Late last month, the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) held its 71st annual North American Paperboard Packaging Competition awards banquet, honoring 145 folding carton entries from 32 companies. The banquet was held during PPC's 2014 Fall Meeting and Leadership Conference in Atlanta.
The competition took place over three days in July and was adjudicated by seven packaging experts, including package designer Dick DePaul, retired packaging executive Gary Miller, former associate publisher of Package Design magazine; John Lyons III, senior packaging scientist at Mars Chocolate Joanne Grennille; Associate Professor of Packaging Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology Sandra Krasovec; Professor of Packaging at Michigan State University Diana Twede; and Adjunct Professor of Packaging at the Rochester Institute of Technology Bill Wynkoop.
"It was fascinating to watch the judges pore over each package," PPC President Ben Markens says. "As the judging went on, replete with hands-on examination and lively discussion, it became clear just how versatile paperboard is!"
As compared to the 2013 competition, this year saw a substantial increase in entries into the Eco category. To accommodate this influx, the judges evaluated these entries first, carefully considering how each package may have reduced or eliminated the need for less sustainable substrates and/or saved on energy or materials, or utilized clean production processes.
The judges next turned their attention to the Innovation category entries, looking for unique and innovative structural designs as well as for the use of cutting-edge substrates, inks, laminations, coatings, and/or converting processes.
Finally, the judges evaluated the General category entries, considering structural design, the success of stated printing and converting processes in meeting client objectives, impact on manufacturing, distribution, storage, and warehousing, as well as brand enhancement and retail shelf presence. In essence, they looked at the "entire package."
The Top Awards
This year's top award, the Paperboard Package of the Year, was presented to Cascades Boxboard Group, Québec, for its 12-Pack Hybrid Egg Carton. Forgoing the traditional molded pulp or plastic lid for a striking SBS lid, this new egg carton features 45 percent more graphic space for marketing and branding. Furthermore, its non-glare finish allows consumers to easily view the package when displayed in bright supermarket refrigerators. The container creates minimal disruption down the supply chain, as it fits industry standard cases and packs and was designed to work on existing egg graders.
Ontario-based Boehmer Box was awarded Folding Carton of the Year for its Choco Zoo carton, which engages consumers with its whimsical, eye-catching design that features a curved score that continues around the front panel to create a trunk, as well as large side windows that reveal the candy inside. The carton can be transformed into a child's piggy bank once the chocolate is consumed.
Rigid Box of the Year went to Bert-Co Industries, Inc., Los Angeles, for its rigid box package for the DVD of A&E's recent television hit, Bates Motel (based on the classic Hitchcock film Psycho). Integrating the show's plotline into its structural design, the box highlights protagonist Norman Bates' split personality: one half of the rigid outer sliding box features Bates' face while the other half features that of his overbearing mother. The result is a creepy and perfectly aligned split-face front image that provides interactivity as consumers slide open the split front to reveal the DVD case nested inside.
A Judges' Award was given to Niles, Ill.-based JohnsByrne, Co. for its American Icon Ralph Lauren rigid box. To create the look and texture of wood, the design team leveraged reticulation along with a dulled back, high-gloss coating, as well as on-press reticulation and post-press embossing of the overwrap.
A second Judges' Award went to Keystone Paper & Box Co., Inc., East Windsor, Conn., for its Lighthouse Rum Cake cartons. This family of boxes was designed to accommodate the 5, 16, and 33 oz cakes. Each uniquely shaped, pyramidal package features beautiful costal images, enhanced by foil embellishments and nautical-themed cutouts. When stacked, the cartons resemble a tower or lighthouse, making for a great gift set.
Atlanta-based Graphic Packaging International received the Innovation Award for its Rustico Bakes Tray. This hybrid paperboard/plastic tray, designed to evenly heat Bertolli's frozen dinners, incorporates the benefits of both substrates while providing material reductions and optimization. To create the tray, the paperboard is laminated, demetalized, printed, and cut, and is then married to a plastic frame via injection molding. The addition of paperboard provides for a 45 percent reduction of non-renewable plastic as compared to traditional CPET trays.
Graphic Packaging also took the Eco Award this year with its Clementine FruitPack, a breakthrough design for packaging produce. This carton features a large billboard with appealing graphics, and has a built-in handle for easy carrying, stacking, and displaying at retail. A sustainable, visually appealing, and practical design, this package may be the harbinger of a bright future for paperboard packaging in the produce market.