The trend toward custom labels and packaging has taken the food and beverage industry by storm over the last few years, as competition for in-store space has reached a fever pitch. The movement has everyone from global soft-drink makers to locally-owned craft brew houses embracing new printing technology to create dynamic custom packaging to help set their products apart on retail shelves. But the trend isn’t stopping there. For Richmond, B.C.-based Ideon Packaging, the movement toward customization in packaging is on the way to Point-of-Purchase (POP) displays, with digital printing acting as the driving force. The company, which has been in the packaging industry for more than 15 years, recently installed an HP Scitex 15500 Corrugated Press and has embraced the transition to digital in large-format printing. The new press upgrades a previous HP large-format printer Ideon has used since 2012. Several months ago, the company expanded into an additional 20,000-square-foot facility dedicated entirely to meeting the demand for digitally printed corrugated boxes and POP displays. The move to HP’s new large-format digital printing press played a key role in helping Ideon grow and create impactful POP displays. Ideon’s leap of faith into the digital printing world has opened up new areas of opportunity.
“We’re seeing a major trend toward digitally printed displays in the point-of-purchase area,” said Rick Van Poele, President and CEO at Ideon. “With digital, we’re able to design and deliver a highly customized mock-up POP display before we even meet with the customer. So it’s completely ready for them to see when they come in. Sometimes we’re even able to send them a sample display as a surprise.” With this almost instant design-to-display process comes new opportunities for Ideon. The name of the game now, according to Van Poele, is customization and differentiation. “Retail brands, particularly in the food and beverage industry, are looking to surprise, delight and engage their customers with POP design and incredible full-colour graphics.” Van Poele said many of Ideon’s biggest customers, that include both large and small beer and wine labels throughout Canada and the Northwest U.S., are constantly looking for creative and unique ways to personalize their displays and reach targeted demographics. In many cases, the more personalized and unique the package and POP display, the more likely the consumer is to pay more for the product.
“Most brands have realized that package design needs to be dynamic to entice consumers, but many are now realizing that the concept has to extend to a memorable and unique POP display in order to engage with consumers on a personal and emotional level,” Van Poele said – adding that millennial consumers in particular gravitate toward unique displays. Since moving to digital printing less than five years ago, Ideon has doubled its business and now employs about 100 staff to continue to meet growing demand. The new investment in HP Scitex technology, he said, is helping its customers transition into short-run digital printing, whether that’s 50 or 500 displays. “A lot of the business we’re picking up today are customers who weren’t buying displays at all,” he said. “Ideon created a market and got people excited because of the digital side of the business” He added that Ideon’s graphic and structural designers constantly look for different ways to reinvent POP displays, including experimenting with moving parts and flashing lights. “Ultimately, retailers need to explore new ways to get their products to stand out,” he said.