By Olivia Cahoon
Interactive print technologies like quick response (QR) codes and personalized URLs offer a unique experience. Today’s manufacturers increasingly embed print applications with interactive methods to offer consumers innovative experiences that are both convenient and useful. At the same time, consumers demand more personalized interactions, especially in packaging.
From Farm to Table
In November 1926, the municipality of Vignola, Italy established the Fruit and Vegetable Market to better regulate and facilitate trade flows due to the area’s growing agricultural production. From there, the Vignola Cherry Consortium was born to promote, protect, enhance, and extend the production of the Vignola cherry trade.
Cherries from Italy’s Vignola region are known for their high quality. They are grown by various farmers and marketed by the Vignola Cherry Consortium. The association provides several types of cherries and delivers them throughout Italy—handling both production and distribution.
Displaying the Vignola brand on the cherry boxes was once sufficient enough for consumers to understand they received fresh fruit perfect for eating, baking into pies, or preserving. But today’s consumers demand more information about where their food comes from. As local stores carry an increasing variety of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the world, Vignola decided to explore different methods to help shoppers understand their brand and the quality of their cherries.
Roberto Redorici, cherry farmer, Vignola Cherry Consortium, explains, “consumers struggle to understand where the products they consume come from.”
To provide consumers visibility into the cherry journey, the Vignola Cherry Consortium decided it needed an agile solution to integrate information from many sources and presents it in a consistent method, all within a tight deadline.
“We have around 700 producers, all small businesses that produce cherries of the highest quality,” says Valter Monari, director, Vignola Cherry Consortium. “The product is harvested in the morning, packaged during the day, and within 24 hours, it can be on the consumer’s table.”
Digital Packaging & Personalization
The Vignola Cherry Consortium is a long-time customer of Ghelfi Ondulati—a leading Italian corrugated converter that specializes in digital innovation. The corrugated converter approached the cherry consortium with an idea to combine digitally printed food cartons with a mobile application (app) that allows food producers to communicate directly with consumers.
This solution would also help Ghelfi Ondulati test its HP Inc. digital packaging solutions and mobile app concept. For Vignola, the timing was perfect. The consortium partnered with the corrugated converter to integrate an interactive element into its cherry boxes.
The Vignola boxes are digitally printed with a HP PageWide T1100S press. It is a high-speed color inkjet web press for corrugated packaging and uses HP’s true water-based inks that comply with food safety regulations for primary and secondary packaging. This makes it an ideal solution for Vignola’s boxes and other corrugated packaging for food and beverages.
The HP PageWide T1100S press prints up to 51,206 square meters per hour and features an 110-inch maximum web width.
For Vignola’s marketing and production, a unique QR code is printed on each cherry box. Each QR code links to a dedicated web page with a mobile-optimized form. The personalized boxes are sent to the Vignola Cherry Consortium farmers.
As each box is filed with freshly harvested cherries, the producers scan the QR code using the smartphone app developed by Ghelfi Ondulati. The scan actives the web page and the producer quickly inserts the information regarding the cherries’ origin, the type of cherry, and the producers’ name, location, contact details, and harvest date.
“The HP PageWide T1100S press allowed us to print a unique code on every single box for the Vignola Cherry Consortium. This means that every box can tell the consumer about itself and its contents,” offers Matteo Pilotto, digital innovation manager, Ghelfi Ondulati.
After the cherry boxes ship to the store, they are ready to communicate with consumers. Using any QR scanner app on a mobile device, shoppers may scan the code printed on the box, which opens a web page. From there, shoppers can immediately view information regarding each cherry box. Consumers may also message individual farmers who grew the cherries via Facebook or the WhatsApp messaging app.
Simone Amidei, cherry farmer, Vignola Cherry Consortium, adds, “this project by HP, Ghelfi Ondulati, and the Vignola Cherry Consortium is very important for traceability.”
During the initial testing phase of the app, Vignola relied on grocery stores to educate consumers about scanning the QR code to obtain the cherry information and contact farmers. Moving forward, Vignola and Ghelfi Ondulati plan to explore methods to better communicate this capability to shoppers.
Vignola Cherry Consortium started its cherry traceability efforts as an experiment that incorporated new, digital methods for food producers to communicate and engage with consumers. Today, this project proves to Vignola that its packaging can do more than hold and protect cherries.
“We are in a global market where there are products that are not traceable,” comments Monari. “Those who want to consume a fresh, high-quality product must know what they are buying.”
Advanced Cherry Production
Italy’s Vignola Cherry Consortium partnered with Ghelfi Ondulati to create a direct line of communication with Vignola customers. By combining digitally printed corrugated packaging with a mobile app, Vignola enables consumers to trace their products back to the farm and communicate with farmers directly.
Aug2020, Industrial Print Magazine