Bakelite, the first plastic based on a synthetic polymer, will mark its 100th anniversary in 2007, and natural polymers were understood a hundred years earlier. Where would food packaging be without plastic?
Rather than ponder the question, DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers (www.dupont.com/packaging), Wilmington, Del., prefers to give awards to the best use of plastic (not necessarily its own) in food and consumer goods packaging. Winners of the 19th DuPont Awards Competition were revealed in August, and will be honored again in a display at Pack Expo Intl. in Chicago's McCormick Place Oct. 29-Nov. 1.
Twenty-six international food and non-food packaging innovations received awards from among 135 entries. All of them use plastic to some degree. Only the food and beverage winners are included here. The highest award given each year is the Diamond Award.
This year there were two Diamond winners:
Tetra Wedge Aseptic Clear 200 Slim (Jumex Mundo Nautix)
Tetra Pak Inc. Research & Development
"The world's first aseptic transparent stand-up-pouch," this one was designed especially for children's on-the-go drinks. Judges said the package "has a unique soft and squishy feeling and see-through look, which 6-12-year-olds find fun and cool, according to market research in North America and Europe. The aseptic process ensures convenient, safe and portable products with high quality taste and nutritional value without the need for preservatives or hot filling."
Labatt Blue Cold One
Labatt Breweries of Canada, Alliance Labeling Inc., Shikatani Lacroix Design
This can is wrapped with a thin, insulating layer of plastic, which keeps beer cold for longer periods of time, protecting it from warm hands, condensation and outside temperature. It also makes the cans more comfortable to hold. The wrap is DuPont Cool2Go, a product made by placing a polymer insulation between two layers of DuPont Teijin Films' Melinex film.
Tradewinds Tea in PowerFlex container
Amcor PET Packaging, Tradewinds Beverage Co.
PowerFlex is the first truly panel-free and rib-free polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container that accommodates hot filling up to 185°F. The use of vacuum panels for hot-fillable PET containers, while accepted industry practice, has held back PET from penetrating premium beverage markets. Amcor developed an ingenious, patented base design that handles the vacuum while keeping the sidewalls free of ribs and panels. The base incorporates a unique diaphragm that draws upward as the liquid cools. The sidewalls create a container with a premium look and feel as well as one that provides maximum freedom for label size, material and application.
Heinz Fridge Door Fit ketchup bottle
Heinz North America, Product Ventures Ltd., Graham Packaging, Seaquist Closures
This redesign will change consumer perception of larger-size containers. The bottle and closure system was designed to provide consumers with a more convenient means of storing, handling, and dispensing ketchup from large (46 and 64 oz.) containers. The package provides consumers with ergonomic grip points while also fitting easily on the door shelves of refrigerators. And the custom-designed closure has a lock-back feature for improved dispensing control and cleanliness.
Chips Ahoy! chocolate chip cookies in Snack 'n Seal packaging
Kraft Foods Inc., Sonoco Products Co., Spear USA
Snack ‘n Seal is a patented packaging system that provides consumers with ease of opening, resealability and increased product freshness. The package consists of a thermoformed tray in a horizontal flow wrap, which incorporates an innovative reclose feature in the top panel. The top panel has a precision die-cut opening to which a pressure-sensitive label is applied. The package contains a widely used high-barrier film structure with technology that had only formerly been used for baby and home care wipes.
Barilla Restaurant Creations stacked pasta sauce jars
The shrink sleeve is the most popular label currently in the market because of its ability to fit interestingly molded, contoured containers while conveying brand image in a significant manner. Alcoa improved the graphics for more shelf impact and developed an "anti-wet" overcoat to virtually eliminate the appearance of air bubbles that could become trapped between the label and glass and be visible within the clear portion of the label. PET film was chosen because of the severe differences in shrink diameter down the length of the product profile.
Amcor Flexibles (Norway and Denmark)
The Amcor FlexCan is an easy open and recloseable, stand-up container that's ideal for products that typically are not finished in one serving or use. A peelable lapseal of polyethylene makes it easy to open, and an adhesive tape provides recloseability. A wide opening makes it easy for the consumer to get a handful of nuts directly from the pack or to pour some into a bowl. The design allows the packaging to be printed on all sides, including the bottom and top.