If you’re considering digital printing for your food brand’s packaging, its lower production cost might be the first thing that comes to mind. This may be a guiding factor in your review of potential rollstock, child resistant or flexible packaging suppliers. Other factors are, however, worth your attention when you’re choosing a food packaging partner. Digital printing minimizes set-up time and eliminates the need for plate creation. This means faster production turnarounds that can be measured in days rather than weeks or months.

When you work with a digital print provider you can create your packaging artwork using your own in-house software. You then submit your artwork online or as an email attachment, typically in the form of an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. The digital print provider will advise you if your file submission requires any adjustments. A technical support team member can guide you through the digital artwork set-up process and most print providers offer file-creation checklists on their websites.

Because everything stays in the digital realm until the ink hits the packaging media, you can make changes without incurring the cost of new plates. You can also consolidate several SKUs into one print run without incurring additional expense. This can be an especially attractive option if you’re launching a new product trial with a short or medium packaging run. Shorter start-to-finish times can also provide a first-to-market competitive edge when launching new seasonal products.

Meeting Special Packaging Requirements

Should your food product require child resistant or film barrier packaging, an established digital print provider should have no problem meeting your needs. If, for example, you require certified childproof mylar bags that meet U.S. Code of Federal Regulations test specifications, a reputable digital printing company can produce your code-compliant packaging. There’s no need to sacrifice photo-quality images to meet compliance requirements. Modern digital printing produces high-definition graphics and reliable color-consistency across a wide range of specialized packaging materials.

Safeguarding Product Quality 

Many food products require packaging that will prevent exposure to oxygen or moisture that can otherwise affect quality and shorten shelf life. A good example is coffee bean packaging. A high barrier film can keep the air and moisture out while the sought-for aroma stays in. Film barriers can be incorporated into a stand-up pouch packaging format that calls out to shoppers from the shelf. With the photo-quality imaging capabilities of digital printing, a high-impact branding statement can set apart a coffee product from all the others.

Taking Advantage of Variable Data Printing

VDP is a feature of digital printing that enhances a product’s branding and builds purchaser engagement. Varying packaging designs or demographic-specific messaging can be printed on individual pieces throughout a single print run based on the input from a supplied database. VDP enables your company to easily incorporate specialized gifting or “custom-blend” messages in your packaging.

In addition to building consumer engagement, VDP can be used to track your products across the distribution chain through serialized QR and bar code imprints. By partnering with flexible packaging suppliers that offer VDP capabilities, your company can assure consumers of product freshness and authenticity while also protecting your brand from being diverted into gray market areas.