps in pouches.

Craize’s packaging prior to partnering with ePac.

“Pouches are the most convenient package style… another reason we moved to flexible was to change our proposition value by using a more sustainable package,” says Cotter.

Not stopping at merely finding the right pouch supplier, Cotter began reading up on the differences between flexographic and digital printing and was interested in how digital printing could help a small brand like his grow. He quickly concluded that finding a digital printer was paramount to his success. Luckily, ePac just happened to be opening its Miami office close by. The two companies began working together in May 2019 to create the new pouch that would allow Craize Corn to go from a regional brand to a national success. 

Cotter explains that the new pouch’s high-end looks and crisp graphics are more appealing to consumers. Each flavor features a unique design with different images representing delicious recipe opportunities.

But the really important thing about the new packaging? The crisps were no longer breaking.

“With the flexible pouches, there is no more breakage; it’s a better package and it fits our product better. And now we have better branding. We have had amazing feedback from our distributors and customers,” says Cotter.Today the Craize product line is packaged in stand-up, resealable pouches from ePac that use a matte film and a simple design to showcase each flavor. There are six flavors in all and each is available in the traditional 4-ounce bag, as well as in 1.5-ounce sample bags.

Future Opportunities 

Since the package overhaul, Craize has seen some impressive growth and has received a lot of positive feedback about the new look and feel of the matte stand-up pouches. Cotter has no doubt that a large part of the sales growth is due to the new packaging.

“Rigid was fine for our local business in the beginning, but not more than that. If we couldn’t have grown our packaging, we couldn’t have moved forward. I’m confident about that,” says Cotter.

What began as a single-man company is now a team of 25 employees, and it’s only growing from there. Cotter says the brand has lots of plans to develop more flavors from different regions of the world. The brand is also planning new products and a new marketing plan to further the Craize name. 

ePac’s unique digital printing platform has allowed the brand to recreate their packaging over time, with manageable quantities. Thanks to digital printing, if they needed to make any changes to the design, flavors, and graphics they were free to do so at any stage in the process. 

“Digital printing is great for us as a start-up. As we worked to make the package more professional, we didn’t have to carry a lot of stock. And we can make changes easily. Also, you only order what you need to order, which is important when you have product with different flavors and different designs,” says Cotter.

Craize Corn is exploring the various opportunities digital printing is allowing the brand, including variable data printing (VDP), which is a form of digital printing that uses information from a database or external file. With VDP, elements such as text, graphics, and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the printing process. 

“You definitely don’t have to stick with one single artwork. We have more opportunities to create various designs and images. We can even create different photos on each bag, representing new ideas with different packaging for the same product! It’s a very cool opportunity that we are hoping to take advantage of in the future,” says Cotter.

Are you ready to explore how digital printing differs from traditional printing methods? Ready to launch or re-launch your brand in custom pouches without committing to a large order? Call us today to see how we can help.