Note: This thread was moved from a reply to this thread to its own thread. -ben
Ben. Piggy-backing on graced's question about packaging. I've found it difficult to find information about this specific to chocolate world (I guess chocolate makers are quite rightfully more interested in talking about the chocolate itself ).
I've seen the kraft flat heat-sealable pouch that you use. I am curious though how you get your design on them. Do you just throw them in a laser printer? Or do you have special equipment? Or do you send the pouches to a print shop that specializes in this?
For those using boxes (eg. over a foiled or flow wrapped bar), do people usually have special equipment to make them or have them custom-made by a print shop? I can't imagine people are using card stock and laser printing, scoring and cutting by hand for any sort of volume.
And then basically the same question regarding stick-on labels (eg. to put over a flow wrap or a standard bar box).
Are there go-to shops that often make/print/ship boxes or packages for the bean to bar world?
- Heat sealed package with sticker labels - Foil wrapped then outer package - Kraft foil heat sealed - Labels or wrappers can be printed with laser printer - Labels, boxes, and wrappers can be done by a print shop - etc, etc
There are lots of possibilities.
I started out by designing my own labels (Adobe photoshop and illustrator) and printed them using good quality paper on a laser printer and then cut them to size. It takes time, but the cost was low. I now have a custom die cut outer box created by a print company. Cost more, but I don't spend time printing and cutting a wrapper to size. A good print shop can most likely do anything you want. You can buy inner wrappers at www.alufoil.com/chocolate-bar-wrap-foil.html for a low cost. Heat seal plastic bags are probably even less money.
I am a small producer and chocolate is not my livelihood. Efficiency is not always my top priority.
Most suppliers of these pouches will print them for you at additional cost. I'm sure a local printer could print them for you, too. A laser printer won't work as they're heat-sealable and a laser printer has a heating element to fuse the toner to the printed surface, which just heat-seals the whole thing. Personally, I print mine on a 122 year old letterpress printing press.
Boxes are generally made by a company who specializes in this. I used to make my own using a craft cylindrical die cutter, but it was very time consuming and an annoying process. I believe there's one maker out there who saw how I did it and is still doing it that way.
Labels are easier to produce in-house if desired. There are some relatively reasonably priced label printers that can do a good job. That being said, I'd imagine most makers have someone else print their labels.
I don't know of any 'go-to' shops for this sort of thing. I think most makers just use a local print shop to produce their packaging.