Packaging innovation: identifying the leaders

29 December 2017

This year, the industry paid homage to packaging pioneers, and rewarded the best and brightest across a multitude of categories, including sustainability, marketing and breakthrough technology. Packaging Today highlights the winners from the World Beverage Innovation and WorldStar awards, as well as the DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation.

In September, during Drinktec 2017, the winners of the World Beverage Innovation (WBI) Awards were announced in Munich, Germany, and were pulled from 227 entries across 33 countries and 25 categories.

“We are happy to celebrate the 15th year of the annual WBI Awards this year at Drinktec,” said Isabel Sturgess, marketing director at FoodBev Media – the company behind the awards. “Once again, we are fascinated by the level of innovation that is shown within the entries. We see new flavours, new concepts, smart packaging designs, state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies, and new ground gained towards a more responsible and sustainable beverage industry. The WBI Awards really showcase some of the most ambitious new products and developments of the year from a wide range of companies all over the world, both large and small.”

WorldStar Awards

In May 2017, the WorldStar Awards marked the first global awards ceremony to be held this year, and was purposefully timed to synchronise with the interpack trade fair, which also took place in Düsseldorf, Germany. The awards had numerous categories.

President’s Award

Brazilian company Camargo cia de embalagens won the Gold President’s Award for Capa Pack. The project was developed to use the HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press, which has printing and varnish effects that have been designed to prove that Café Pelé is fresh and packaged daily. The product was also used to demonstrate the quality of digital print and how it could benefit time-sensitive marketing campaigns. In this instance, a major Brazillian newspaper made the next day’s headlines available to the coffee maker, and in four hours Café Pelé could print these on film for coffee that was to be packed and distributed to supermarkets. The next morning, the coffee was sold with the newsletter, showing that an innovative-marketing campaign can use packaging technology to enchant consumers.

The beverages category bronze award was presented to the Israeli company Pitkit, which received praise for its capsules that have unique QR codes for the printing and manufacturing of wine, alcohol and olive oil bottles. Scanning a code takes the consumer to a manufacturer’s home page, where they can receive promotions and information concerning the bottle’s production location, time and the content’s expiration date. This advancement was called an excellent platform due to its exclusive machine-readable and anti-counterfeiting features.

In the transit category, ŠKODA received the bronze prize for a special rack that allows it to place four cars into one container for transportation at one of its Indian plants, which are located in Pune and Aurangabad. The group has reduced the cost of transportation, as it could only fit two vehicles per container previously.

Belgium-based Cardiff Group scooped the Silver President’s Award for Ecodraft, which uses a revolutionary and patented double-bag system to provide more balance between external and internal pressure for kegged beverages. This product guarantees user safety and a shelf life of up to two years. Ecodraft kegs also eliminates the need for expensive rinsing operations and pollution detergents. These lightweight, yet extremely strong and pressure -safe kegs are equipped with standard connections that enable ‘plug-and-play’ integration at every level of the beverage industry’s supply chain.

Sustainability Award

Stora Enso took home the gold prize for EcoFishBox, a waterproof and leak-tight product that provides an environmentally friendly solution for fish packaging with corrugated board, which replaces expanded polystyrene to increase recyclability and sustainability. The packaging’s moisture barrier is made from a thin PET film that has been pre-laminated on the liner. This product saves on space by being delivered in the form of flat sheets during transportation and warehouse storage. In addition, it has good printing possibilities and a premium look that adds value.

German company TUBEX cinched the silver award with PURITY, which is the first aluminium aerosol to be manufactured without ink or lacquer. This reduces C O2 emissions and, therefore, the amount of energy and resources required to make the product. This breakthrough was achieved without altering slug specifications, and the product even has advanced properties, including higher-burst pressure.

The bronze prize was awarded to Mexican company Grupo Sinekis for Freshdy, a flexible multilayer micro perforated bag that enables fresh fruit and vegetables to stay hydrated for longer. Water vapour is retained through the application of micro perforated BOPP plastic layers to the bottom and surface of a bag. When compared with clamshell packaging, Freshdy saves an impressive four to five times more hydration.

Marketing Award

Unsurprisingly, Camargo cia de embalagens received the gold award for Capa Pack. It is certainly a powerful marketing tool to be able to print daily newspaper headlines onto packaging that accompanies a consumer’s morning coffee.

