The variety of packaging available on retail shelves today is very different to that of ten years ago. Packaging now incorporates an enormous variety of flavors, pack sizes, regional, seasonal and promotional packages. This has seen average order sizes reduce dramatically in recent years. Here, the challenge lies with converters and brand owners alike. Converters still need to make profits on shorter runs and brand owners need to make regular design changes but want to avoid the expensive set-up costs associated with flexo and rotogravure.
Offset technology addresses these issues head on, excelling in runs that are too short to be profitable on flexo or gravure presses, but too long to be economically viable on digital. Offset printing plates cost a fraction of flexo photopolymer plates and gravure cylinders and can also be produced in a much shorter timeframe. They are machine ready just minutes after a new image file is received, compared to hours, days or even weeks with other processes. Consequently, inventory costs for storing gravure cylinders or photopolymer plates can be slashed and lead times accelerated. Brand owners can respond quickly to competitor marketing campaigns or sports and social events.