• Jason Brown (2nd left) cuts the ribbon, with (l-r) Parag Patel from ePac USA, Craig Walmsley from HP, and local councillor Oscar Yildiz.
    Jason Brown (2nd left) cuts the ribbon, with (l-r) Parag Patel from ePac USA, Craig Walmsley from HP, and local councillor Oscar Yildiz.

Global digital flexible packaging phenomenon ePac has opened its new $10m Australian site, the latest in its growing list of facilities it has built around the world in the last six years.

The North Coburg site is the first print plant of any kind opened in Australia for several years. It is focused on serving entrepreneurs in specialising in small and medium run-length orders for flexible pouches. Its Australian customer base will focus on start-ups across the snack, confection, coffee, organic foods, pet food, and nutritional supplement space.

The business says ePac Australian provides “new cost-effective, time-efficient, tailored and sustainable offerings for support small and medium sized businesses looking to level-up their brand presence”.

The first ePac production facility is eight kilometres from the Melbourne CBD, at the new Newlands Road food manufacturing hub, located in the heart of Coburg’s thriving industrial district, is headed by Jason Brown, formerly group divisional general manager at Ball & Doggett.

Speaking at the launch event Brown said, “The ePac business will help small brands achieve big brand presence, it will contribute to the circular economy and it will give back to the community.

“My call out is to that community of entrepreneurs to use the facility here to tell your story. We also want to say that sustainability is at the heart of this plant, in the lack of waste, in the low carbon footprint, in the recyclability of what we produce, and even of the presses themselves, which are delivered to use carbon neutral and go on to be recycled at the end of their life.”

Brown highlighted the drive to use post-consumer recycled product, and said the company was looking at compostable options. He also said, “We have positioned ourselves as the team that gets things done.”

Craig Walmsley, HP country manager, also spoke, taking guests through the benefits of digital flexibles, which he said eliminated the need for long runs and long lead times. He said, “ePac has identified an opportunity to serve the market much better, and with the HP Indigo 25K presses will be able to do so.”

Mark Daws, labels and packaging director at local HP Indigo supplier Currie Group, took groups of guests through the workings of the twin HP Indigos in the print room, which was clearly big enough for at least one more 25K to go into. Since the factory began production less than six months ago, it has already added a second pouchmaking line.

Brown said, “Our key proposition is enabling local brands to take their product to market, through sustainable, locally manufactured packaging, available on demand.”

Along with local customers, suppliers and family of staff the event also welcomed ePac chief information officer Parag Patel over from the US. He said, “Each of our plants is similar to the others, but not identical. This is very much an Australian business and it will develop in an Australian way.”

The launch event got underway with a Welcome to Country by Uncle Ringo which included a smoking ceremony, and a story of the impact of colonisation on the local population.

Mark Daws (right) on one of the two HP Indigo digital presses with Craig Walmsley (left).
Mark Daws (right) on one of the two HP Indigo digital presses with Craig Walmsley (left).

Food & Drink Business

While quick service restaurants are not part of Food & Drink Business’ remit, we couldn’t resist this bit of good news. McDonald’s Australia and its long-term supply chain partner, Martin Brower Australia have launched its first electric delivery truck.

Global food and beverage solutions company, Tate & Lyle, has acquired nature-based ingredients company CP Kelco for US$1.8 billion on a cash-free, debt-free basis. Tate & Lyle said the deal will “significantly accelerate” its growth plans.   

While it’s common knowledge that a well-marbled steak makes for tastier eating, there’s no official international measure for what constitutes quality meat. MEQ CEO, Remo Carbone, puts the case for establishing a global standard to grade red meat.