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Roberts Mart to shrink packaging for food sector

20 April 2011

Food and drink companies need innovative packing solutions to enhance brand identity and deliver consumer convenience but they're also under increasing pressure to lower their carbon footprint by reducing waste

The Courtauld Commitment Phase 2 set a target of a 10% reduction on the carbon impact of grocery packaging to encourage food and drink manufacturers to improve their resource efficiency and minimise the impact their operations have on the environment.

Flexible printed packaging companies must invest in the new technology required to help food and drink manufacturers get the best value from their brand and to meet their environmental obligations.

Roberts Mart & Co, a Leeds-based family-run business established in 1852, is already a major player in the printed collation shrink sector and is continually developing specialised high performance films which deliver full operational characteristics, in terms of clarity, gloss and strength, while minimising gauge.

The benefits of increased yield, with more packs produced per kg of film, and subsequent reduced packaging material costs, are proving very attractive to hard pressed food and drink manufacturers.

In the bottled water market, Roberts Mart is providing cost-effective printing and innovative flexible packaging solutions that safely secure packed bottles and enhance company branding and identity.

This is a fiercely competitive and demanding sector, worth about £1.5billion per annum, and all bottled water companies – large and small – can benefit from the cost savings of being able to reduce film thickness without damaging integrity or print quality.

UK brand leader Highland Spring has used Roberts Mart for its plain and printed films for transit and point of sale packaging for over five years and highlights their ‘can do’ attitude and programme of investment in the flexibles market as key points which set them apart from the competition.

Highland Spring Purchasing Manager Willie Morrison said: “Roberts Mart is very responsive to our needs, they are flexible and their turnaround times are second to none. They supplied us with a new customer design in a matter of days when their competitors had quoted weeks for the same job.”

The commitment which has so impressed Highland Spring includes investment in a new multi-million pound state-of-the-art Fischer & Krecke 14S printing press to service the food and drinks industry.

This cutting edge addition to Roberts Mart’s portfolio features ‘smartGPS’, a graphic positioning system with automatic registration which allows for quicker turnaround times than conventional presses, leading to less material waste - a vital tick in the box for packaging operations in the food and beverage industry.

Brand identity is equally important in such a crowded market as the drinks sector. Recently, InterContinental Brands (ICB) took the decision to switch from clear film to printed shrink packaging for multi packs of its innovative range of St Helier Pear Ciders.

The company appointed Roberts Mart as the supplier for its 50cl bottles to help the producer claim a larger slice of the growing £772million off-trade market (source: Nielsen).

The distinctive film, coloured to match the choice of raspberry, pear, blueberry, apple, cherry and blackcurrent flavours, has initially been well received by ICB’s customers, according to operations director, Mike Carthy.

He said: “We had not done anything with printed film before and felt our packaging needed to make a bigger visual impact on store shelves. It was a straight-forward decision to choose Roberts Mart. What really convinced us was their fast turnaround times.”

Roberts Mart Sales Director Ben Roberts said: “One of the biggest challenges for print jobs in the food and drinks industry is set up time and the wastage involved. Current systems allow for 10 percent tolerance on order quantity for registration set up and end of print off which is very wasteful.

“The new press can address these issues because it has a fixed amount of set up waste each time and a much faster acceleration to production speed. As well as its environmental advantages, the Fischer & Krecke is also very versatile making it easier for us to respond to customers’ demands.”

In total, Roberts Mart has spent almost £13million over the last five years as part of an ongoing expansion programme to meet growing demand for its film printing and packaging services.

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