OFFERING A TOTAL SERVICE FROM CONCEPT TO COMPLETION, CLIFTON PACKAGING GROUP SUPPLIES INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO CUSTOMERS ACROSS THE FOOD INDUSTRY
A strong focus on innovation and investment has seen the privately owned, family run business go from strength to strength which has brought many benefits for its customers, some of whom have been with the company for more than 30 years. Specialising in the manufacture and supply of packaging, processing equipment and packaging machinery for the food sector, the multi-award-winning business also offers a complete design service and contract packing of food products on request. Conveniently located on the Meridian Business Park in Leicester, just off junction 21 of the M1, Clifton Packaging Group has seen growth close to 20% each year for the past three years and has a target to reach £20m annual sales within three years.
WORKING CLOSELY WITH CUSTOMERS
With extensive experience in the FMCG sector, Clifton Packaging Group has plenty to offer its customers, which range from the major multiples and blue-chip companies with high volume packaging lines to smaller owner operator manufacturers. Customers are encouraged to use Clifton’s design and manufacturing capabilities as an extension of their own facilities, and large supplies of film are kept in-house in case of urgent orders and emergency needs; indeed, the company specialises in fast turnarounds to meet ever tightening critical paths.
The strong relationships it has forged over the years with customers and suppliers alike has helped the business survive and thrive through varying economic climates. In addition to a broad customer base across the UK, the company exports packaging and packaging machinery to a number of countries in Africa and is looking to secure future distributors in Europe and North America.
INVESTMENT IN EQUIPMENT
In the last 18 months, Clifton has invested several million pounds in a new Flexotecnica EVO XG HD FLEXO print press and the latest Uteco Crystal HD Flexo press which has just recently been installed to complement its existing machinery. The state-of-the-art wide-web presses have the ability to print up to eight colours in high definition and both boast ink management control system and a 100% camera inspection systems.
This has hugely increased the print capacity which will ultimately offer faster lead times and greater efficiency, benefiting the company and customers alike. Another recent investment came in the form of a new Nordmeccanica Super Combi laminator, offering one-colour gravure printing, cold-seal coating, gloss-matt lacquering in register and solvent-based lamination.
This is alongside the brand new top of the range Comexi S1 DT slitter. Further investments in new equipment are in the pipeline for the next 12 months, which is seen as a way of attracting new custom and futureproofing the company.
A BROAD PRODUCT PORTFOLIO
Over the 35 years that the company has been in business, it has developed and expanded its product portfolio to keep abreast of industry developments and regulation.
Today it offers a range of flexible packaging materials, including barrier films, lidding films as well as specialising in stand-up pouches.
Customers can take advantage of the company’s own design experts, who can design from scratch or refresh existing artwork, which is then printed in-house on Flexo HD printers; contract packing is also available on request.
As well as holding a number of key accreditations, including ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System, BRC/IOP certificate for Packaging & Packaging Materials 2015-16, ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management systems, OHSAS 18001:2007 Occupational Health and Safety Management systems, Clifton also has Soil Association Certification for packing organic products and is a Member of Sedex.
With the new labelling legislation that came in last December, Clifton has been busy helping customers of all sizes update their packaging to ensure they comply with Food Information Regulation.
The company is also a specialist supplier of a wide range of food processing and packaging machinery and has installed over 200 lines for its customers, helping them to reduce labour costs, improve pack presentation and increase production continuity. The focus is on finding the right solution for the customer’s needs and following up afterwards with technical support from skilled, experienced engineers.
Named by the Food Standards Agency as “the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK” and believed to be responsible for around 100 deaths a year, campylobacter has been found on the outside of chicken packaging on retail shelves as well as on the poultry itself.
To combat the threat of campylobacter Clifton has launched two products aimed at eradicating the bacteria in the upstream supply chain. In December 2014, it released an Antibac coated lidding film, developed by its R&D team in partnership with experts in antimicrobial technology. This permanently inhibits microbial growth on film through the slow release of silver ions.
In June this was followed by the launch of Clifton’s Ovenable Roasting Bag, again with Antibac coating embedded on the surface. This avoids the need for consumers to touch raw poultry, thus reducing the risk of campylobacter contamination.
Supplied plain or printed in HD Flexo either as film on the reel or as a pre-made bag, the product is stringently tested and manufactured in house and can equally be used for other raw protein, such as fish.
FAMILY RUN FROM THE START
Founded 35 years ago by four brothers, the company remains family run to this day, although sadly Clifton’s Chairman and the eldest of the brothers, Khalid Sheikh, passed away in May 2014.
Managing Director Shahid Sheikh was awarded an OBE in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours and the company has won many awards over the decades, most recently being named as finalists in the Company of the Year and the Excellence in Manufacturing categories at the Leicester Mercury Business Awards 2015 and Finalists in latest Chambers of Commerce Exporting Business of the Year.
INTO THE FUTURE
Looking ahead, Clifton Packaging Group is not only hoping to increase export and overall sales, but has an eye out for potential acquisitions. Meanwhile, recent success has led to the company outgrowing its current premises, so an extension or a move to a larger site are both under consideration.
Shahid Sheikhs philosophy of building strong relationships has seen his company continue to grow in challenging times. His passion for continuous development, focussing on innovations and investing in the latest technologies has kept Clifton at the forefront of its industry which is now being recognised globally.
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