Picking a packaging partner is a hard decision which is why we’re going to compare three of the most popular packaging companies on the market – Carepac vs Roastar vs ePac Flexibles. We’ll present an in-depth assessment of each company’s packaging capabilities and provide recommendations at the end.
Our goal was to use our deep experience in the packaging & marketing industry to understand the bagging landscape and find out how each company stands up.
The main difference between the three companies is their selection of materials, printing options, and cost.
Click here if you want to skip to the end and see the winner!
Before You Buy
You probably have a lot of questions about the specific features or services provided by CarePac, Roastar and ePac. Depending on your budget, material requirements, and lead time one company may appeal to you more than the other.
Let’s dive into some of the details!
Flexible Barrier Packaging
What is flexible barrier packaging exactly and what is it used for? Flexible barrier packaging is used to maintain freshness, extend shelf life and prevent damages to the contents of the package. Materials such as flexible plastics, aluminum, paper and coatings are used to keep oxygen, moisture and light out. This keeps your product fresh and damage free.
Flexible barrier packaging is better than other forms of barrier packaging due to its lightweight, lower cost, convenient portions, protection, and easy customization to specific applications.
Selection of Materials:
The product you are packaging determines what material will work best for you. There are important considerations and questions you must ask yourself when deciding which material to use. Remember, the cheapest material may not be the correct material for your product, and you may end up paying for it in the end.
It’s always smart to consult a qualified packaging expert to help you choose the correct material. Having the right material is vital to keeping your product fresh and your customers happy.
Here are a few questions you should consider when deciding what packaging works best.
o How much product do you need in each barrier package?
o Where is the product stored? Freezer, shelf, outdoors, indoors?
o How is it transported? Is this package going to face pressure changes from air transportation?
o Is your product single us or multi-use?
When deciding on a material, it is wise to listen to packaging experts and not demand a certain material if they advise against it. Additionally, if a company is willing to package your product in a material they know is not right for the job, you may want to reconsider if they have sound business ethics.
Lets see what each packaging company has to offer for materials:
|High-barrier and multi-layer films|
|Freezer & Microwave safe|
In addition to the barrier materials listed above, CarePac also offers barrier coatings like EVOH, PVDC, and ALOX which enhance the barrier of the base material. Their line of flexible barrier materials: CareClear, CareSilver, CareFoil, and CareKraft offer the widest variety of packaging combinations that we could find!
If you’re looking for eco-friendly packaging, ePac or CarePac is your place to go! ePac offers recyclable vegan and compostable packaging materials but not biodegradable. CarePac offers all three packaging materials! Learn more about the difference between these materials.
When deciding what company to use, it is important to make sure that they offer the specific configuration your product requires. The chart below shows the different configurations available and which companies offer each bag style.
While Roastar offers a Fill-n-Ship option that no other company offers, CarePac has an overwhelming amount of bags to choose from. Businesses with multiple products may find that Carepac is their one stop shop for all their product packaging needs.
|Stand Up Pouch|
|Stand Up Pouch Plough Bottom|
|2 Seal Pouch|
|3 Side Seal Pouch|
|Tamper Evident Pouches|
|K-Style and Doy|
|Liquid Spout Pouch|
|Die-cut Shaped Pouches|
|Fin Seal Pouches|
|Flexible Barrier Tubing|
As consumers are becoming more picky with what they buy, it is important your bag manufacturer has all the features you’ll need to help your product stand out on the shelf!
The soft-touch finish has been growing in popularity recently and will continue to do so. Recent studies have shown that consumers are more likely to purchase a product if it engages their sense of touch. Products packaged in this material are often considered high end (compared to traditional plastic materials) and consumers are likely to pay more for your product. If you’re looking to upgrade your products’ appearance and feel, ePac and CarePac are your places to go!
|Spot Matte / Spot Gloss|
|Transparent or clouded windows|
|Clear Gloss Laminate|
|Clear Matte Laminate|
|Lip and Seal Tape|
|Retort Boilable Bags|
Printing Options: Digital and Plate Printing
All three companies offer digital printing; however, Carepac is the only one that offers both digital and plate printing. When deciding which option is best for you, it’s important to remember that the printing process is different, but your bags will look exactly the same whether you choose to use digital or plate printing. Let’s look into these processes a little more!
