Page 19 - Print 21 Magazine Sep-Oct 2018
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Flexibles: the new digital frontier
With the market for digitally- printed flexible packaging virtually untapped, forward- thinking printers and label converters told LIVE how they are staking out a claim in this new sector.
Fred Soar, Ross Read and Roger Kirwan reckon that digital flexibles now are just as fertile a ground as digital labels were five or ten years ago. “Flexibles are on the cusp of the digital revolution,” says Kirwan, “so we decided to take the plunge with the technology.”
As a fellow pioneer, Read agrees. “We were one of the first to go digital, only about ten years ago, for labels,” he says. “We wanted to think to
what was next, and that was flexible packaging: there is an untapped market and possibilities which touched our interest most.”
Each of the three has branched
out from their traditional areas of business into digital flexibles: Soar expanded from traditional cut-sheet into labels in 2013, and has recently continued into shrink sleeves and pouches. “We started printing more artisan products, which was driven by consumers,” he says.
Read was one of the first to transition from labels into flexibles at around the same time, and recently invested in
the mammoth HP Indigo 20000 wide web digital press; and Kirwan this year launched Creatabull Flexibles, a new branch of Kirwan Print Group that will will focus on pouches.
For those looking to follow in their footsteps, all three agree that plenty
of preparation is vital for success. “Do your homework, understand the market you are entering and see what gear will be able to do it,” says Kirwan.
Soar adds that you should also train your sales team on the new products you can offer. “If you have food and beverage clients see what else you can sell them, such as also leading into cartons and other point of sale items,” he said.
Read cautions against getting too caught up in the personalisation hype, and believes shorter run lengths, multiple SKUs, and fast turnaround are digital’s biggest strengths.
Last year, a global taskforce captured nine million litres of counterfeit products over 67 countries in just four months – and much of the fake food was being sold in China.
“The organised crime segment
is turning to food fraud as it is highly profitable, with minimal consequences,” Dingley says. “But
it damages the industry when people hear about things such as the melamine scandal with the New Zealand infant formula brand.”
Consumers want to know where their food comes from, and the social impact of the product,
and Dingley says QR codes and serialisation solutions give brand owners the chance to compete in the
digital world and offer much- needed information about food. Serialisation is a cloud-based platform that helps brand owners provide authenticity, and QR codes are also useful as they cannot be easily counterfeited.
Conrad Mendoza, regional marketing manager for brand innovation at HP took a deep
dive into personalisation and versioning, and how they can create opportunities for brands marketing to the me generation.
He said more companies are turning their attention to interactive packaging as a critical way to engage target markets. He said FMCG brand owners were currently dealing with a me-centric consumer market – one which personalisation of packaging taps right into.
He said while it can be difficult to measure the ROI of digital advertising, packaging offers a marketing value all its own, “We have seen that digital advertising should not be used on its own. It needs to be backed up by offline engagement. Once you have created the stand-out packaging, you create awareness of it on social and digital platforms.”
Clockwise from bottom opposite page: Laura Demasi, Roy Morgan, gives keynote address.
Daniel Blau, HP, gives a five- minute overview of PackReady.
Peter Scott, Screen GP (left), with Shane Wildash, Rawson Print Co.
Packed to the rafters: a full house at LIVE.
Workflow gurus: Mick Rowan (left), PrintIQ, and Matt Murray, Tharstern Australia.
Patrick Howard (left) unpacks the future with (l-r) Andrew Macaulay, PIAA; Kellie Northwood, Two Sides Australia; Geoff Selig, IVE Group; and Brian Lowe, Orora.

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