Expert's Opinion

PepsiCo shares perspective on digital print's potential

April 27, 2017

Todd Fayne, principal engineer for PepsiCo, discusses the digital print market, as well as PepsiCo's digital experiences.

In advance of the 2017 Digital Print for Packaging US this June, Smithers Pira had the opportunity to speak with Todd Fayne, Principal Engineer for PepsiCo. Todd shared with the market research firm his perspective on the potential market, current limitations, Pepsi's experiences with digital print and much more.

Smithers Pira: What appeals to brands about the potential of digital print for packaging?

Todd Fayne: Customization (every panel can be different), improved time-to-market, decentralized production, personalization, color control.

SP: How does that potential compare with today’s reality, what are the current limitations?

TF: Digital business model (Click Charge), Ink Costs, Speed (area/time), infrastructure (availability), Lack of End User business model(s)

SP: What applications, sectors or materials do you think will see the main adoptions for digital print?

TF: "There's no limit once digital can compete cost effectively with traditional. The current applications that are in digital are there because of this fact already; small products, niche products that can't afford the set up time or minimum quantities of large printing presses. In the near term this will spread to some mid-volume production in premium areas as costs go down, speeds will go up. The tipping point for digital will be when there is enough installed capacity spread out through the US or Europe etc., that could supply a broad launch of product that is enabled by and takes advantage of digital's capability. Additionally, there needs to be more competition on the ink supply. Digital inks are expensive today but don't have to be. Having competition, increased volunes, and inks designed for flexible packaging at reasonable costs will drive market growth. Inevitably, digital will replace traditional mechanical printing. It's up to the industry to decide if that's 15 years from now or 50.

SP: Can you share anything about Pepsi's experiences with digital print today?

TF: We have had some success with the "Lay's Summer Days" campaign the past couple years. There is marketing interest in expanding this effect, but everything we do is large (even the small stuff). The current supply chain to make these bags is not optimized and that constrains how big digital can be for a company of our size. For me, I'd compare it to owning a drone. It's cool and fun to play with, but it's not flying me to work everyday.

SP: What’s on your wish list from the packaging value chain and how does digital print fit into it?

TF: We need flexibility (materials, formats, designs).  We need new capabilities (special effects, textures, eye candy).  We need scale (the right equipment in the right places).

SP: What are you most looking forward to about the conference?

TF: I am looking forward to finding out how the industry is taking advantage of and building upon what was presented at drupa.
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