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Sheep Print introduces NPD solution for launch of food products

05 January 2015

One of the leading UK suppliers of labelling solutions for plastic containers, Sheep Print is targeting new product development managers with a low run in-mould labelling (IML) solution.

Thanks to new production developments Sheep Print can now do runs from as little as 10,000 labelled pots and matching lids, allowing food companies to professionally present their new products without needing to resort to self-adhesive labels.

IML provides a high quality, more professional appearance than a conventional sticky product label, but minimum label production numbers have previously often ruled them out for use on new food trials due to initial lower production runs.

The move by Sheep Print to offer lower IML production quantities should prove of particular benefit to new product development managers who are often under pressure to test the market with initial product launches, to determine whether there is a demand to justify full scale production.

Traditionally the minimum number of IML labels that could be produced was 50,000 which meant that many companies were unable to justify the cost on low batch product numbers. However this has also changed with the intervention of Sheep Print which is trying to pioneer a move towards companies always using IML. 

Unlike many other suppliers Sheep Print also offers quick project turnaround times, this is typically four to five weeks after the artwork has been signed off, which provides food personnel and new product managers with far greater flexibility. The company also offers a fast turnaround design service, providing samples of the whole range- for visual reference, advice on colour schemes for particular products and grant easy access to the technical information. This provides for an easier and faster decision making process.

Sheep Print a BRC accredited supplier is no stranger to the food industry and its extensive range of tamper-proof IML printed plastic containers are already used for a wide variety of food products including ready meals, snacks, soups, yoghurts, breakfast cereals, desserts, ice cream and many other foods.

IML plastic pots offer a number of advantages over conventional sticky labelled pots. These include a more professional finish, matching lids and containers, a security lock and are leak and tamper proof. IML eliminates the need for label application, thus reducing machine or labour costs. IML pots are also stronger than thermoformed pots and can be filled at much higher temperatures.

The company hopes that the short batch runs will appeal to not just large food producers looking to do food trials but also SMEs keen to present the feel of a more established on-shelf appearance.

Sheep Print’s Head of UK Operations, Milda Laurikiete, explains: “We decided to introduce innovative new technology which has enable us to cut the production quantity from 50,000 to 10,000 IML labels to enable us to target the new product development market. This solution is ideal for product launches and trials and although the costs per label are a little bit higher on a 10,000 run we think the cost is justified because of the much greater professionalism the labels provide.”

A one-stop shop is offered for plastic pots and lids by Sheep Print, this includes full colour printing and metallic options, as well as the finished articles. Its IML plastic pots are produced to BRC Food standards and ISO 9001, they are lightweight and can be stacked, can be clear or coloured, come in various shapes and sizes from 120ml to 2L with or without handles.

Sheep Print can also print on both sides of the lids and matching plastic containers. This provides additional flexibility and an outlet for secondary information such as cooking instructions, mixing information, different languages or marketing information. 

Originally established in Lithuania, Sheep Print started offering IML pots to the UK market a few years ago. Sheep Print’s pots are used by leading multiple retailers such as Morrisons and the Co-op’s own ranges and also by suppliers to Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, Selfridges and Café Nero amongst numerous others.

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