The history of Bofrost* Italy, based in San Vito al Tagliamento (PN), began in 1987 when Edoardo Roncadin tested the direct sale of frozen foods model used by Bofrost* Germany. Now, with over 30 years’ experience, the company has over 2,400 employees and a catalogue with more than 450 products that are stocked in about 50 stores. Well-recognised vans deliver to more than one million families across the country.
For almost ten years the company has relied on flexo pre-press service provider Fotolito Veneta for the plates used to print the packaging for its own branded products.
Michele Muner, Bofrost* Italia Packaging Manager explains how the relationship started: ‘The first time that Fotolito Veneta met with us, they showed me a piece of film printed by one of our printers with KODAK FLEXCEL NX Plates from Miraclon. I was really impressed by the quality, sharpness and cleanliness of the print – a result we have never been able to achieve with the same press or even with different technologies. We quickly decided to switch to using FLEXCEL NX Technology and our fruitful relationship with Fotolito Veneta was born.’
But why is it so important that Bofrost*’s packaging is clean? Muner explains that ‘as customers order from a catalogue, it is essential that when they receive the ordered products, the flawless and perfect ‘wow-effect’ they experience when opening it starts with the packaging that wraps it. The print results we can obtain with FLEXCEL NX plates are excellent – even with complex graphics – with print cleanliness, low dot gain and flawless registration.’
Fotolito Veneta, based in San Martino Buon Albergo, (VR) offers services across all pre-press phases; from design-to-print to the production of plates for flexo applications and print files for offset jobs. Muner points out that ‘we work closely with Fotolito Veneta on every project, so that they can optimise the FLEXCEL NX Plates they produce for us according to the specifications – including reproduction curves, color profiles and aniloxes – of the particular press that will be used for that job.’ Considering that 130 different flexo-printed applications were produced during 2020 and with 250 different applications (pouches and films) expected for 2021 to reflect the company’s focus on ongoing research and development of new products, Bofrost* and Fotolito Veneta’s close working relationship proves to be an important one.
Muner elaborates on what convinced them to choose Fotolito Veneta as their flexo pre-press partner: ‘It is important to us that our service providers have, what I like to call, the “ECTC” characteristics: Experience, offers counselling, uses superior technology and grows with the customer. For us, this translates into a partnership where our priorities are aligned.’
Top quality with FLEXCEL NX Plates
Muner explains that they have looked at other technologies too, but that ‘FLEXCEL NX Plates are simply the best choice for print quality and cleanliness, reduction in start-up times, greater correspondence between the print test runs and the final product, less set-up time on press, and the repeatability of reprints.’
Printers who use the FLEXCEL NX plates supplied by Fotolito Veneta find that start-ups are faster, and therefore costs are reduced as waste and downtime shrink. Muner says they can print with a higher ink density and therefore the colors are more saturated and brilliant. ‘Even the white is perfect, and the overall image quality improves; the highlights are more stable and cleaner, the color range is wider and there is greater detail in the shadows. Text is also well defined and sharp.’
Record growth for Bofrost* during the pandemic
Bofrost* in February 2021 closed their 2020/21 budget with 313 million euros in turnover and growth of + 31.9% compared to the previous year. The increase in the demand for food consumption at home due to the pandemic has resulted in an increase in turnover across all their shopping channels: traditional, telemarketing and the internet. Online sales, in particular, registered a record growth of over 700%.
The extraordinary situation of the last few months has led Bofrost* to have to quickly address supply chain and logistics challenges. Muner adds: ‘After solving the initial critical issues, we made the necessary investments to set up a company structure that can respond to the increased demand for home shopping – which has now become a lasting habit for Italians – by introducing 180 new employees and 200 partners to strengthen our commercial network throughout Italy.’ For this reason, Bofrost* is also adapting its fleet of vehicles and branches to deliver fresh produce, in addition to frozen foods. Muner concludes that they’re increasingly using sustainable packaging material, and the ‘FLEXCEL NX Technology from Miraclon proves to be an excellent fit when printing on these substrates.’