UK-based food-focused flexographic and digital design operation Ultimate Packaging named fast moving consumer goods packaging printer of the year at PrintWeek Industry Awards

NORTH EAST LINCOLNSHIRE, England , November 20, 2013 () – A major investment in the latest print technology is paying off in the awards cabinet and accounts of a large Grimsby employer. Ultimate Packaging, the food-focused flexographic and digital design operation, has been named Fast Moving Consumer Goods Packaging Printer of the Year at the PrintWeek Industry Awards.

And it comes following a huge expansion of the business over the past 18 months, substantially increasing the footprint by purchasing the neighbouring building on Europarc to establish a new division in the digital and creative part of the business.

Staff numbers have also increased from 230 to 300.

Welcoming the judges' comments identifying the threat now posed by the cutting edge technology invested heavily in by Ultimate, over the traditional impression cylinder method, sales and marketing director Chris Tonge said: "A few brands still insist they can get the quality gravure, but we have always been flexographic, and more recently digital. Digital can go beyond, you can throw out the rule book and do what you want.

"We have had to develop a new market for this and have gone through a long process of accreditations as they could not be carried across the sites. We now have British Retail Consortium and ISO quality standards - we tick every box.

"Most of the growth is now coming in a brand new market for us, snacks and confectionery, and a lot of it is personalised. There is a lot of quite exciting stuff happening. " Sharp Iris, a design, 3D and photography studio, has been brought over from Hull, with Shere Print also established as the digital trading division. "We have taken them into a really exciting space that appeals to brand owners and marketeers. We have the Sharp Iris design team, a food stylist kitchen, it is a great use of what was a Government call centre," said Mr Tonge of the move.

Delighted with the award, he said: "It is not just for the packaging industry, it is for the whole of the print industry, and I think it is the first time we have entered, too.

"Lauren Whittaker, our marketing manager, put the entry together, over four ranges and a mixture of flexographic and new digital, which was quite exciting, and it is great that digital is starting to get some recognition."

Looking at the work, including Gardman's Wild Bird Seed and Patak's Paste range, judges said: "This level of print definition is the result of perfection throughout the supply chain, from substrate and ink selection to seasoned pros in repro. Watch out gravure."

They also singled out time spent on reproduction as "probably the factor that swung it for this entry - it was beautifully done".

Most of the growth is coming in a brand new market for us Chris Tonge

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