Glenn Savage, origination manager, and managing director Andrew Foster
A company specialising in producing and printing flexible packaging materials for the food and drink industry is on the verge of signing some big name clients thanks to support from the Food and Drink iNet
Primopost, based in Buxton in Derbyshire, has received an award from the Food and Drink iNet so it can improve the print quality produced from its flexographic machinery. Primopost’s customer-base of blue chip end-users, such as United Biscuits and Northern Foods, have been impressed with the improvements in quality Primopost has made which has been rewarded by additional contracts and interest.
The iNet provided innovation advice and guidance worth £10,000. Primopost will now match this with its own funding. It is the second iNet award for Primopost, which earlier this year was given £5,000 worth of support in connection with the same project.
Andrew Foster, managing director of the company which employs 92 people, said the support was essential to enable the improvements to be made. “Without the award from the Food and Drink iNet this project would have been extremely difficult to get off the ground. We really appreciate the support we have been given from everyone.”
Primopost, set up in 1987, specialises in producing flexible packaging material for the food and drink industry. It offers flexographic print, lamination and surface coatings on all materials coming into contact with food.
Using flexography is more cost-effective for a client than the more expensive method of printing using gravure, but historically the print is of a lesser quality. The project now being undertaken by Primopost, with iNet support, will improve the quality of flexography printing, by bringing it closer to gravure standards but without losing the low-cost benefits.
“By improving the print quality of our printing machines we can compete with those using the gravure process but our lower cost means we are more attractive to customers,” said Andrew. “Our process will be particularly attractive to a client wanting smaller volumes produced.”
Andrew estimated that the improved printing process would enable Primopost to increase its turnover by around 20%.
Andrew Butterwick, Food and Drink iNet director, said: “We were very impressed by Primopost’s project. This innovation will enable them to compete with bigger players and at the same time still offer a cost-effective printing solution for the food and drink sector.”
The iNet helps food and drink firms engage expertise from academia, research institutions and specialist business advice for innovation projects to develop new ideas, new products, new processes and to help companies grow.  50% of the equivalent cash value of the support must be contributed by the company.
Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Food and Drink iNet co-ordinates innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands. One of four regional iNets, it has developed an effective network to link academic and private sector expertise and knowledge with local food and drink business innovation needs.
The Food and Drink iNet also aims to build on the tradition of innovation in the food and drink industry in the region by helping to create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, and to help research, develop and implement new products, markets, services and processes. It is managed by a consortium, led by the Food & Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region.
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