The first week of March, the FPA announced its 2019 Flexible Packaging Achievement Award Winners at a ceremony in Scottsdale, Arizona. Of the 140 entries from 54 packages submitted (some of which were entered in multiple categories), 14 were honored with achievement awards.
While improved sustainability was a focus of many packaging designs, consumer convenience was a primary theme among the 2019 winners. Additionally, outstanding graphics, graphics technologies, and multisensory features of flexible packaging have all made strides.
Finally, collaboration among multiple suppliers has increased, even across continents. This has allowed technologies developed in one region of the world to be applied in other regions, opening up many new possibilities to packaging designers.
The following table lists the five top awards (one “Highest Achievement Award” and five “Gold Achievement Awards”) for 2019.
|2019 Flexible Packaging Achievement Award Winners|
|Highest Achievement||Molson Coors – 12-Pack Cooler Bag||Bemis Co., Inc.||Portable, larger, reusable bag that goes from refrigerator to cooler|
|Gold Achievement||Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders Pouch||TC Transcontinental Packaging||Excellent flavor and aroma protection with outstanding graphics|
|Gold Achievement||Nutro Ultra Grain Free||Plastic Packaging Technologies, LLC||Flat bottom box pouch for outstanding casing, freight density, shelf presentation|
|Gold Achievement||Willow Pump Leak-Proof Pouch||Vonco Products, LLC||Disposable milk bag for breast pump with one-way valve for milk to go in but not out|
Clearly, convenience, product protection, and shelf appeal were all important highlights of this year’s winners. This is somewhat of a change from the top winners from 2018, where convenience, manufacturing speed, and sustainability played a greater role, as you can see in the following table showing top 2018 award winners.
|2018 Flexible Packaging Achievement Award Winners|
|Highest Achievement||Wells Frozen “Bunny Snacks” Box Pouch||Plastic Packaging Technologies, LLC||Carton-like “box pouches,” strong graphics, resealable|
|Gold Achievement||Autobahn Tear-Open Flow Wrap||Rollprint Packaging Products, Inc.||Fast line speed, robust seal, easy open|
|Gold Achievement||Compostable Peanut Bag||TC Transcontinental Packaging||For arenas stadiums, etc., easy inclusion into venue composting programs|
|Gold Achievement||ConservaCube Recyclable Flexible Plackage||Primary Packaging, Inc.||Four display panels, ship-ready, up to 55 lbs. capacity|
Looking at both tables of award winners, you can observe some clear, long-term trends in packaging design. Shelf-appeal and unique textures are becoming higher priorities for many brands. At the same time, ease of manufacturing and advanced manufacturing techniques are gaining importance as brands seek packaging designs that give consumers what they want through cost-effective technologies.
Stand-up pouches and cartons are becoming standard in some categories, especially when those stand-up pouches can be re-sealed to keep products fresh. Package characteristics that reduce shipping weight and make it easy to go from receiving right to store shelves are gaining importance as brands strive to reduce excess packaging and produce less weight (which can also save on shipping and fuel costs).
In short, the past two years have demonstrated that packaging design has never been more important. Consumer product packaging is now expected to perform not only in terms of minimizing waste and promoting sustainability, but also in terms of consumer convenience and better protection of the product inside. Fortunately, new technologies and new partnerships among packaging companies are helping brands take their packaging designs to new levels of performance and convenience.
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