The DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation are the industry's longest-running, global, independently judged recognition of innovation and collaboration throughout the packaging value chain. This year, a panel of experts evaluated almost 140 entries from over 25 countries and on Friday awarded one diamond winner, five gold winners and seven silver winners based on "excellence" in one, two or all three categories: technological advancement, responsible packaging and enhanced user experience.
"This year's winners … exemplify how collaboration, innovation and packaging excellence converge to generate game-changing solutions that positively impact our lives," said William J. Harvey, president of DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers.
77 percent of the winners were honored for design excellence in enhancing user experience. Canada-based IPL, Inc., earned the Diamond Award, the program's highest honor, for SkinnyPack™ technology. This mono-material package marries flexible and rigid packaging to create a thin, light, strong structure that uses less material, enables recycling and allows more message space.
"The winners demonstrated the power of integrating precision engineering, design and technology in a way that brings multi-sensorial yet functional packaging to delight consumers," said Yasmin Siddiqi, DuPont Packaging Awards program leader.
Through collaboration with IPL, Ana's Foods, a Canadian salsa company, replaced its rigid salsa containers with the SkinnyPack, a flexible-rigid container that combines the advantages of thin, flexible film and the advantages of a strong, rigid frame.
IPL’s lighter-weight, thin-walled SkinnyPack uses 54.8 percent less plastic than the company’s original salsa containers, and is 100 percent recyclable. Empty SkinnyPacks can be nested to maximize warehouse space and after use, the SkinnyPack™ can be easily crushed to optimize recycling space.
"The novelty this year lies in the fact that we saw packaging designs that added intuitive functionality in a way that was both simple and meaningful for the user," said David Luttenberger, CPP, global packaging director at Mintel Group, Ltd., USA and lead judge. "There's frequently a lot of technology behind seemingly simple designs, but when you can design packaging in a way that resolves an issue and is intuitive to use, that's value."
Gold winners included a squeezable mascara tube from AmorePacific in Korea; a sleek redesign of the aerosol deodorant can from Unilever; a flat, travel-size bottle for personal care items from MiiSTS; flexible and child-proof packaging from PacTech and Pesto Products; and functional medical tool packaging from Prent Corporation that helps the streamline catheter valve preparation and loading process before surgery.
Flexible packaging came under fire again recently when shareholders and activists demanded that Kraft Foods discontinue its non-recyclable Capri Sun pouches. But sustainable alternatives continue to emerge: Last fall, Tetra Pak launched the industry’s first carton made entirely from plant-based, renewable packaging materials; in December, Nestlé UK and Unilever began researching how to improve the recyclability of flexible packaging products; and in March, Amerplast announced it was developing flexible packaging material from sugar cane.