HP Indigo / Ultimate Packaing – Personalised packaging for KitKat

A personalised KitKat pack printed by Ulimate Packaging on a HP Indigo digital printing press (Source: Ultimate Packaging)

UK • Since drupa 2016 HP recorded a growth of 80% for the packaging market. Today, at the beginning of 2018, more than 1,750 HP Indigo lines are installed in the whole label market, among them 1,200 lines from the WS6000 series. About 120 HP Indigo 20000 and 30000 are already installed. This proves one more time that digital printing has its advantages. An example for these might be the cooperation between HP Indigo, Ultimate Packaging and Nestlé for the brand KitKat.

This was published in the latest German-speaking corporate publishing magazine “HP in action”, issue 02, published at the end of 2017/ the beginning of 2018. According to HP Indigo, the challenge, strategy and the results are the following:



  • Support a consumer promotion for the Nestlé Kit Kat brand by creating unique packaging with room for customers to personalize with messages and photos
  • Provide promotion packs to participating retailers that feature a unique code inside the wrapper, which customers enter online to win a personalised bar


  • Allow winning customers to upload their own photos and messages to appear on their package of Kit Kat bars


  • Delivered 55,000 unique Kit Kat packages to consumers direct to their door in a customized, frameable box


A personalised KitKat pack printed by Ulimate Packaging on a HP Indigo digital printing press (Source: Ultimate Packaging)


Linked to a social media campaign the promotion features all KitKat packs and consumers have been entering online using the wrapper codes. Winners could upload photos and personalised so-called “break messages” to produce their own unique wrapper of the Nestlé brand. The personalised KitKat 4 Finger Milk packs were packed on production lines at Nestlé, York factory.

There have been some challenges to overcome with this project initially to supply a digitally printed film that would pack fast down a normal production line incorporating both a release lacquer and cold seal to replicate conventionally printed KitKat film. According to the companies, after a couple of trials this was achieved and the design was being digitally printed using four-colour process and white.

The personalised packs are printed in weekly batches of around 7000 to 8000 packs. Each pack has a unique barcode and identification code generated from Smartflow. The printed reels from Ultimate Digital are then delivered back to Nestlé for packing.

The different steps of the KitKat campaign have been:

1) Customer e-commerce
2) Transfer data
3) Variable artwork
4) Digital print
5) Packed on standard production line
6) Unique barcode scanned for customer info
7) Smartflow tracks the whole process
8) Packed indivually in delivery carton
9) Depatched for the customers
10) Response by customers via social media channels

Once packed the packs are returned back to Ultimate for the individual packing and despatch process. Each pack is scanned with the unique image appearing on screen to check and the customer address label is generated by Smartflow, put into a gift box and collected by Royal Mail for delivery.




Sources: HP in action, issue 02, German, page 23

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