Feb 3rd 2020

Everything you should know about packaging before you place your first order.

Back to post list

Anna Wolthers

Everything you should know about packaging before you place your first order.

Know-how is essential for small and medium-sized companies, but learning by doing can be quite expensive. That is why at Fastpack we gathered the experience gained during the years of working the in the industry to create a practical guide for entrepreneurs, restaurant owners, food trucks, catering services and other companies operating in the food sector. In our new blog section, you can find analysis of the latest trends in the food industry and find answers for the most frequently asked questions about packaging, shipping, delivery and logistics.

The production process explained; how long is the process? How much does it cost? What are my options? If you are looking for answers for those and similar questions, this article is for you.

How long does it take to produce packaging, and what can I do to make it faster and more effective?

On average, once the customer accepts the final project, it takes four to six weeks to receive a completed product. The length of the process depends on the complexity of the packaging. It is significantly shorter once you are a regular customer because the provider has all the measurements and setting in place.

Packaging production is a multistage process. The number of stages depends on the complexity of the packaging. It consists of the following phases; the printer has to be manually adjusted to the graphic design, printing, cutting out the form, glueing, packing, preparing for transport. Each of these phases consists of stages; the number of which depends on the project.

Let's take a paper bag as an example. The machines need to be manually adjusted to the design and the size of the bag. Printeries accumulate the orders for a given size and produce them together in one go to optimize the process. That means that your order, does not go immediately to the production, but it is accumulated with other orders with the same parameters and waits for its turn.

Therefore, when it is your first order, there as an estimation, on the delivery time.

Once you order your bags from the same provider regularly, the delivery time estimation is much more precise.

The production of paper packaging for gastronomy is a complex and multi-stage process.

Why do you need to order packaging in big volumes, can't you order just a few?

Most of the printeries have the minimum order quantity, beyond which the production is not economically viable. In many cases, the number, as well as the price, are negotiated between the customer and the producer.

Can Fastpack guarantee a shorter waiting time for its regular customers?

Yes, we can and let us explain why you need to be a regular customer for us to make it possible. Once we know your order is regularly reoccurring, we can arrange with the printer to have your order always in the queue, even before you place the order. What it means, is that once the printer has accumulated orders similar in parameters to yours, they add your order to the pull. As a result, your new order is ready once you need it. We take care of the logistics and offer the storage of the packaging for our regular customers. In practice, when you are running out of the packaging, we already have a new delivery prepared for you.

Is it more expensive than the regular one, and what are the benefits of the printed packaging?

Our brain reacts subconsciously to colours and symbols. This process is called 'thin slicing of reality' and makes printed packaging a fantastic marketing tool. You can read more about the benefits of customized printed packaging. It is a common misconception that it is more expensive. Depending on the volume and the provider, printed packaging can be cheaper than the regular one. The reason lays in the supplier chain for non-printed packaging. It is mass production with many intermediaries, which affects the final price. At Fastpack, we minimalize the number of intermediaries and cooperate directly with the printeries. The other factor is the volume of the order; in other words, the more you order, the smaller is the price per unit. Consequently, depending on the size of the order, we can offer a printed packaging, at a better price than the non-printed packaging provided by other suppliers.

At Fastpack we can make a completely new form of take-out packaging for your business.

Is print in colours more expensive than the black and white one?

Colour is just one of the factors for the final price, and colourful print does not have to be more expensive. We need to look at other factors like the printing method, the number of colours, the size of the print, and of course the size of the order. As an example, if we use digital print on paper cups, and we want to print the logo, the price for colourful and black and white print would be the same. Luckily one of the most influential trends in packaging is natural, simplistic and environmentally conscious design. The natural brown colour of the paper and simple black or white print, are not only stylish but also cheaper and environmentally friendly.

I am looking for a sustainable packaging; Is PLA plastic fully biodegradable or what would be the best substitute. Is paper packaging a good alternative?

The topic of sustainability is extremely complex. As a general rule, we should instead use the term "sustainable concerning…". The problem with PLA plastic is that it doesn't get to biodegrade as it requires special conditions to do that. As a result, it also takes hundreds of years to biodegrade. Furthermore, it turns into dust made from its primary components such as polyester, PET, LDPE, HDPE, that are still harmful to the environment.

Paper and other materials from natural components such as wood, maize starch, cotton or cellulose have an advantage over PLA plastic. They are biodegrading faster, and unlike plastic, they are compostable.

Kraft take-out paper packaging with white printing is becoming more and more popular.

Can I track the origin of the paper? How can I check which kind of paper is used by the packaging producer?

Paper comes in many textures and forms; there are different types of components, including glue and paint. Each of them comes with several certifications and permissions. We design and produce high-quality, versatile, customized packaging. To do that and meet our client's needs, we cooperate with several providers and production companies and work with a big range of paper components.

It is essential to look at the best solution in terms of price, design, components, environment or any aspect important for our customers. It varies depending on the product itself, whether it is a paper box, bag or cup. We work only with internationally renowned and respected companies, and at your request, we can deliver the relevant certification and permissions for the packaging components.

PLA plastic used for the production of take-out packaging is not an ecological solution.

The paper's origin has significant importance for the environment, does it also impact the food served in the paper packaging.

Food packaging can have an impact on the food, because of the chemicals used in the production.

It is most dangerous for plastic and aluminium; however, also some types of paper packaging can be a source of chemicals that can leak to the food. The safest containers are brown or white paper boxes, with a seal to indicate they are compostable.

How long does it take to design the packaging, and what is the cost?

Everything depends on the stage you are at, whether we start from scratch and design the bag or the box from the beginning or do we use a standard packaging format and print your logo or design on it, or maybe we base the form on the one formerly used by you.

If you are at the very beginning of the design process, it will be taking a little bit longer, depending on your needs. It can optimize the process if you know what you want, but also if you don't, we are here to help and find the best solution. Any changes to the project will require redesigning, and that will take more time. Therefore, you consider carefully, what are the optimal measurements and design, and we can help you to figure this out.

If you already have a project for the print, it will make the process much faster.

We suggest you contact us and we can give you an estimate based on your case.

Does the paper used for take-out packaging affect the food served by the restaurant?

Finally, what is the cost? At Fastpack we offer a free of charge consultation for the design process.

It is a non-binding offer, and if you decide to go ahead with the production, a personal consultant assigned to your company will support you through the whole process.

You can contact us, even if you are at the very beginning of the stage, it doesn't cost anything, and you can get a better idea about the design and the cost of the packaging.

The world of packaging is not a jungle, but it is a quite complex and multistage process, and this is why we are here to help. If you have any questions, contact us, and we will be happy to help. We will also try to answer the most frequently asked questions on the blog.

About the author

Anna Wolthers

A copywriter by passion and profession. Her duties at Fastpack include (but are not limited to) implementing marketing projects, copywriting, and managing social media campaigns. She strives for a happy medium between creative and effective marketing campaigns. When off duty, a fan of a written word in all shapes and forms – from classics to non-fiction.