Bar Harbor Foods: quality ingredients from product to packaging

When Cynthia Fisher and Mike Cote purchased the 86-year old East Machias Canning Company on the Downeast Maine coast in 2003, their mission was clear: make an environmentally sustainable, exceptional canned food product with wholesome, fresh ingredients in a recyclable steel can.

To communicate their commitment to simple, authentic New England cuisine, the new owners of Bar Harbor Foods needed to revamp the brand’s image.  “Our products are clean and wholesome; as close to homemade as possible in a processed food. Obviously, the label had to speak the same language.”

Mohawk Solution

Furbush-Roberts Printing Co had been printing the can labels on a Mohawk beige paper since the early 1990s and worked with their area paper supplier Lindenmeyr Munroe to suggest a range of papers that had an updated, natural look. Caitlin Roberts Sullivan, Vice President at Furbush-Roberts, says, “With Mohawk papers, the quality and the printability have always been excellent. The color, fibers, recycled content and green certification were a great match for the Bar Harbor brand. We’ve used Mohawk paper for the Bar Harbor labels for over a decade and the quality and color have always been consistent. Mohawk Via Vellum Jute was readily available from our paper merchants and was reasonably priced. It was the obvious choice.”

Cynthia Fisher tells Mohawk, “We did market research on the food itself and the packaging and labeling. Providing our customers and grocery retailers with a variety of design and stock options, we received a resounding – ‘That one!’ – when the Mohawk Via Vellum Jute label was presented. The recycled content and Green Seal certification, and the use of vegetable inks by our printer, Furbush-Roberts, a local Maine business, further enhances and promotes our mission of doing business locally with a Maine company who shares many of our beliefs and with an industry leader, like Mohawk, who understands its customers’ needs and provides the necessary materials that further assist us in projecting the authenticity of our brand and products to our customers.”


Furbush-Roberts Printing Co tells us, “Currently, we run about 2 million Bar Harbor labels per year on the Mohawk Via Vellum Jute. Since the new ownership in 2003, we have seen this company grow exponentially. As a result, our demand for the Jute paper has grown so much so that we are the largest Mohawk Via Vellum Jute user in the United States!”

Bar Harbor Foods relies on Mohawk paper to set them apart in the grocery store aisles. “An interesting point that is continuously repeated by customers and retailers alike is that the Bar Harbor label stands out in the vast sea of colored labels on the supermarket shelf and gives the impression that the product is home-made. We consider this a home run for accurately reflecting and promoting our mission, our story, and the products that make up the Bar Harbor brand!” says Fisher.

Why Mohawk

Cynthia Fisher at Bar Harbor Foods says, “The Mohawk Via Vellum Jute itself, with that beautiful fiber fleck, totally embodies a natural, authentic look. We are continuously complimented on our choice of label stock. Retailers love it because it’s different and edgy and customers believe in the quality of the product and the story because the label stock itself exemplifies our brand’s differentiation in the marketplace. Mohawk has not only provided us a point of difference on the grocery shelf, but a quite beautiful point of difference.”


Paper:  Mohawk Via Vellum Jute 70 pound text

Printed: Two spot PMS color offset

Printer: Furbush-Roberts Printing Co, Bangor, Maine
Client: Look’s Gourmet Food Company

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