Wrapper Options

Packaging your food bars is not something that you may spend time thinking about when making your healthy creations. However, once the need is realized, determining the type of wrapper that is right for both the needs of the bar and the manufacturer can be challenging. Each type of wrapper has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of appearance and cost. Understanding the options available to you as a manufacturer, as well as the industry standards are key in helping you make an informed decision.

Types of Wrappers

There are two options available when packaging your food bars in wrappers.

Clear Wrappers

Clear wrappers are transparent. Choosing clear wrappers will allow consumers to view your bars before purchasing and opening the package.

Metallic Wrappers

If you select a metallic wrapper, individuals who purchase your food bars will only be able to view what is on the package, not its contents. Most candy bars that you find in stores come in this type of packaging.
Selecting an Option: As you decide the type of wrappers you will use when manufacturing your bars, you should give adequate thought to the following points.

Aesthetics

A significant advantage of choosing a metallic wrapper as your packaging is that consumers will not be able to see any physical flaws the product may have. When bars are prone to melting or crumbling, this is an appealing option. Metallic wrappers will always show the product in the best possible light.

Branding

The image that you are trying to project can also determine the type of wrapper that will best suit your food bars. Since clear wrappers are intended to showcase the physical product, the amount of space devoted to logos or other branding efforts can be limited.

Shelf Life

Depending on the ingredients you use, your wrapper selection can extend or lessen the shelf life of your product. Due to the fact that clear wrappers provide food with more physical exposure than metallic wrappers do, natural elements like sunlight and oxygen can cause the bars to spoil in less time.

Preparing to Print Your Wrappers

Planning Your Desgin

In order to plan your wrapper designs, you must first understand the printing layout of the wrappers. The accompanying diagram will help you understand how your wrappers will lay on the printer and allow you to outline your design accordingly.
Fin Seal:
The fin seal the seal formed in the middle of the wrapper on the back.
End Seals:
The end seals are the seals that make form the ends (top and bottom) of the wrapper.
Web Width:
The web width is obtained by measuring from the edges of an open wrapper that make up the fin seal with the wrapper is sealed.
Cut off or Repeat:
This is obtained by measuring from end seal to end seal.
Once your wrapper is laid out, your next decision will be to decide which printing method fits your manufacturing needs. There are two methods of printing available to manufacturers; digital printing and Flexo printing. While each option will work with either type of wrapper, they both offer several benefits and disadvantages to for you to consider.

Digital Printing

Digital printing is done by running the wrappers through a laser colored printer. Having wrappers digitally printed can be appealing to manufacturers because of the relatively low minimums, with many companies only requiring 1000 impressions. Additionally, there is no set-up fee charged for digital printing primarily because no plates are used. However, this method of printing is mainly done for marketing tests or presentation purposes due to its high cost per unit. Digitally printed wrappers cost 50 cents on average, making it unreasonably priced for most manufacturers.

Flexo Printing

Flexographic printing involves the use of flexible printing plates made of rubber or plastic and is accomplished using a large printing press, as is done with newspaper printing. Each plate contains one color. Flexo printing can be off putting to some because it requires a manufacturer to invest more money initially. While the cost per unit only falls around 7 to 10 cents, much higher minimums have to be met, typically beginning at 25,000. The plates must also be acquired in order to print and they can range anywhere between $300 and $500 each. Even though the plate fees are only charged once, parting with that much money at this stage may be out of the question for some manufacturers.

Domestic vs International Printing

Although international printing tends to be 40% to 50% lower than domestic costs on average, as you get into higher volume printing the price starts to narrow. You may also want to make note of the type of quality, customer service, and production time that each company provides.

Environmental Considerations

Because wrappers are laminated together with two types of plastic, they are not recyclable. At this time, there are no recyclable wrappers available. While it is possible to utilize biodegradable or compostable wrappers, these can have a negative impact on the shelf life of your products. Additionally, this type of packaging often does not have the physical appeal most manufacturers want.

Summary

The types of wrappers and printing selections you make should ultimately be based on your individual manufacturing needs. Prior to deciding on certain options, thoroughly consider the following:
  • The current size of your company?
  • How stable is your product?
  • What is your storage capacity?
  • Which printing options are financially reasonable at this time?
  • Have you market tested your products?
  • What do you anticipate your needs to be in the next 6 months?
Successfully answering these questions will give you a guide to follow when making the packaging selection that is right for your company.