Innovative packaging solutions from STI Group

STI Group designs and manufactures a wide range of customised packaging made from cardboard and finished corrugated board; anything from folding boxes and gift packaging to retail ready packaging and transport boxes. 

First impressions matter – especially in retail. Shoppers make their choice from a multitude of products in just a fraction of a second, and packaging is often the sole deciding factor. For brand manufacturers, packaging is an essential way to differentiate the brand on retail shelves, connect with shoppers and trigger impulse buys, but its role goes even further. How easily it is filled, how well it protects the product and how closely it meets logistical needs, means packaging can impact the entire value chain from production to retail. 

Custom paper, print and finishes

STI Group employs a range of flute profiles for corrugated packaging solutions, using single flutes from B to G and numerous combinations. Paper selection and choice of flute profile depend on suitability for the brand, industry and retailer. stability requirements and printability. Choice of printing process depends on the artwork, the quantity being produced and the target price. Typically, offset or high-quality flexographic printing is used.

Product References

For small production runs and samples, STI Group uses the latest digital printing technology. Spot colours and varnishes are the most commonly used finishes to help reflect product personality. Premium products may also apply special die-cutting, foils, embossing and viewing windows to enhance presentation and help tell the brand story. Visual and haptic finishes encourage shoppers to interact with the product in retail outlets.

Efficient packaging logistics

To remain a market leader, it’s important to meet customer and retail priorities as well as brand objectives. For many consumer goods manufacturers an efficient packaging process is crucial, so STI Group has its own in-house process consulting team. Their role is to streamline customer workflows and advise on aspects of relevant packaging technology. On the other hand, retailers such as supermarkets and discount stores desire easy and quick handling above all else. This calls for efficient solutions in the form of retail or shelf ready packaging, where the printed packaging doubles as the transport packaging.

Sustainabie packaging

Responsible resource use is important to STI Group. During packaging design, the amount of paper used is guided by the mantra: 'As much as necessary - as little as possible'. Enhanced sustainability is built in right from the beginning of design and includes planning for optimal pallet utilisation, which drives packaging size and shape. Material choice also has an influence: the right desired strength and stability can often be achieved using more than one combination of paper and flute. STI Group innovations such as D-flute help to reduce paper consumption whilst maintaining the right technical and visual properties of finished boxes in retail.

Industry expertise: End to end consultancy

During packaging development and production of our range of boxes, we also advise customers on special requirements. Our specialist expertise includes everything from food-safe packaging materials to Braille embossing; from anti-counterfeiting solutions to toy safety regulations. Consumer, retail and statutory requirements are all factored in. 

Retail packaging as an effective advertising mediumT

The impact that promotional and gift boxes can have in retail is increasingly being recognised. In 2015, the advertising value of packaging was measured in a first-of-its-kind touchpoint study conducted by the German Federation of Folding Box Manufacturers (FFI). For cereals alone, it was rated equivalent to about €122 million; food for thought for marketing managers. Packaging truly is a prime promotional medium on retail shelves. Market research also confirms that haptic features on folding boxes can have a powerful, lasting impact. 


What are the 3 levels / types of packaging?

Primary packaging is the packaging most consumers see on a daily basis – we often call it product packaging. It’s the packaging that things come in when you see them on the shelves of a store. A good example of primary packaging is cereal boxes or folding cartons.
Secondary packaging is the packaging that holds together the individual units of a good. Secondary packing is something few consumers see but is largely the reason grocery stores can remain well-stocked such as shelf ready packaging made from corrugated cardboard.
Tertiary packaging is the packaging used to keep things safe during shipments. It always remains in store or in the supply-chain but is hardly seen by consumers.

Where do you manufacture your range of boxes?

STI Group has five packaging production facilities within Europe: Lauterbach, Alsfeld, Greven and Neutraubling in Germany, and Kecskemét (jeweils Links zu den Werksseiten) in Hungary. Our Hong Kong-based office complements this portfolio by sourcing premium rigid boxes, and providing on-site expertise for clients who manufacture products in Asia.

Can we get a packaging sample at the start of production?

Yes; depending on your needs, we can develop white samples or a digitally printed colour mockups of boxes before production begins. 3D PDFs and Augmented Reality applications are also effective ways to present concepts in a retail environment.

Which flute profiles do you work with?

Our customised boxes use a wide range of paper materials and flute profiles. We produce B-, C-, D-, E-, F- and G-flutes, both singly and in various combinations.

What viewing window options are there?

Windows are extremely popular because of the tempting view of pack contents that they afford retail shoppers. STI Group’s range of windows can extend across 1, 2 or 3 sides, may be contour-cut, with concave and convex curves, and can even be printed. A soft curve can help prevent stress whitening on windows, improving the appearance of retail boxes.  

Is there a minimum order quantity for packaging?

For smaller production runs or prototype batches of boxes we use digital printing, which allows quantity to be as low as a single pack. However, a small production run is typically 2,000 - 5,000 units. There is no upper limit.

Do you conform to food packaging standards?

Migration-harmless (water-based) printing inks are used across STI Group, which orevents mineral oil migration from ink to food.  For direct food contact, we recommend boxes be made of coated papers with special barrier properties or those made from virgin fibres. We are highly competent to advise clients in this area and to carry out migration testing.

Does special edition packaging drive sales?

Studies have shown that special edition boxes can have a strong effect on retail sales for a range of products, particularly for premium spirits, confectionery and seasonal items.

What does 'carbon compensated' mean in this context?

This is when the CO2 generated during production is offset. STI Group purchases the relevant amount of carbon compensated certification on behalf of clients. This is used to support carbon reduction projects such as rainforest reforestation.