Limited-Edition Pouch for Tour de France Features 10,000 Unique Designs

Digital printing has emerged as the primary tool for creating personalized packaging for limited editions, helping Consumer Packaged Goods companies better engage and connect with consumers and generate excitement around their brands.

Fpa Skratch Labs

The other 2020 Flexible Packaging Achievement Award Winners are Innventure's AeroFlexx (Highest achievement)   |    UFlex Ltd.’s 4D Bag with Handle    |    UFlex Ltd.’s FlexiTube     |     Amcor Healthcare’s Insura Seal Verification     |     Printpack’s Paqui Tortilla Chip Pouch     |      Amcor Flexibles’ Predilecta Sacciali Jar Shaped Pouch     |    Glenroy’s Premade Standcap Inverted Pouches      |       Plastic Packaging Technologies’s Hill’s Recyclable Pet Treat Bag      |    Printpack’s Stacy’s Women’s History Month Package      |     Paxxus’ StreamOne  |  Silver Winners

This was what all-digital flexible package printing company ePac Flexible Packaging was able to accomplish for customer Skratch Labs, a Boulder, Colo.-based maker of sports nutrition products, when it produced 10,000 unique pouch designs featuring a metallic, color-shifting design for the company. The FPA Gold Achievement Award-winning package was created to celebrate the participation of Skratch Labs’ cycling team partner, EF Education First Pro Cycling, in the 2019 Tour de France and was met with great enthusiasm by the team’s followers, as well as by general cycling fans and collectors. (Packaging World first covered the package in July 2019. See pwgo.to/5461.)

Says Skratch Labs VP of Marketing Elliot Freeman, “Skratch Labs’ mission is to help athletes perform better, and we work with some of the best endurance athletes in the world. One of the teams we work most closely with is EF Education First Pro Cycling, a top Pro Tour team. When ePac came to us with the opportunity to explore a short-run limited-edition packaging design, we jumped at the chance to celebrate EF Pro Cycling and depict their latest jersey design.

“We chose our top-selling product, Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Mix Lemon & Lime, and made 10,000 limited-edition pouches to sell during the Tour de France. It was just a fun thing we could do to support the team and get cycling fans amped up for the biggest stage race of the year.”

The graphic design for the stand-up pouch was inspired by the team’s bright pink, purple, and blue jerseys. “We love the vibrancy of EF Pro Cycling’s ‘pink argyle’ jersey design,” says Freeman. “It stands out in the peloton, it’s recognized around the world, and we knew it would jump off the shelf as a limited-edition packaging design. Plus, the design really lent itself to be adaptive, as the colors blend into each other in a pattern that the team refers to as an ‘oil slick.’”

The master design for the pouch was done by Skratch Labs Creative Lead Emma Ziobrzynski, based on artwork for EF Pro Cycling’s jersey and logo, which was provided by the team. Skratch Labs then gave ePac a “seed” file from which the 10,000 design expressions were created using HP SmartSteam Mosaic software from HP Indigo. Mosaic is an algorithm that automatically generates a high number of unique graphic patterns from the seed design by randomly transforming the master artwork file, rotating, transposing, and interchanging colors, and amplifying the design anywhere.

"HP SmartStream Mosaic is an extremely powerful tool,” said Carl Joachim, CMO of ePac Flexible Packaging in the July 2019 PW article. “This project [the first of its kind for ePac] is a fantastic demonstration of how sporting team sponsors can use their logos and designs to develop unique items for fans to get into the team spirit and save as collectors’ items.”

Pouch rollstock was printed on an HP Indigo 20000 digital press in five colors—CMYK + W (cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and white)—with HP’s ElectroInk liquid printing ink. In addition to sporting 10,000 different designs, the pouch graphics incorporated a metallic effect achieved through the prepress process and a unique printing technique. The film was constructed of a solventless lamination of 0.60-mil soft-touch matte PET/0.48-mil metallized PET/4.50-mil metallocene linear low-density polyethylene coex and was supplied to Skratch in a premade pouch format, designed to hold 15.5 oz of the powdered drink mix.

The Limited Edition EF Pro Cycling Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Mix was sold on the company’s website, skratchlabs.com, as well as through the company’s retail partners, and was supplied to EF Pro Cycling team members at the Tour de France. “The EF Pro Cycling team consumes a huge volume of Skratch Labs product throughout the tour, and we made sure they had some of the limited-edition pouches with them,” says Freeman. “It was pretty fun to see the riders taking selfies with our packaging.

“We’ll be offering the Limited Edition EF Pro Cycling Sport Hydration Drink Mix again this summer, and we’re just excited by the joy it’s been generating for our consumers.”

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