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Hidden gems in food packaging 2016
Open up our chest of hidden packaging treasures. Photo credit: Designed by Kristian Stokholm, freepik.com

Hidden gems in food packaging 2016

We take a look back at the food packages that did not crack our lists of the year’s top-performing packaging stories, yet impressed our editors. We think you’ll find these six overlooked gems to be of top-notch quality.

The Packaging Digest staff took a look at the top articles posted in 2016 that may not have received the lofty PageViews of others in our year-end best-read lists, but that we felt were worth a second look.

Why? Because sometimes it’s not just about the numbers.

What measures did we use? Some 60 years’ combined know-how covering packaging editorial for the biggest publications in the business. Our picks are presented in no particular order as selected by Executive Editor Lisa Pierce and me, Rick Lingle, Technical Editor.

We lead things off with this unique perspective selected by Ms. Pierce that looks at how container and material selections are driven by processing. Consumers increasingly demand a safe food supply without sacrificing nutritional content, quality or shelf life of foods they buy. Luckily, many food processing methods are adjusting their operations accordingly. But how do these processing improvements change the product’s packaging requirements?

The man with the answers is Murat Balaban, who has more than 40 years’ research and teaching experience in food processing.

Next: This big cup spreads an ancient snack further than ever.

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Explore fresh food packaging ideas at WestPack, February 7-9, 2017, in Anaheim, CA

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This one was a unanimous choice because Lisa and I both had it on our food packaging shortlist: Shelf-stable hummus in a cup set to stir up the category contains a fresh new take on an ancient product.

Hummustir’s innovative kit-style packaging offers a new wrinkle in the category for on-the-go anywhere convenience: Shelf stable, flexible pouches of hummus packed inside a large paper cup that are opened and mixed at the time of use.

As a bonus, this editor examined a sample and taste-tasted the deliciously smooth results, all in the name of thorough reporting.

See what’s literally in store with an impressive snacks pouch.

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Explore fresh food packaging ideas at WestPack, February 7-9, 2017, in Anaheim, CA

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The Packaging Digest staff has been invited yearly to help judge the best in private-label packaging for Store Brands magazine. We continue to be impressed by the ongoing increase in the effort and quality put into the packaging in this market.

Exemplary in 2016’s competition were these beautifully printed packs from Tangled Tree brands that pushed generically-printed pouches into a remarkable level of appeal and attention to detail. Prominent and subtle aspects were masterfully combined in artistically pleasing way.

As a bonus, you can check out the other nine packs that were highlighted in Top 10 ‘right-on’ packaging designs for store brands.

Believe it or not, our next selection involves Amish farmers and track-and-trace technology.

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Explore fresh food packaging ideas at WestPack, February 7-9, 2017, in Anaheim, CA

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This recent post tells of the trial of a sophisticated, but simple-to use track-and-trace technology in a NFC-enabled Smart Label the size of a business card. Notably, the data is collected through a smartphone application to help the brand owner assess distribution conditions in order to optimize the packaging accordingly.

But that’s not even the wildest part: This case study involves direct-to-consumer ecommerce, camels and Amish farmers. This new school twist on an old school product, camels’ milk, is worth a second look.

Next: An update on a food issue that refuses to go away.

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Explore fresh food packaging ideas at WestPack, February 7-9, 2017, in Anaheim, CA

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Beginning May 11, 2016, companies were required to warn consumers about potential exposure to the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) under California’s Proposition 65 law. Because of several complicating factors that could have an adverse effect on the food supply, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) put in place an emergency regulation to allow the temporary use of a standard point-of-sale warning message for BPA exposures from canned and bottled foods and beverages. The California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the emergency regulation on Apr. 18, 2016.

Sorting through this quagmire is our legal columnist, George Misko, in California to allow temporary point-of-sale, Prop 65 warnings for BPA exposure.

The grand finale: A design served with a side of nostalgia

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Explore fresh food packaging ideas at WestPack, February 7-9, 2017, in Anaheim, CA

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I think it was my interest in reading the copy and enjoying the graphics on cereal boxes over breakfast as a kid that piqued my initial interest in packaging…and in chemistry; I mean, what exactly did butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) do and why was it added to the packaging to preserve freshness?

As an avid reader over these many years, I have also enjoyed good storytelling, a tack that, when used properly in packaging design, can engage consumers in a meaningful way.

I felt that this story-centered packaging redesign for Kashi is an ideal example of that, with a grassroots folksy approach that connects consumers with the people and stories behind the brand and in a completely natural way.

We tell the story in Natural storytelling helps redefine Kashi packaging.

To find it on boxes of healthy cereal brings me back full circle with or without BHT added to preserve freshness.

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