Folding Carton Solutions

Solutions for Folding Carton: Inside and Outside

SunPak® DirectFood Plus*

Whatever your requirements, Sun Chemical has your folding carton covered – inside and out, with the most sustainable product solutions available for sheetfed offset inks and coatings.


Brand owners and print converters are looking for solutions to enable the reduction, or ideally, the elimination of plastic-based components present within fiber-based packaging, such as folding cartons for food.

This could include the replacement of a polyethylene (PE) laminated layer acting as functional barrier on carton board (pre-laminated to the board) – currently not printable with direct food contact (DFC) inks when used on the inside or DFC surface of the carton. This also applies to a food grade PE laminate film that is typically applied post-print on top of low migration inks.

The good news is solutions are available from Sun Chemical that not only provide a viable ‘printable’ alternative to PE laminated layers that deliver the functional elements required, but also offer the additional benefit of enabling the opportunity to bring color to the inside of the carton with special direct food contact inks. These inks can be used:

  • To forward additional information
  • For marketing and promotional purposes
  • To give a background contrast color to the food/confectionary
  • Ultimately to ‘enhance’ the consumer experience

Our ‘Inside’ Solution

Direct food contact needs a lot more caution with respect to inks and coatings. Standard low migration / low odor inks and coatings are not sufficient.

Sun Chemical can offer SunPak DirectFood Plus, a unique ink that offers direct food contact printing opportunities when used in combination with SunSpec SunStar aqueous direct food contact overprint varnishes.

This innovative technology:

  • Enables food confectionary packaging to be printed internally with DFC inks that are fully compliant with EU regulations
  • Contains special pigments that are suitable for direct food contact with safe migration levels
  • Exhibits very good organoleptic (low odor) properties
  • Does not dry by oxidation and therefore does not contain a drying catalyst based on heavy metals such as cobalt and manganese

Color Scope

The pigment range of these special DFC inks is more restricted than ‘standard’ conventional pigments due to the purity required. That said, we can still achieve over 70% on the Pantone library with a Delta E Tolerance of <2.00 (Delta E 2000 1:1:1).


To help designers and converters understand what is achievable when using the SunPak DFP ink range, Sun Chemical has developed unique software tools, including ‘Gamut Viewer,’ which provides a quick-check to see if your target color is in or out of gamut.


SunDigiGuides are also available to designers and brand owners as a visual reference to illustrate which Digital Master Pantone colors are achievable within an acceptable tolerance when using the SunPak DFP ink range.

These tools result in less rework for color throughout the entire packaging development workflow and delivers speed to market for brand owners with new product launches.


Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Print knowing you are using a product designed with the highest level of bio-renewable content possible, as verified by Beta Analytics, the world leader in Carbon-14 measurements since 1979.**

Sun Chemical collaborated with Qualvis and Homen Iggesund to develop a folding carton package for direct food contact with chocolates. The package was created for interpack 2023. The fully recyclable package was printed on the inside and outside by Qualvis using Sun Chemical’s direct food contact inks and overprint varnish. The board, supplied without plastic content, came from Holmen Iggesund.


Our ‘Outside’ Solution

Just as with SunPak DirectFood Plus inks, by utilizing the industry-leading performance of Sun Chemical’s SunPak FSP low migration inks, the highest possible bio-renewable content is achieved.

Based on our revolutionary new Pace varnish technology platform, the inks achieve unrivaled performance in terms of delivering consistent high quality, high productivity printing and have been formulated to provide optimal sustainability credentials, exhibiting the highest possible biorenewable content and compliance with various eco labels.

The inks have been designed, tested and proven to guarantee excellent results on the latest modern high speed printing machines and are especially effective on lower quality carton board materials that are prone to picking and delamination.

This highly efficient performance can be further enhanced when applying the extended color gamut process using SunECG to reduce the need for special Pantone/spot colors. Part of Sun Chemical’s SunColorBox color management solution, SunECG’s unique gamut viewer software offers an opportunity to reduce the need to change inking units by utilizing up to seven process colors. The result is reduced downtime, waste, energy and solvent through reduced washing.


Based on Sustainability

SunPak DirectFood Plus, SunStar Direct Food contact coatings, and SunPak FSP are all part of the SunEco umbrella of sustainable inks, coatings and adhesives — backed with the confidence that supports sustainable solutions.

For a fully globally compliant and complete offering for printing inside and outside the carton in the most sustainable way while also delivering the highest possible productivity, look no further than Sun Chemical. Our R&D leadership brings the very highest level of expertise in application, regulatory support and product stewardship.


*Product is tested, safe and compliant with current European Union regulations.

**Beta Analytics measured the ratio of radiocarbon in the ink set relative to a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) modern reference standard (SRM 4990C) and the results were accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation, the highest level of recognized quality any testing or calibration laboratory can attain.




Transform Your Folding Cartons
Folding Carton Industry Magazine Article: "Getting the Balance Right-Responding to Customer Demands"
Sustainability Report
SunColorBox Guide
SunColorBox Overview

Contact us for a folding carton sample