Institute of Packaging Professionals Announces AmeriStar Package Awards

32 packages including 13 food & beverage containers, honored in packaging competition.

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

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The Institute of Packaging Professionals announced the winners of the 2011 AmeriStar Package Awards competition.

More than 100 packages were submitted for the 17 categories, which ranged from beverages to medical devices. Entries were not limited to any particular packaging material, but were judged on six criteria (listed below).

There were three main categories for food & beverage containers:

  • Food (any processed food package available through retail channels)
  • Food-Institutional (a package intended for use by hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals, etc.)
  • Beverage (packages for dry, powdered, liquid, frozen, alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages.

There also was a handful of other, more general categories where a food container could have competed (e.g., point-of-purchase display, industrial/commercial, promotional).

To be considered, packages had to be in production, not a prototype, and must have been in commercial production during 2010. Judging was based on:

  • Innovation (an application of a new idea or a creative use of existing ideas; use of new design, material or techniques; designs that successfully transfer packaging principles from other industries; and reflective of new marketing strategies).
  • Product Protection (protecting the biological, chemical and/or physical integrity of the product). 
  • Economics (addressing a specific economic concern and resulting in cost savings – which can be demonstrated by distribution improvements, packing/processing efficiencies, material standardization, warehousing/storage costs, damage reduction, machinability, labor costs and material costs). The design also should address the package's life cycle (reusability, material reduction, improved material strength, density improvements and recyclability). 
  • Package Performance (it must be easily filled, opened, dispensed, reclosed and stored; run on existing packaging machinery; easily integrated into the existing distribution system; and offering significant new benefits in handling, storage and warehousing). 
  • Marketing (contributing to product image or shelf impact plus consumer acceptance of the product; and if a redesign, the package's marketing appeal has been significantly improved). 
  • Environmental Impact (considering current and appropriate environmental concerns; eliminating, avoiding or reducing unnecessary materials; incorporating reusable, recyclable or recycled materials/systems where available; minimizing the potential negative effects the package and its components will have on the environment; and showing a "cradle to grave" life cycle review.

Food

Sprout Baby Food PackagingSprout Organic Baby Food
Entered by Ampac (supplier)
Called "a more sustainable alternative to standard baby food products packaged in glass jars or rigid cups," this flexible retort pouch delivers more of the product and less excess packaging to the consumer (pouches can improve the product to package efficiency by more than 90 percent). Sprout wanted reclosability in case the product was not consumed in one sitting, plus an easy-open feature to improve access.(Coincidentally, we featured Sprout's packaging innovation in our packaging trends article Pouches Becoming Go-To Package Style For Broad Range of Products.)

Hellman's E-Z Zip Pouch
Entered by Ampac
The Hellman's reclosable, stand-up pouch is a flexible package that replaces traditional cardboard packaging. It holds 75 individual-serving-sized mayonnaise packets and is sold by bulk retailers. The pouch reduces the amount of packaging required versus a cardboard box, yet provides a contemporary billboard for the brand on the retail shelf. It also takes up less shelf space and stores easily for continued use than a traditional cardboard package, the judges wrote.

Hormel E-Z Zip Pouch
Entered by Ampac
Similar to the above, this Hormel bacon package includes the vendor's E-Z Zip technology, an improvement over a standard zipper. The zipper closure is accessed without having to tear off or damage the header of the stand-up pouch.

Orville Redenbacher's Pop Up Bowl
Entered by ConAgra Foods
Another product we recently featured on FoodProcessing.com, Orville Redenbacher's Pop Up Bowl has a translucent top and bottom which allows the consumer to watch the corn as it pops. After opening, the patent pending package transforms into a wide-mouth bowl for convenient eating and sharing.

Tostitos Artisan Recipes
Entered by Frito-Lay Inc.
Frito-Lay introduced Tostitos Artisan Recipes with a premium, upscale, hem-sealed, gusseted, flat-bottom bag in the fall of 2010. This was done to reinforce the premium nature of the product.

Freschetta Simply Inspired Pizza
Entered by Schwan Food Co.
This package is unique to the frozen pizza category. It was designed in response to a marketing challenge to "reinvent frozen pizza packaging." It's a thermoformed tray with no outer carton, thereby using fewer materials. Consumers like it, Schwan officials say, because it is easy to identify on the store shelf and easy to open, store and dispose of. Retailers like it because it attracts interest in a category with little package innovation for many years.

Yo Baby yogurt

Entered by Stonyfield Farm
These yogurt multipack cups were among the first food packages to be made from plant-based polylactic acid (PLA). Previously, the cups were made from polystyrene, so this is a major move away from traditional petroleum-based plastic. It slashes carbon emissions by 48 percent.

Beverages

Minute Maid Orange Juice Redesign
Entered by Coca-Cola North America
Minute Maid has brought innovation to the juice category before. Most recently, the Coca-Cola unit transformed its shelf presence with redesigned large-size packages. A new 89-oz. bottle joins a redesigned 128-oz. bottle -- both delivering an easy to pour, easy to store functional and contemporary design, with imagery based on an artful composition of fruit. The packaging has been pivotal in building the brand's presence, improving shelf visibility and, most importantly, providing consumers with a preferred package, say the Minute Maid folks, while continuing to deliver great-tasting juices.

Moon Mountain Vodka
Entered by Diageo
Moon Mountain Vodka is crafted and bottled in small batches with special copper pot distillation. The label artwork is a combination of an artistic duotone image combined with a process texture map to simulate a fine wine paper look with an image of the moon. The copper-toned hot stamp speaks to the small-batch copper pot distilling method. Each label also features a digitally applied unique serial number with the signature of the master distiller.

Mountain Dew Sidekick Bottle
Entered by PepsiCo
In the summer of 2010, PepsiCo launched a new 20-oz. bottle specifically designed for Mountain Dew with the goals of enhancing brand image, improving functionality and gaining better shelf impact. This unique bottle was designed to work within the existing manufacturing and distribution infrastructure while using the same amount of resin as the previous bottle, and achieving material reduction by reducing the size of the label.

Superberries 100% Pure Aronia Concentrate
Entered by TricorBraun
The new package design improves upon the previous salad-dressing style package in many ways, from user-friendliness to eco-friendliness and increased cost efficiency.

Very Cherre Juice
Entered by Old Orchard Brands
Very Cherre Juice is made from red tart cherries, a permium product with a rich, bold flavor. It required a similarly bold and premium package, this unique glass bottle.

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