Perfect Pasta is known by customers around the country for their impressive variety of handmade pasta options, from appetizers to entrées, and even brings their delicious fare to the gluten-free market.
Perfect Pasta is a family-owned gourmet pasta company that’s been in business for over 30 years, selling both retail and foodservice products. Based in the Chicago area, for decades the company has been known locally for its wide variety of specialty choices. Today, the company sells 41 different retail products in 1,700 grocery stores nationwide and can even be enjoyed as part of in-flight dining options both domestically and internationally for air travelers.
Making a Big Change in Types of Packaging for Pasta
Because of the high number of SKUs in the Perfect Pasta library, the company assumed that labeling in-house with stock bags was the only affordable solution. They didn’t think that it would be cost-effective to print custom pouches for every product in their line-up, and reducing the number of SKUs was not an option since from the beginning Perfect Pasta has made its name by offering specialty items.
“At one point we had over 120 SKUs. We had a following because of this; our customers are used to specialty items,” says Chris Wilkins, Director, Sales & Marketing at Perfect Pasta.
So for a long time, the company was packaging its pasta in clear, stock, lay-flat pillow bags. In order to show their variety, they were forced to print out generic labels and apply them in-house. As the brand grew, it knew it needed a better package, especially to help bring the brand nationwide.
“The old packaging worked for our regional business, but we needed something with mass appeal to attract new shoppers and provide them with a high quality experience. We wanted to expand, protect the product better, and create something exciting and consistent for our customers,” says Wilkins.
So they began to look for other solutions, and after a referral from an industry partner, found ePac. Soon after hearing all that ePac and digital printing had to offer, and that it was a cost-competitive option, the company made a full switch.
Perfect Pasta began using ePac’s custom digitally printed pouches for all 41 retail SKUs in two sizes, the 12- and 24-ounce bags. The stand-up pouches are resealable and fully branded. They offer ease of use, easy retailing, and vibrant designs, with original artwork for each SKU.
The best part is that both retailers and customers are enjoying the new pouches. Retailers like the pouches because they stand up in the freezer, which eliminates the need for the trays the brand was using to make their lay-flat pouches stand up. This is also proving to be a cost-savings solution for the brand since it no longer needs to purchase trays. And, consumers love the pouches because they stand up in the kitchen, and feature a tear notch and press to close zipper for easy handling and resealability for on-demand use.
Perfect Pasta is also pleased with the switch. But while everything is going smoothly now, Wilkins says that at first there were some fears and concerns over how much this would change Perfect Pasta’s operations. Before partnering with ePac, the brand was filling the stock bags as needed and then printing in-house for individual SKUs. Today, Wilkins explains that the company faces the challenge of managing and relearning inventory needs for 40 plus SKUs, like ordering the right quantities and staying on top of trends in production and inventory.
“It’s been a big change in operations, but now there is no fear surrounding it because of ePac’s capabilities,” explains Wilkins.
Finding Freedom Through Digital Printing
With ePac, Perfect Pasta has the freedom to print numerous SKUs each month and place large orders with mixed SKUs. When other printers would shy away from large orders with various SKUs, ePac is perfectly suited to handle jobs like that. With digital printing, there are no plates, no setup, and the fast turnaround is the same for 10 or 100 SKUs in one single order.
“We place larger orders with 40 different SKUs at a time, all with a turnaround in 15 days. ePac’s operational capability is huge and allowed us to make this jump to custom digital printing with confidence,” says Wilkins.
And the pasta packaging change has not gone unnoticed. Perfect Pasta is experiencing more growth since unveiling the new pouches and has received only positive feedback.
“The reaction has been night and day. We receive compliments all the time about how beautiful the pouches are and how well they stand up,” says Wilkins.
Digital printing allows brands like Perfect Pasta to have fully custom frozen food pouches for every SKU in the line-up, with unique artwork for each one. Digital printing offers flexibility in ordering quantities, as well as when changes are needed for the design, from artwork changes to nutritional information, or even regulations.
“It’s been great having the ease of not having to worry about minimums for SKUs or plate changes. We can make revisions to art and we can do that on the fly because ePac just rolls with it. There’s no extra time and expense incurred…in this industry, when changes come they can come fast and often, and ePac adapts,” says Wilkins.
Perfect Pasta also enjoys competitive pricing and the convenience of working with a local company, since ePac has an office in Chicago. According to Wilkins, Perfect Pasta will continue to partner with ePac as it expands into custom packaging for all of its products.
Are you looking for a better solution for your flexible packaging products? Did you think that fully custom pouches were not an option for your brand? Call us today to learn how digital printing is the solution for you.