Silver went to David Rybár-Dr. Design’s Fromin, which is attractively marketed as ‘water from the ice age’. The bottle’s design mimics the melting of an ice cube, and its exclusivity and premium contents exceed the standards of products that are commonly available in the bottled water category, making it unforgettable among heavy competition. Other key features include the bottle’s wider neck and its unique shape, which makes transporting and bulk packaging much easier, as the product can withstand more force than conventional round bottles to prevent breakages.

The bronze award went to BoxMart for TIGI Bed Head for Men. This product needed a global sales tool that would resemble a wooden beer crate to transform it into a ready-to-retail point of sale unit. Salespersons could easily transport TIGI with cutout carry handles that formed part of corrugated board structure. Its authentic wooden graphics were digitally printed to create a rough and textured finish. Salons often have limited retail space, which the crate tackled by providing built-in storage space for retail stock; it could be fully merchandised and ready-to-retail before the salesperson left the salon. A removable promotional header card extended the crate’s lifespan, enabling it to be used overseas with various languages and currencies. TIGI said, “It’s one of the most ingenious shelf-ready displays we’ve ever had.” The company added that “the quality was so convincing” that it grabbed consumer attention instantly, making the brand stand out from others.

Packaging that Saves Food Award

Gold went to Spanish company Flexomed for its ethylene absorber bag. This product is a doypack bag that is macro perforated, laminated, and comes with a zip closure and handle, as well as inner material that absorbs ethylene from fruits and vegetables. The product, which was tested on strawberries, bananas, aubergine and vine cherries, not only extends the shelf life of produce, but also reduces weight loss and improves the appearance of food.

Freshdy scooped up another award, winning the silver prize in this category. Grupo Sinekis sought to address the problem that 1.3 billion tons of fresh fruit and vegetables are wasted annually worldwide. In order to combat this, the company looked to the natural world to understand how products, such as corn on the cob, manage to keep moist for such long periods of time. Corn is protected by a series of leaves, which have a porous material and overlap to enable the vegetable to stay fresh by retaining as much water as possible. Freshdy replicates this solution with a flexible micro perforated multi-layer bag, which keeps produce hydrated for greater periods of time.

Dampack International’s BeeMagic Tray took home the bronze accolade. The product uses a mono perforated film that is placed above a capillary honeycomb structure, which has proved to be efficient at absorbing moisture. This is beneficial for the entire supply chain because it extends shelf life, the quality of packed products, and reduces food and material waste. It is also 100% recyclable, easy to install on production lines and complies with European directives.

The 2017 DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation

The DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation also announced its winners for 2017, honouring companies that have made major advancements in packaging technology that addressed the diverse and particular needs of consumers in global markets.

Now in its 29th year, the DuPont Awards is the industry’s longest running, global and independently judged celebration of innovation and collaboration throughout the supply chain. It is highly regarded as a leading awards ceremony in the packaging sector that focuses on breakthroughs in design, materials, technology and processes. An independent panel of packaging experts evaluated nearly 150 entries across 24 countries, recognising those that excelled in the categories of technological advancement, responsible packaging and enhanced user experience.

“The DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation is exciting because of the global nature of the competition. It is objective – you don’t have to use DuPont materials – and there is no entry fee,” said lead Judge David Luttenberger, global packaging director at Mintel. “DuPont brings a great variety of disciplines of expertise for the judging panel to really get a global perspective across design, engineering, retail, converting and academia, which helps us hone in on what’s important and what’s valuable about packaging.”

DuPont’s Diamond Award goes to a world-changing company

This year’s highest honour was bestowed upon the Fritz Water Vest, which enables people in developing countries to carry up to 20 pounds of water easily and safely. Judges felt that this was an out-of-the-box solution which takes society one step closer to solving a significant global problem with a design that was created for the greater good. The vest is antimicrobial, ergonomic and reusable.

PepsiCo’s LIFEWTR launched at the end of 2016, and has already received an award for its unique packaging, which features different artists.
Ecodraft’s double-bag system balances out internal and external pressures. It also ensures that taste is a priority, while guaranteeing a longer shelf life for beverages.
AMOREPACIFIC’s jar was created with the consumer’s experience and the company’s environmental impact in mind.
DuPont’s awards winners included PepsiCo, Amcor and Froneri.

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