Digital print drives E-com subscription service

Digital printing of corrugated is among the most dynamic segments of the whole digital print for packaging scene, and one of the more intriguing innovations in this space has just been introduced in the e-commerce produce business.


Called Snap2PackTM, it’s a corrugated mailer developed by CompanyBox that features a tamper-evident seal and a built-in tear strip for ease of opening in the hands of the consumer.

First to market in this innovative format is Great Lakes Growers, a Middlefield, OH-based hydroponic produce provider that is using Snap2Pack to deliver fresh leafy greens to customers through an e-commerce subscription service. CompanyBox prints the corrugated mailer on an HP PageWide C500 digital press from HP Indigo.The patent-pending, fold-over design by CompanyBox creates a corrugated shipper with double-sided graphics. The result is digitally printed delivery shippers offering vibrant color graphics to the customer upon receiving the package and again when opening it, with the inside flap providing an additional marketing vehicle to engage the consumer.

CompanyBox was an early adopter of the HP PageWide C500 Press, which has served as the cornerstone of its expanding digital footprint in high-volume corrugated packaging. The C500 operates at the company’s all-digital packaging plant in Charlotte, North Carolina. CompanyBox invested in the HP PageWide C500 to tap into demand for high-quality single-pass digital print, especially with fast-moving consumer goods and food packaging.

The corrugated shipper for the Great Lakes Growers application is a 33 ECT E-flute. The C500 accepts board size to 51.9 x 98.4 in., so CompanyBox prints these shippers two-up. “This is the highest-resolution printer available,” says Louis DeJesus, CompanyBox President. “So it’s a true offset litho replacement. On no other comparable system can you print 4-pt text. And the C500 uses100% water-based inks, so it’s suitable for foods.”

The Snap2Pack format appeals to Great Lakes Growers because it combines high-quality color graphics, low minimum order quantities, and the freedom to change designs frequently with different versions. The shipper arrives flat and in a matter of seconds at the filling line, a worker pops the box into full dimensions. Then three or four heads of bagged lettuce are inserted and the worker activates a double-sided tape to secure the top flap against the front of the shipper to securely close the package.After application of a shipping label, the container is shipped directly to the customer by UPS.

“We ship our living lettuce and fresh cut herbs the same day we harvest to ensure delivery of the freshest produce possible,” says Great Lakes owner John Bonner. “It’s like having a garden in your refrigerator.”

According to DeJesus, the Snap2Pack shippers are available in orders as low as 500. He adds that conventional die cutting is used on them. As for the 3M ( double-sided tape used by workers to close the shipper, CompanyBox applies it after printing.

Looking to the future, HP’s SmartStream Designer Suite software should be in place and operational at CompanyBox by Q1 of next year. So users of the Snap2Pack format will then be able to personalize each pack with variable data that includes the name of the customer who is receiving the package.

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