Digital printing is the process of printing digital-based images directly onto your package
Uses a thin aluminum plate to transfer your design onto the pouch
Digital files such as PDFs, AI files, are sent directly to the printer. All designs are made from 5 ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK +White)
Artwork is separated into ink colors. Both CMYK and true PMS Pantone Colors can be applied to the bag
Best for small projects that have many different designs.
Provides maximum economies of scale to reach the lowest per-unit cost.
MSpot matte / gloss and soft touch coatings.
Use up to 10 colors
Pros/Cons of Digital vs Plate printing
When deciding which printing process suits your business better, it’s important to look at the pros and cons for both printing processes. One may suit you better than the other depending on your company’s needs.
Lowest per-unit cost
Metalized colors available
Minimum order quantities 5,000+
Most economical choice
Full range of print effects
One-Time Plate Costs
Spot Gloss & Spot Matte available
PMS ink colors can be used
Startups with lots of different designs could have a lot of plates.
Works with any material
Most versatile printing method
Edge to Edge printing allows you to cover the entire bag with your design or color
Zero Setup Costs but higher per unit costs
Great for high color count designs
Don’t want to commit to ordering thousands of customized packages
Best for trial runs to test your design in the market
Not advisable for higher quantities
Perfect for smaller print runs
Frequent regulatory changes make bag designs obsolete quicker than you can use your bags
Unable to color 100% match PMS colors
Easier to print multiple versions of your design
Short runs-as low as 1,000 bags
Quick turnaround time
No plate fees
Can be used with any material
Digital vs Plate Printing Conclusion
When deciding whether to use digital or plate printing, it is vital to understand the requirements of your business. If you want a large number of bags for a low cost and don’t mind paying a one-time plate fee, CarePac has you covered with their plate printing option.
However, if you’re just starting out and don’t want to commit to ordering thousands of customized packages or you want to test out different designs in the market and don’t mind paying the higher cost, digital printing may be the best option for you!
Selection of Lead Times:
Lead times can vary significantly depending on where you purchase your bags. If you’re thinking about purchasing from China, it’s important to remember you’ll likely have to wait over 3-4 months until you see your beautiful pouches. However, you shouldn’t have to wait that long if you’re ordering from one of the three U.S. based packaging companies we’re talking about today.
If ordering from ePac, they state that your pouches will be produced in 15 business days once your artwork is approved. Rollstock will be produced in 5 business days (once artwork is approved). Not a bad turnaround time for someone who needs bags quickly. However, they do not offer options to help decrease costs.
If you’re considering ordering from Roastar, they estimate their lead times to be between 17-30 business days after artwork is approved. Roastar updates their lead times weekly so check out their website when you decide to order for the most up to date estimate. On some forums customers complain about how Roastar is unable to deliver on their lead times.
When ordering from Carepac, customers can choose a 15 day, 30 day, or 60 day lead time depending on their wants and needs. Carepac is the only company to offer different lead times for customers who would like great bags but are willing to sacrifice one of two things. All of Carepac’s bags are high quality; however, you may be able to save some money if you’re willing to accept a longer lead time. You could also receive your bags more quickly if you’d like to spend a little extra. Carepac allows customers to make the best decisions for themselves, so you can get exactly what you want without having to sacrifice the quality of your bags!
Unless you know EXACTLY what you’d like to order and have knowledge on all things barrier material, it’s a great idea to get a consultation before ordering any packaging. Having a company that will send you samples is also a great way to ensure you are getting exactly what you want!
CarePac and Roastar offer samples to customers and will provide a free consultation. All three companies we are comparing today allow you to easily request a quote online from their website; however, CarePac is the only company that can provide an instant estimate for you.
Instant estimates through CarePac are best for start-ups or new buyers, getting a rough estimate, basic options, orders requesting 1,000 bags or if you don’t have any art or designs. If this sounds like you, head over to their website and get an instant estimate!
If you’re an established company, have art designs or graphics ready and want to order 5,000 bags or more, it's best to get a detailed quote. By receiving a detailed quote you will also be able to select advanced options for your packaging.
Each company has a slightly different design process. Whether you’re a startup or an experienced packaging designer, it is almost always best to choose a company that will support you through the design process, especially if this is your first time using a new company.
