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"WeListen" Blog

How Digital Printing Has Revolutionized the CPG Packaging Industry

Ink cartridges.

It’s fair to say that digital printing has revolutionized CPG packaging. An entire industry benefited from the time and cost savings associated with digital printing. Here’s how these tools have changed CPG packaging for the better.

Digital Printing is Hot for CPG Packaging

Globally, the digital printing industry is growing at a CAGR of 11% annually. According to Packaging Strategies magazine, by 2024, the industry will hit revenues of more than $28 billion. Digital printing is changing how manufacturers handle the CPG packaging design process. These tools can provide on-demand color labels with no need to change plates. Digital inkjet and toner digital presses can print right on corrugated boxes. The time and cost savings are phenomenal. 

Sophisticated software can now integrate workflows between printers in the pressroom. They can meld analog and digital technologies in new ways to improve the cost and benefits of CPG packaging. Much of this software also includes analytics to measure the printing runs. 

However, digital tools for CPG packaging, like all other forms of digital technologies, are constantly improving. These improvements put the old offset and flexo processes to shame. But not all CPG packaging can be run through the digital printing process. Sometimes scalability is an issue. Short, personalized runs are still ideal for the digital process, although that is rapidly changing as these tools move toward maturity. 

With that said, improvements in digital printing processes are adapting to the use of more types of packaging media, from metalized to heat-sensitive, transparent, and more. These tools are now adapting to printing on compostable and recyclable packaging. Digital printers can print labels that will not contaminate the recycled materials like polyethylene terephthalate (PET). 

Digital Printing is Driving Innovation in CPG Packaging

But digital printing processes are also fueling innovation. Because the printing of a prototype can actually occur as part of a digital printing one-off, packaging designers can see their ideas in real-time, make changes, and make a limited print run of one or two to tweak their idea. 

This is exciting; designers can print on the packaging material and give it to the customer not as a proof but as an actual piece. Then, the flexibility of the digital process lets brand managers tweak the print run by making minute changes to their designs in real-time. This alone is revolutionary, allowing new leeway in traditional printing processes for designers to respond faster to changes in consumer appetites. 

Digital printer.

Today, digital printing is evolving into a go-to for most CPG packaging designs. The fact that there is no die-cutting and full color can be applied to packaging materials and the speed and ease with which these tools are used is changing how we view printing on CPG products. While the label sector has been an early adopter of these tools, watch for digital printing to spread as the go-to resource for CPG packaging designs in the future.

PKG Brand Design is always on the forefront of new CPG branding and packaging initiatives; please subscribe to our blog for the latest package design industry news!


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