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Meet the member: Complete Co-packing

 

Complete Co-packing Ltd is a contract packing company specialising in own-label pack and fill. They are situated in South Wales, just north of Cardiff.

We recently caught up with Rachel Sugarman, Business Development Manager to find out more about what made them diversify into the organic sector, demand for plastic free packaging and their £2 million investment in a new food-safe contract packaging facility.

The company, Complete Co-packing Services Ltd started life as contract packing company Complete Core Business Solutions, specialising in non-tobacco products for the tobacco industry. 

Although having a blue-chip FTSE 100 company as a client they realised they needed to develop their customer base and explored a diverse range of business growth opportunities.  

They started evolving, taking in a range of co-packing contracts from specialist salt crystal grinders, shrink-wrapping sticker packs, premium confectionery brands and even the assembly of survival kits for submariners.

They also identified the emerging organic and superfoods market as a great opportunity for business growth. 

In 2011, with a relocation to a 34,000 sqft premises, they invested in a bespoke cleanroom facility and achieved the Soil Association accreditation, allowing them to pack and fill certified organic products while maintaining the integrity of their organic status.

In 2015, with the growth in the organic foods sector, they realised the potential conflict in message of organic, superfood versus tobacco and de-merged the business to form Complete Co-packing Services Limited.

Since then the business has grown exponentially as demand from the organic sector continued.

Expansion

With ambitious growth plans, the management team took the strategic decision to invest in the future and undertook the full refit of a 53,000 sq ft unit, at an estimated cost of £2 million pounds, to deliver a facility designed to meet BRC* requirements.

The new building includes a purpose-built hygienic food packing area, a 30,000 sqft warehouse space with a further 16,000 sqft warehouse extension which is Soil Association certified for the storage of organic products, raw materials and finished goods, providing over 3,500 pallet storage positions. Complete Co-packing Ltd also offers storage and distribution from their facility for their customers.

As well as being ISO9001, ISO14001 quality and environmentally certified they hold SALSA, Soil Association and Kosher accreditations and have an HMRC-license to handle alcohol with duty-in-suspension. 

They can offer pre-made pack filling, covering many formats including pouches, sachets, bottles, jars, composite cans together with VFFS and HFFS and in-pack pasteurisation also available. 

Plastic free packaging 

With plastic high on the ethical consumer’s agenda, Rachel has found that many of their customers in the organic sector have already been opting for non-plastic packaging.

She commented that consumers’ expectations for sustainable packaging are fuelling demand for alternative materials which is great as it drives innovation in the sector.

Rachel also said that the company fills and distributes for many leading organic brands and that trends are definitely changing: “Consumers know the role that packaging can play in reducing food waste, the pressure is on manufacturers and brand owners to help consumers limit waste and protect the planet.”

“Packaging technology must focus on maintaining and extending product shelf-life. We are definitely seeing an increase in the use of glass, paper and board as opposed to plastic. The filling of liquids into glass now accounts for a significant proportion of our business. From Aloe-vera juice, to vinegars, condiments and fruit-based products, glass is an increasingly popular form of packaging.”

“Recycled and recyclable materials are becoming more popular as rising public awareness of recycling and changing laws mean that it is unthinkable to be producing items that can’t be recycled, without good reason.”

“Consumers are demanding more sustainable packaging with biodegradable plastics and plastic alternatives like home compostable packaging. Innovative packaging that ensures safe delivery, extends food freshness and protects the product at a price that can be justified is what we are striving to achieve when working in partnership with our customers.”

“Our clients are more and more aware of the need to reduce single use plastics and also the need to look at recyclable or multi-use packaging materials. For some the move to glass achieves this aim without compromise to the shelf-life”  

For many in the sector it’s appreciated that organic carries a premium, by the nature of it’s production and processing to meet the high demands of the ethical consumer. Here the higher costs of sustainable packaging is less of a barrier for customers and the consumer because they place environmental consideration high on their agenda.

Plastics have been used for decades to preserve foods, so finding alternative compostable solutions through innovation is key and the flexibles companies that Complete Co-packing partner with are working hard to develop such solutions. 

New innovation

Rachel observes that businesses have a more joined-up approach in trying to achieve something different. For instance, a considerable number of natural plant elements can be used for packaging. Complete Co-packing are keeping up-to-date with product developments like these to ensure they are at the forefront of new materials that they can offer to their clients.

One initiative the company offers to their clients is new product development. With a number of them considering moving to recyclable packaging, working with their film suppliers, Complete Co-packing can provide a facility where they trial run biodegradable or compostable film to see if it’s a viable alternative for their client’s product/business. With the added value of shelf-life testing the decision to change can be fully explored, saving considerable cost for smaller businesses which could otherwise be a barrier.

If you want to find out more about the services that Complete Co-packing can provide then give them a call on 01443 740 786.

*BRC is British Retail Consortium certification for packaging and storage, see here.

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Annie Seeley