Tighter ink controls to drive FMCG sustainability

Creation Reprographics has weighed in on how FMCG brands and their printers are embracing fixed colour palette printing (FCP) to create more sustainable supply chains, and why it’s such an important signpost for the future of packaging printing.

The business believes that FMCG brand owners, under heightened legislative pressures and evolving sustainability legislation, are setting the groundwork for more meaningful industry change by reducing the need for spot colour inks. The result, Creation says, is a fundamentally more robust and sustainable print sector.

Matt Francklow, Managing Director, Creation Reprographics, explains, “FMCG brand owners are under pressure to deliver more sustainable supply chains and their printers are really stepping up to the plate. It can prove to be a real balancing act, but we are seeing a marked shift towards fixed colour palette, or extended gamut printing. We are expecting to see this technique shift into high gear in 2022 and with sustained momentum, we may see a reduction in spot colour ink demand emerge.

“Extended gamut printing can replicate around 90% of Pantone colours using a fixed palette of up to seven colours. Many businesses today rely on spot colour inks that could be made on-press with standard CMYK/OVG inks. Reducing the reliance on spot colours means less bespoke ink is manufactured, also reducing pressure on storage and handling – so it also simplifies press operations. Without the need for spot inks, printers are ultimately reducing the environmental burden of flexo while seizing greater control of colour consistency. This is one of the reasons we are seeing flexographic print continuing its rapid rise throughout the FMCG sector, eclipsing rotogravure as printers’ technology of choice.”

The business has recently joined thousands of businesses across the UK in signing the SME Climate Commitment, pledging to halve its carbon emissions by 2030 and make the Net Zero targets of 2050 easier to achieve.

Francklow added, “In the realm of FMCG, we are talking enormous volumes of packaging. If we could eliminate spot colours altogether, that’s a potentially astronomical sustainability edge for the FMCG sector and its packaging partners. As a dedicated pre-press company, at Creation we have worked with printers on reducing their ink inventory while maintaining exceptional quality. We still tend to think that sustainability means compromising in other areas, such as speed or quality – but that’s not the case. When today’s fixed colour palette technologies are so advanced and so readily available, it makes a lot of sense from environmental, cost and logistical perspectives. 2022 could be the year we dramatically reduce the FMCG sector’s reliance on spot colours and truly underline the value of greener print.”

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