Roastar’s design process begins with getting an optional free quote. At stage one you will choose your type, size, and material to receive pricing. Next you will start your project, create your account and download templates. You can then create and upload your artwork. If you need a designer, you can use their directory and choose a designer. After this, you will receive and approve your proofs either digitally or physically. Place your order and watch for your bags to arrive!
ePac’s design process is much simpler than Roastar’s and from what we could find, offers less support during the process than Roastar and CarePac (we’ll get to them in a minute).
ePac’s process starts by requesting a quote. They will then approve your artwork, print and finish your packaging and ship your bags. They focus on providing bags quickly to customers; however, lack in support from designers or customer service representatives.
CarePac prides themselves on their exceptional customer service and support they provide to their customers. They are dedicated to providing you with the most support during your bag creation process.
Their design process starts by providing you with an online quote either instantly or detailed. You will next select your size and configuration of your bags. Next you will approve your proofs with the help of a CarePac professional. You don’t even have to bring press ready art, they will take your original art files and set them up for printing during this step to ensure you get the best quality printing, and develop digital art proofs that you can revise. They will then print your materials and you can enjoy your new bags!
Cost is an extremely important thing to consider when making any business decision. Customized bags vary in price depending on which printing method you decide, type of bag, bag features and size.
CarePac is the only company out of the three we are comparing that will price match within 5% of any other quote so you don’t have to settle for an inferior product just to save money.
Customer service is extremely important in any industry and packaging is no exception. Deciding on materials, sizing, printing, features, and design can seem overwhelming almost instantly. Having a great, experienced team supporting you is vital to the success of your bags (and sanity).
As mentioned above, ePac seems to have the least support when it comes to designing and creating your bags. They offer the quickest turnaround time compared to the other two companies; however, the lack of support may have you stuck with bags that aren’t right for your product.
Roastar prides themselves on the creativity and design work of their bags. They allow you to pick one of their designers to help with artwork design but seem to offer little support when it comes to deciding what material is best for your product. While having an amazing design is super important, making sure your material holds up and keeps your product fresh is even more vital. People don’t like soggy popcorn!
CarePac’s main focus is their customers. They reiterate how important customer service is to them on every page of their website. They will be with you through every stage of the packaging process from deciding which materials are best for your product to helping you design the best artwork. They also uphold their ethics with every customer they serve. If the professionals at CarePac know that a certain material will not work for the product you are packaging, they will not provide the bags. You can rest assured with CarePac you will get high quality, beautifully designed bags that are perfect for your product’s requirements.
Roastar has done an excellent job marketing their quick and easy packaging creation process while making the experience enjoyable. They offer personal help to businesses during the design process and are able to digitally print designs for their customers. They acknowledge that small business needs are different from a big corporation and offer quick turnaround times in order to get products on the shelves fast!
Roastar offers many bag types including stand-up pouches, gusseted bags, flat-bottom pouches, flat pouches, and fill-n-ship mailers. Roastar is located in the United States and believes that small businesses can look big with their packaging!
ePac Flexibles: Overview
ePac is a relatively new player in the packaging space. Created in 2016, their mission has been to help small brands obtain a big brand presence while giving back to the communities they serve. ePac also aims to contribute to the creation of a more sustainable, circular economy.
ePac currently has locations throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Once artwork is approved, orders will ship between 5-15 business days and customers can purchase low minimum quantities. They offer many bag types including lay flat pouches, stand up pouches, rollstock, child resistant packaging, films and sustainable packaging.
CarePac is focused on making sure their customers are properly educated, guided and cared for through the entire packaging process. They are a California based company that focuses exclusively on flexible barrier packaging and putting the customer FIRST. They claim to offer deeper knowledge, better product selection, and higher quality service than any other packaging company in the market. Carepac guarantees that your bags will be done right through their CareDesign process to reflect your company’s values. They are a transparent, tell it like it is, company that ensures their customers receive exceptional customer service and great bags!
CarePac is one of the only companies to offer both plate and digital printing and a variety of materials. They offer 10+ available features customers can add to their bags and have 14 different pouches to choose from. Customers can get exactly what they need to make their products stand out against the big guys with CarePac!
What Packaging Company is the Best?
While all companies we discussed today have similarities, Carepac is the best choice. Their exceptional customer service, wide variety of materials and bag choices, knowledgeable staff, and price matching promise makes them the top choice for any company looking to create custom printed bags. With Carepac, you’ll receive the best customer service in the packaging industry. Still sceptical? Give them a call today and see for yourself!