The best in plastic packaging

Food products and their packages -- as well as the technology, processes, equipment and converters behind them -- dominate the DuPont Awards.

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By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

Each year, DuPont sponsors the DuPont Awards to honor innovation in plastic packaging. While the awards span the packaged goods sector, food processing is usually the most heavily represented category.

The awards honor not just the food and drug marketers but the technology, processes, equipment and converters who participate along the process in coming up with a winning package. All packages involve the use of plastic.

The packages deemed most innovative receive a Diamond Award. This year there were three, two of them in food:

 

  • Folger’s AromaSeal coffee canister (winners are Procter & Gamble, Liquid Container Co., Amcor Flexibles, Erie Plastics and Multi-Color Corp.): The judges called it “a packaging paradigm shift for coffee, replacing a 150-year tradition of metal cans.” The six-layer, co-extruded canister is dent- and ding-resistant, lightweight and stackable. “The molded-in handle, a value-added packaging feature, enhances the consumer’s coffee experience,” the committee noted.
  • International Delight coffee creamer closure (Morningstar Foods, Owens-Illinois Closure & Specialty Products): This custom-designed dispensing closure, made of injection-molded polypropylene, is ergonomically designed and provides for one-handed opening and closing. A toggle-closing end provides a clean shut-off with minimal drip and no residue while providing a secure seal for refrigerator storage.
The third Diamond Award winner was a blister pack pharmaceutical package from GlaxoSmithKline.

Folger's AromaSeal coffee canister International Delight coffee creamer closure

The Gold Award winners among food products are:

  • Ritz Chips (Kraft Foods, Printpack): Just as the Ritz brand made a groundbreaking transition from crackers into chips, the package was similarly remarkable. The flat-bottom, stand-up pouch affords a pealable easy-opening with a peel-off tab for reclosure. The side-gussetted design gives easy access to the chips. The tandem adhesive lamination structure has high-impact graphics, product shelf life barriers and high-speed machinability.
  • Ensure nutritional drink (Ross Div. of Abbott Laboratories, Crown Cork & Seal, Owens-Illinois Plastics Group, American Fuji Seal, Bemis Flexible Packaging, Weyerhaeuser, Innovations & Development Inc.): The structural design of the bottle for this adult nutritional liquid provides strength against stresses encountered during thermal processing. The integrity of the hermetic seal is ensured through a closure system in combination with a unique bottleneck finish. More consumer convenience comes through its reclosability, portability and improved grip.
  • La Piara pate spreads (Nutrexpa SA, EDV Packaging Solutions): These Spanish companies teamed to create a polypropylene barrier, thermoformed cup that prevents oxygenation and ultraviolet light degradation and withstands sterilization while providing a highly transparent, anti-static finish.
 Ritz Chips  Ensure nutritional drink

Silver award food winners are:

  • Plumrose/Danola Deli Classic meats (Plumrose USA, Curwood Inc., Zip-Pak/an ITW company, CFS North America): The judges called this one of the first formable horizontal form-fill-seal packages to incorporate a slider zipper, which provides easy access to the product. Precise scoring technology ensures directional tear. A hermetically sealed “hood” around the zipper creates the added benefit of tamper-evidency. The polyethylene terephthalate film is formed on a three-lane thermoform/fill-seal machine.
  • Alcan/Pechiney breathable Swiss cheese film: This film is designed to allow gas to escape but to keep oxygen out. A proprietary combination of materials allows the optimal barrier/permeation giving Swiss cheese a six-month shelf life.
  • Hassia Bottle Cup: This German-based supplier with an American subsidiary created thermoformed cups of flat polystyrene or multilayer material sheet. The cups are formed, filled and closed on the same machine and can be used for yogurt, fitness drinks, sauces and dressings, among others. An aseptic version can yield a shelf life of more than one year.
  • Heinz Premium Condiments (Heinz, Alcan/Pechiney): This stand-up pouch for restaurant or foodservice use creates a premium look for these jellies. The flexible film packaging doubles as the label and uses eight-color flexographic printing.
Plumrose/Danola deli classic meats (Curwood film, Zip-Pak closure) Alcan/Pechiney's breathable Swiss cheese film Hassia's Bottle Cup (there is also an aseptic version)

The committee also gave two special citations this year for entries that were so unique the judges felt they deserved special recognition. One was for a food package.


Cargill Dow LLC, Gibbs & Soell and Wilkinson Manufacturing were honored for NatureWorks PLA, a clear packaging material made of corn derivatives rather than fossil fuels. The carbon and other elements in natural plant sugars are used to make the plastic, called polyactide, through a process of fermentation, separation and polymerization, and the resulting container can be composted in industrial facilities. The package is being used currently in retail-prepared products, such as deli, bakery and produce department items.

The DuPont awards have honored international innovations in food processing and packaging since 1986. DuPont sponsors the competition along with the National Food Processors Assn. and Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Assn. in Gloucestershire, England. Entries are judged on the basis on innovation, breadth of application, impact on the industry and consumers, marketing innovation and impact on consumer or industry buying decisions. All entries must use plastic but not necessarily a DuPont plastic.

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