ABOUT BELLA AND DUKE
Bella and Duke was founded in 2017 by Tony Ottley and Mark Scott. Both Tony and Scott had lost their dogs to cancer and were convinced that the processed foods their dogs had eaten their entire lives could have potentially caused the disease. After carrying out extensive research on raw and natural dog food and finding there was a gap in the market, they decided to take action and create their own.
Their foods have been developed with animal nutritionists and vets to ensure the utmost quality and all ingredients are sourced from local suppliers. During the last four years, business operations have gone from strength to strength, and Bella and Duke now deliver frozen raw dog and cat food all over the UK and are the UK’s largest D2C pet wellness brand.
Tony and Mark were not happy with their current packaging which comprised a self-adhesive top label and ‘ice cream’ style tub. Both of these packaging elements needed addressing.
Self-Adhesive Top Label
The self-adhesive top label would only allow for print on the face of the label. Tony and Mark wanted the option for an increased surface print area but with the underside of the label stuck to the pack, space was limited.
‘Ice Cream’ Food Tub
Bella and Duke’s recipes were prepared and packaged by a third party. The packer packed the raw food into ‘ice cream’ style tubs with a lid. This form of packaging was very dense in plastic and the lack of overall control meant that the process was clocking up food miles, time, and cost. And subsequently, the company’s carbon footprint.
Switching from Self-Adhesive to Linerless
Bella and Duke switched from a self-adhesive top label to a c-wrap linerless label.
Linerless labels feature double the surface print area with both the face and underside free for print. Bella & Duke’s linerless labels are currently utilising the face of the label for print but there are plans to make use of the reverse. This will be used for adding additional product information, including nutritional facts, healthcare advice, marketing mechanics and promotions.
Linerless labels do not feature label liner which means the need to landfill, incinerate or recycle the backing paper is completely eradicated.
Bella and Duke’s labels are printed by a Ravenwood approved linerless printer:
The Printing Company: Reflex
Tony states that Reflex has been extremely accommodating, providing support and advice both on label design and ensuring the seamless transition from the previous method of label application to the Nobac 5000.
Nobac 5000 Linerless Applicator with ‘Plug & Play’ Second Head
Bella and Duke purchased a single head Ravenwood Nobac 5000 label applicator for applying its c-wrap linerless labels. The ‘Plug and Play’ element is a 2nd head unit added to the original head which when combined, transforms the applicator into a twin head machine.
The Nobac 5000 ‘Plug and Play’ twin head unit has been developed to meet the needs of those customers whose labelling requirements have increased and a single head Nobac 5000 doesn’t meet production requirements. The twin head extension unit can resolve this problem by alleviating the need to purchase an additional full Nobac 5000T Twin Head machine.
Planning investments based on production requirements reduces the risk of buying machinery that could potentially be underused. The Nobac 5000 ‘Plug and Play’ extension has enabled Bella and Duke to increase production and benefit from zero downtime.
Both the Nobac 5000 ‘Plug and Play’ with a second head unit and the full Nobac 5000T Twin Head meets the demands of retailers and packers for higher speeds, less downtime and quicker product changes.
Both machines benefit from:
- Continuous operation with two labelling heads in line.
- The ability to swap between heads to allow label reels or thermal printer ribbon to be changed on the unused head.
- Allowing preparation in readiness for labelling the next product.
- The option of continuous application of promotional labels, which can be achieved using a Trojan Flash labeller.
The Nobac 5000 is capable of applying linerless labels at a rate of 150 ppm and is the only fully automated sleever approved for applying Ravenwood’s linerless labels.
New Thermoform Tray
Tony and Mark decided to take full control of the food preparation and packaging process and in doing so opted for a thermoform tray sealed with MAP to replace the ‘ice cream’ style tubs. The decision to switch was largely made from an environmental perspective. The pre-formed ‘ice cream’ style tub weighed 21g whereas the thermoformed tray weighs 13g resulting in a significant saving on plastic packaging.
Bella and Duke has enjoyed a multitude of benefits by switching to linerless and changing the tray format.
Changing the tray format alone, has resulted in a 38% reduction in plastic packaging. The raw pet food supplier has also witnessed a massive 98% reduction in their packaging shipping costs, which has also reduced their carbon footprint.
The retailer is also reaping the rewards by taking full control of the food preparation and packaging process which as a result has eliminated the food miles associated with the transportation to and from the packer.
The c-wrap linerless label compared to the previous self-adhesive top label has improved the aesthetics of the packaging and increased the available print space. Bella and Duke’s products are of a premium standard and the packaging now reflects this.
With supply and demand constantly increasing, there was a need to drive more uptime and increase throughput. Opting for linerless along with the purchase of a Nobac 5000 linerless applicator has streamlined production and as a result, the weekly labelling capacity has increased by over 80%. Labelling speeds now run at 120 packs per minute.
Bella and Duke’s online store is now fully optimised for meeting the needs of its customers.
For further information on this case study, contact Natalie Bell, Marketing & Events Manager at Ravenwood Packaging +44(0)1284 749144.