Now in its 28th year, 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. Nearly 200 entries from over 25 countries were evaluated by a panel of experts to determine the winners of the Diamond Award, Gold Awards, Silver Awards – and for the first time – Diamond Finalist awards and a Leadership in Innovation award.
Companies were honored for their innovative responses to worldwide demand for improvements in customer product experiences and sustainability, cost-efficient production technologies, and incorporation of simpler messaging. Increased recyclability and the use of less material were trends that carried through from last year’s competition. Winners are selected based on demonstrated excellence in one, two, or all three categories: technological advancement, responsible packaging and enhanced user experience.
The Diamond Award is the highest accolade, honoring the highest achievement in all three categories. The 2016 recipient was Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based Graham Packaging for its ThermaSet® Blow Molded PET Container for hot-fill, pasteurized food. Consumer goods companies have been seeking a package that significantly reduces shipping, breakage and other manufacturing costs, and that responds to retailer requests for a more environmentally sustainable product with lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and a reduced carbon footprint. The ThermaSet technology creates a container with properties far beyond those of standard PET: thermal stability above 300 degrees Fahrenheit, 50 percent greater sidewall rigidity and a 25 percent increase in oxygen barrier. ThermaSet is a 100 percent recyclable (PET code 1), lighter weight, shatter resistant, drop-in replacement for glass that offers brand owners high-clarity, rigid plastic containers while increasing convenience for the consumer.
In acknowledgement of the growing number of packaging innovations that excel in all three of the competition’s categories, six Diamond Finalists were named:
- Aptar Food + Beverage (USA) partnered with Daisy Sour Cream to create the Squeeze-Flexible Pouch. With its inverted, wedge-shaped pouch with an innovative flip-top dispensing closure, the Daisy Squeeze package helps eliminate risks of contamination from dirty utensils, minimizes wasted product and provides an easy-to-control and drip free dispensing system, all while fitting easily into refrigerator doors for easy access. The competition judges were especially impressed with the stand-out design and shelf appeal.
- Adani Wilmar, Ltd. (India) was recognized for its Lightweight Square-Shaped Edible Oil Bottle and Cap. The square-shaped bottle maximizes shelf space and boasts equal or greater strength compared to the oval containers it replaces, while its lighter weight reduces production costs by about 60 percent and logistical costs by about 15 percent.
- Coffeebrewer Nordic A/S (Denmark) offers premium quality, convenience and customization for on-the-go with its TeaBrewer and CoffeeBrewer premium whole leaf tea/coffee brewing system with a highly advanced sustainability profile. The coffeebrewing system combines the richness from a French press and the finer filter taste profile from a pour-over, while the teabrewer design allows natural whole leaf infusion teas to be steeped, resulting in almost exactly like that known from a good old teapot. The systems do not use of metals in the packaging materials, the pouches reusable, and the production is powered by wind-generated energy.
- Bemis Latin America (Brazil) reduces production time and offers more competitive prices for pharmaceutical manufacturers with its Printed Coldform for Doril Enxaqueca medicine. The first product to use coldform printed locally in Brazil, the entire area of the package can be used for product communication without stretching or distortion around the bubble that accommodates the medicine.
- Amcor Rigid Plastics (USA) designed Method’s sleek, transparent Liquid Laundry Detergent 53-ounce PET post-consumer recycled bottle. The ergonomic design allows easy grip and pouring and comfortable lifting of the heavier bottle. The new 100 percent post-consumer recycled PET container meets high standards for sustainable packaging, including a 35 percent lower carbon footprint and 78 percent lower life cycle energy consumption than a virgin PET alternative.
- OIA Global (USA) used a unique “Prizm” design for the NIKE Inflatables 2015/2016 Packaging Redesign that allows the ball and packaging to hold onto each other naturally, with minimal material, high product visibility and an intuitive reusable latching mechanism – all achieved with conventional corrugated fiberboard and a simple folding-gluing process. The final product demonstrates advancement in the packaging of sports balls while reducing cost, minimizing carbon footprint, enhancing product appeal to consumers, and elevating the brand to stand out among its competition.
“Ascending to new heights in packaging innovation, this year’s winners show how collaboration, innovation and packaging excellence converge to generate game-changing solutions that positively impact our lives,” said Dale Outhous, vice president of DuPont Ethylene Copolymers.
“We are inspired by the breadth of advances, including interactive user experiences, clean labeling, advances in safety and sustainability, and expanded manufacturing options and lower production costs, especially with digital printing.”
The five gold winners hailed from the USA, Germany and Korea, and included a water-based adhesive for retortable pouches, a cartridge pouch for craft- or home-brewed beer, an extended wand sunscreen applicator, a marking pain pouch, and blister packaging for pharmaceuticals. The Formpack® Ultra blister packaging was the second winning product from an Amcor company, and boasts a lower carbon footprint than its competitors due to smaller cavities for extended product shelf life and stability, reduced changeovers at the customer’s site, and lower associated setup waste.
Among the nine silver winners were Coca-Cola’s Christmas bow label, Tetra Pak’s Tetra Rex® Bio-Based Fully Renewable Chilled Carton, and Sealed Air’s Korrvu Lok™, an easy to open, recyclable packaging for eCommerce that is manufactured with fewer materials and eliminates the need for messy or excessive void filling materials, keeping the item inside locked in place and cleanly presented.
Judges awarded the new Leadership in Innovation Award to Melbourne, Florida-based MGI for its digital spot UV and hot foiling technology for next-generation digital package decoration, with advancements in customization, personalization and cost-effectiveness.
“Noticeable this year was a strong commitment to the greater good, with a focus shift from just package functionality to more solutions-based packaging, which provides consumers greater access to products that make their life better,” said Lead Judge David Luttenberger, global packaging director of Mintel Group Ltd. “We also are seeing a real demand from consumers for on-pack communication that is authentic, not overwhelming.”