The top three winners in the 2018 Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) AmeriStar Package Awards competition use package-design ingenuity, engineering skill and materials savvy to address consumer needs, product protection and environmental issues.
Pretium Packaging won the Best of Show Award for its SureHandle PET container; Amway took home the Design Excellence Award for its Artistry Signature Select Personalized Serum system packaging; and The Coca-Cola Co. won the Sustainable Packaging Award for its 89-oz Simply beverage bottle.
Sixteen packaging-industry judges evaluated the 70 entrees in this year’s competition based on package innovation, economics, product protection, package performance, marketing and environmental impact. Visit the IoPP website to see all the 2018 winners.
Best of Show: Pretium Packaging’s SureHandle PET Container (see photo above)
Winning the Best of Show Award, for its large-format SureHandle container with integrated handle, was Pretium Packaging. The one-piece container is 100% PET and comes in 64-oz and 2-liter sizes.
Because the handle is part of the container, the package is easier for younger, older and physically challenged consumers to carry and pour from than pinch-grip and straight-wall alternatives.
“The integrated ergonomic handle/bottle technology is really the driving force behind the design of the SureHandle container line,” says Paul Kayser, president/CEO of Pretium Packaging.
The SureHandle container may be used for products with a fill temperature of up to 120-deg F, as well as for foods and beverages pasteurized via high-pressure processing (HPP). Potential applications include cold-pressed juices, sports drinks, dressings, marinades, honey and edible oils. The container can also be used for household and industrial chemicals, such as detergents.
Designed for mechanical strength, the containers can withstand stacking in multiple layers. Thus, they can be packed and shipped in shrink-wrapped trays rather than corrugated cases. By reducing secondary packaging materials, this format offers both an environmental benefit and financial savings.
And because the containers are made from a single polymer, they are easier to recycle than handled containers made from multiple plastics. “The handleware solution provides brand owners shelf differentiation and sustainable packaging attributes with its mono-material composition that seamlessly enters the recycling stream,” Kayser says. “The PET-only structure facilitates mainstream recycling.”
Unlike conventional injection-molded preforms, the SureHandle preform comes out of the mold with a solid handle integrated to its side wall. “We created proprietary enhancements to standard blow cavities to accommodate the preform,” Kayser explains. “We also addressed unique challenges, such as preform/handle positioning and blow-mold cavity design.”
Pretium licenses intellectual property from Practically Impossible Labs to manufacture the preforms and containers.
Next: Amway’s Design Excellence Award, with Coca-Cola’s Sustainability Award on deck
Design Excellence: Amway’s Artistry Signature Select Personalized Serum package
Packaging for Amway’s Artistry Signature Select Personalized Serum system won the Design Excellence Award, which recognizes outstanding structural and graphic design integration. The packaging enables consumers to create customized skin-care products by mixing a base serum with concentrated amplifiers that address issues such as hydration and wrinkles. Consumers choose up to three of the five amplifiers to mix with the base serum.
The amplifiers and base serum are packaged separately. Consumers mix them at the initial time of use by twisting the amplifier cap onto the base serum bottle and then gently twisting the cap off the bottle. The second twist, which drives the contents of the nitrogen-pressurized amplifier cap from Vessl Inc. into the base serum, creates an audible effect and dramatic visual display (as seen in the photos). To use the mixed product, the consumer screws a supplied pump closure onto the base serum bottle.
“This package is unique in the industry, as it allows people the ability to customize their serum to meet their personal skin-care needs. One of the most innovative features of this package is the audible ‘whoosh’ as the product is dispensed from the amplifier cap into the base serum. This provides a signal to the customer that the product is fresh and special just for them,” says Kristi Pelc, director of beauty product development at Amway.
For product protection, the amplifier cap is airtight; the nitrogen inside the cap protects the amplifier formulas from oxygen and keeps ingredients fresh. The same nitrogen-pressurized technology has been used in the past for tea and for a nutraceutical, but not for beauty products—until now.
Amway’s cosmetics plant required new manufacturing equipment to assure correct orientation of the two closure subassemblies used in the serum packaging. The new line also includes stations for gassing the amplifier caps and snapping components together.
“Due to the complex nature of this new program, every aspect offered unique challenges,” notes Stephanie Swint, principal packaging engineer at Amway. The challenges included “integrating the pressurized technology from our external partners, balancing pressure and fill parameters for optimal performance and shelf life, installing a new manufacturing line, as well as navigating complex regulatory environment for global execution of a personalized skin-care system.”
Finally: Coca-Cola’s Sustainable Packaging Award
Sustainable Packaging: Coca-Cola’s 89-oz Simply Beverages Bottle
The Coca-Cola Co. won this year’s Sustainable Packaging Award for its 89-oz Simply brand package, which is an extrusion blow-molded bottle with integrated handle. The new package uses significantly less plastic than the bottle it replaces and is also easier for recyclers to process.
These environmental benefits were achieved by switching the bottle material from extrudable polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG), which is resin identification code #7 (“other” plastics), to an extrusion blow-molding polyethylene terephthalate (EBM PET) that complies with code #1 (PETE).
According to Jordan Mattison, senior engineer at Coca-Cola, “This is the first commercial application” of the new grade of EBM PET. “This innovation allowed the Simply brand to convert its 89-oz package from a resin code #7 extrudable PETG material to a code #1 material that is compatible with the PET recycling stream.”
Converting to code #1-compliant EBM PET for the package removes more than 14 million pounds of code #7 PETG from commercial use, and replaces it with code #1. “Additionally, process and design optimization enabled container light-weighting, reducing plastic use by 1.4 million pounds annually,” Mattison adds. The new bottle uses 9% less plastic than the old one.
In the past, consumers often mistook the PETG package for PET, with the bottles subsequently ending up in the code #1 recycling stream. And that challenged recyclers, because the presence of PETG in a code #1 processing operation hinders throughput and efficiency.
The new package solved that problem. In addition, Coca-Cola had previously converted to an easily removable pressure-sensitive label for Simply bottles. Recyclers just wash the label off during processing.
Regarding the resin change-up, Mattison says that “successful execution was only made possible through close collaboration and a shared commitment to sustainability with our resin supplier Indorama Ventures, our converter CKS Packaging and our equipment OEM Bekum.”
Coca-Cola’s Simply Orange package also won the 2018 SPC Innovators Award in the Packaging Innovation category.