Food trends turn on a whim. Digital printers help food marketers stay nimble when launching the product du jour.
Food and beverage manufacturers have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about future sales as the millennial generation begins to wield more buying power. Generation Y-those born between 1980 and 2000-may be the most food trends–focused group ever, which provides food and beverage brands with unprecedented opportunities.
But expanding opportunities attract more competitors to the marketplace, and the marketplace itself is now more complex. It includes purchasing sites such as specialty shops, regional and national chains, and online buying hubs. The competition for shelf space is fierce on every buying platform, so, to be successful, food and beverage manufacturers have to find a way to stand out from the crowd.
The key is to stay on the cutting edge of foodie trends and to respond quickly when hot new food and beverage categories emerge. Gourmet take-and-bake, locally grown foods, regional specialties, gluten-free products-all of these trends have had their day in the sun and continue to be popular choices, but the manufacturers who recognized the trends early and responded quickly to meet new demand had the best opportunity to build customer loyalty.
In addition to meeting emerging demand, the product also has to look good on the shelf. The right labels and packaging can attract new customers and position the product for wider success. But manufacturers often find it difficult to turn on a dime to meet emerging demand due to the time and expense involved in designing a new label and having label runs produced by a printing house, which is the model many manufacturers still use despite the availability of new options.
Printing technology can change that model, paving the way for manufacturers to adopt a more agile design- and label-production strategy. Today, there are affordable, entry-level desktop inkjet label printers on the market that can give food and beverage manufacturers the ability to quickly produce a short run of labels with sharp text and crisp graphics in-house.
Food and beverage operations that need higher-volume printing options now have access to digital label printing and application solutions to address larger printing jobs in-house. There are solutions on the market that can fully match or exceed the label quality typically found in printing houses that use expensive digital presses.
Digital Label Printing: Speed-to-Market and Beyond
Technical advances in label-printing equipment now make it feasible for food and beverage manufacturers of all sizes to quickly design new labels and produce them in the quantities needed to capitalize on new trends. Modern printers can also handle label printing across a variety of materials, including liquid and scratch-resistant synthetics.
The ability to go from concept to design to printing in just minutes with an in-house printing approach not only increases speed-to-market; it allows food and beverage manufacturers to save money by using a less-expensive printing alternative that does not require ordering a minimum number of labels, as is typically the case at printing houses. This means manufacturers save money up front with shorter runs and in the long-term by reductions in unused label inventory.
Millennials-the foodie generation-are already changing food and beverage buying habits with their focus on gourmet and specialty items and willingness to make purchases wherever they can find the products they want. Food and beverage manufacturers who spot emerging trends and have the agility to position their products accordingly are more likely to gain shelf space. And with greater flexibility and affordable in-house printing options, food and beverage manufacturers can also gain an unbeatable competitive edge.
Amber Jechort is a product manager at Primera Technology. Headquartered in Plymouth, MN, Primera Technology Inc. is one of the world’s leading specialty printer manufacturers. Its products are sold worldwide through Primera Authorized Resellers and Distributors in more than 183 countries. Visit www.primeralabel.com.
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