Retail Packaging: Folding Boxes

Food items, confectionery, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics... any product intended for sale in a retail outlet will need some form of packaging. As the very first point of contact with a potential buyer, this packaging is fundamental to the product’s success. Folding box packaging has multiple functions: to stand out on shelf, to convey key brand values and messages, to inform the shopper/consumer, and also to protect the contents. 

Specialist teams at four different STI Group packaging sites are dedicated to designing, developing, printing and producing customised packaging for a diverse range of industries. This packaging varies widely in specification and run size, from promotional packaging for a new product launch to machined blanks for blockbuster drugs. STI Group box production meets the highest international quality, hygiene and environmental production standards with relevant certification. STI Group’s manufacturing plants in Germany were one of the first to obtain FSC® certification from the Forest Stewardship Council in 2008, followed by its international box production sites. The next step was PEFC certification. Today, the company mainly uses FSC® certified materials for its folding boxes.

Product References

Specialist pharmaceutical packaging: demo box

Over 10% of all medicines supplied worldwide are estimated to be counterfeit. To protect against this, the pharmaceutical industry has special requirements for its cardboard packaging boxes. EU regulation 2016/161 has brought further change to the industry and, as of 9th February 2016, there will be a three-year transition period to ensure certain packaging safety features are introduced into the boxes for all prescription-only medicines entering the supply chain. These features are designed to allow wholesalers and pharmacists to verify drug authenticity through overt, covert and forensic means. Evidence of box tampering or opening must also be made clearly visible. A clever solution from STI Group shows how these new box requirements can be practically implemented. With several visible and invisible safety features, the box combines classic anti-counterfeiting measures with new requirements. Safety features include microtext, ICI and a coating that is only visible under UV light, while a serialized code ensures complete traceability. Other pharmaceutical packaging requirements, such as Braille embossing, can also be met using state of the art equipment at our Hungarian packaging facility.

Food industry packaging expertise

Food packaging requirements are very stringent regarding the materials, inks and coatings permitted for use. Any box used in contact with food must not transfer any constituents to the product that may endanger consumer health, nor must it affect the composition of the contents. Having the right expertise at the site where the packaging will be developed and produced is critical for successful food industry packaging. STI Group has been using migration-harmless inks and coatings in its packaging production since 2011. Furthermore, only virgin-fibre cardboard or recycled materials with special barrier properties are used to produce boxes that will come into direct contact with food. On request, we can also commission an external accredited testing facility to perform contact migration testing to demonstrate that there is no constituent transfer from box to contents, or vice-versa, if needed.

Folding box design: form following function

Good design is fit for purpose, functional and takes into account the requirements of every stakeholder in the process chain; starting with the consumer, ending with the packing site, and not forgetting retail and logistics considerations in between. Structural design and the right material choice are both crucial for optimising cardboard packaging. STI Group’s international design teams also keep the latest folding box trends in mind when translating customer needs into solutions that will work for both the production site and the market. Guided by the mantra "As much as necessary, as little as possible", the packaging is designed to enhance and protect the product but never to be wasteful. Folding boxes can be used as classic product packaging, promotional packaging or gift packaging. Gift boxes often use viewing windows to showcase their contents, giving shoppers the additional confidence they need to make a purchase.

Folding box finishing options

Modern technology offers a wide range of printing and finishing options, which can be simulated right from design stage. Inline finishing, and UV and hybrid technology, makes it cost effective to enhance the printed image. Embossing, debossing and relief embossing of boxes can also be partly done inline, during the die-cutting process. STI Group uses the latest gluing technology to deliver highly efficient finishing. We can offer gluing along longitudinal seams and around contour-cut packaging, and can also handle box designs that require more complex multi-part gluing.


What kind of products do you produce folding boxes for?

Our box designs suit just about every industry, product and occasion. We have special expertise in supplying boxes for the food, beverage, confectionery, cosmetics, electrical and household appliances, pharmaceutical and multimedia industries.

Where are my folding boxes produced?

Four of our production plants specialise in folding box development and production; which site is used will depend on your requirements. Our Lauterbach (Germany) and Kecskemét (Hungary) plants are dedicated to higher volume box production, while our Greven (Germany) site and our Czech facility in Rumburk both handle small and medium production runs. Our site in Kecskemét, mainly produces folding boxes for the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

Is there a minimum folding box order quantity?

For highly customised or complex boxes, our minimum order quantity is approximately 5000 boxes.

What kind of box designs can you produce?

We can develop and produce a whole raft of creative and innovative box designs. The simplest are one-piece boxes, with or without viewing windows, glued along longitudinal seams: this kind of box can sport a number of closure options. We also create more complex, multi-part boxes in the form of slipcases and slip lids. The final design normally depends on the product, packer, and target audience. Looking for a creative folding box design? Get in touch and we’ll do the rest!

How are folding boxes shipped and filled?

We can either deliver your boxes as cardboard blanks, ready to be erected and glued at the packing site, or ship flat-packed and pre-glued boxes that are ready to use.