An independent jury of packaging peers have awarded one Diamond winner, five Gold and 10 Silver Awards in the 24th DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation. Two hundred entries from 21 countries were judged on excellence in any or all three categories: Innovation, Sustainability and Cost/Waste Reduction.
Collaboration was a common thread, according to lead juror Brian Wagner, vp, Packaging & Technology Integrated Solutions (PTIS), a HAVI Global Solutions Direct Co. "It wasn't just one company doing it by themselves; they leveraged their suppliers strategically," Wagner says, adding, "There was a real focus on consumer insight on the impact of packaging at shelf and throughout the user experience."
Wagner and fellow juror Michael Okoroafor, vp, global packaging and execution, H.J. Heinz Co.—plus representatives from all 16 winning companies—spoke at an afternoon event on May 10 to announce the winners prior to the evening's awards presentation dinner.
Okoroafor says he was impressed with the packaging ideas coming from emerging markets. "There was significant emphasis on innovating for growth and productivity. They had their eye on one of the biggest areas impacting the growth of emerging markets, as well as in the U.S. market through the recession: that is, affordability. It's not innovation if someone is not buying it," Okoroafor says. "Of course do quality things, but do it affordably."
Wagner points out that many winning innovations came about by looking at science, technology and packaging—all of those elements—in new ways. "There are no assumptions of what packaging is or the way it should look or feel. It can be reinvented," Wagner says. "It's exciting to see, looking around the world, how that is being done."
See for yourself. Presented here in detail are the Diamond and five Gold Award winners.
Film additive lets vacuum-packed meat look fresh
Winning the coveted Diamond Award, FreshCase vacuum packaging from Curwood Inc. extends the shelf life of fresh meat 10 times longer than store-wrapped packs—to more than 30 days.
Sodium nitrate (NaNO2) is extruded into the product contact layer of any film used in vacuum packaging, prompting a chemical reaction that allows the meat to bloom red—a color consumers associate with "fresh"—instead of the purple color typical with oxygen-starved vacuum packs.
The combination of longer shelf life with a more appealing look means the meat is more likely to be sold and eaten before it becomes spoiled and gets thrown out. This significantly cuts down on food waste and allows the meat to ship to areas further from its origin. The vacuum pack satisfies another consumer want: It eliminates leakers, keeping store and home refrigerators cleaner and safer from dangerous bacteria.
As an alternative to modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP), FreshCase uses 75 percent less packaging. It doesn't require soaker pads or the headspace needed for MAP gas, so it takes up significantly less space in transit and in display cases. According to Curwood, the amount of corrugate needed to box up the meat is reduced by up to 50 percent compared to MAP master packs or tray-and-lid MAP formats.
Bill Goerich, senior market manager at Curwood, tells Packaging Digest that FreshCase also works with ground beef chub film. "That's not a vacuum process, but there is still a negligible amount of oxygen in the chub so that it will work," Goerich says.
For flat cuts, the sodium nitrite generally is extruded into the top and bottom webs so both sides of the meat appear red. In cases where the non-forming film is black or otherwise opaque, the additive can reside in the clear web only. The underside of the meat will bloom fresh within minutes after a consumer opens the pack at home, Goerich says. It'll be obvious, though, when the meat has gone bad, alleviating any food safety concerns meat packers, retailers and consumers may have.
Curwood Inc., a Bemis Co., 920-527-7300. www.curwood.com
Pepperidge Farm hits a grand slam with technology transfer
When Pepperidge Farm needed to improve its margin and improve sustainability on its Pepperidge Farm Deli Flats thin rolls and Goldfish Sandwich Bread (Flats), Operations suggested eliminating the inner plastic tray of the tray-in-bag package that was similar to nearly all the other products in the bread aisle—polybagged and sealed with the KwikLok closure.
The packaging department swung at the pitch and decided to ditch the tray. But that's not all they did. Eva Peters, director of packaging at Pepperidge Farm, says they took the opportunity to see what else they could improve. The result of deep brainstorming is a horizontal flow wrap package, made of a film lamination with an adhesive reclose feature, which is commonplace in the snacks category but totally new to breads.
"I'm a baseball fan, so...it wasn't really a home run. I think it was a grand slam," Peters says. "It was more sustainable—65 percent less plastic. It's resealable. It's easy to open for youngsters, for mature people. It displays extremely well. And it runs on high-speed equipment that's flexible. Not only that, but it was a significant cost savings."
Pepperidge Farm developed the package—which consists of a film lamination of 70-gauge OPP/ink/adhesive/1.25-mil LDPE sealant—with its suppliers C-P Flexible Packaging (printer of the Goldfish SKUs), Printpack (printer of the Deli Flats SKUs) and Sealstrip Corp. (provider of the tear tape adhesive reseal feature). It launched Sept. 1, 2011, in grocery stores in northeast U.S.
• Improved opening/reclosing: The Sealstrip tear tape/pressure-sensitive reclose device is easy to open and close. According to Pepperidge Farm, consumers responded in testing that the new package was more effective than the previous poly bag in resealability. Glen Dupuis, senior program manager-packaging R&D at Pepperidge Farm, offers, "Testing went to failure but the reclose is effective a minimum of eight times."
• Increased shelf life: With high seal strength, tear resistance and increased barrier, the lamination extended the shelf life to 12 days. According to Dupuis, the previous package had a moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) of 0.67g/100-sq-in/day; and the new package has an MVTR of 0.3g/100 sq in/day.
• Improved shelf impact: Even though Pepperidge Farm removed the rigid tray, the stiff lamination and bottom gusset of the new package help deliver outstanding in-store merchandising. Printed in eight colors on a flexographic press, the package is designed to stand up on the shelf for a billboard effect, but gives retailers the flexibility of also laying it down and showing the end-panel graphics. Additionally, switching from a surface-printed monolayer poly bag to a reverse-printed lamination protects the package's graphics from scuffing.
• More efficient packaging operations: Dupuis says that, although they bought a new Ilapak 3000 series horizontal form-fill-seal machine to run the new package, the return on investment is significant—resulting in component and labor savings due to increased speeds and reduced labor on the line. "Depending on the count, this package runs approximately two times faster than the previous version, which has increased overall efficiency," Dupuis says.
• Reduced package size: With a smaller footprint than the original, the new package results in a 17 percent savings on outbound freight and requires less storage space in the plant.
• Cut costs in materials, labor and transportation: Eliminating the tray and the Kwik Lok closure saved $500 million to $750 million in materials, an additional $500 million to $700 million in labor and inbound freight costs. By cutting the thermoform tray, Pepperidge Farm was able to add a sustainability claim in a graphic burst on the back panel of 65 percent less plastic by weight. Because the new packs are smaller, 25 percent more packages can ship out in the same space. The result: fewer trucks on the road, reduced carbon footprint for the package and reduction in overall freight costs for Pepperidge Farm.
Protective partitions cost less, save space and labor
A traditional die-cut corrugated divider is bulky, heavy and labor intensive to assemble. The Soft Flexible Divider from ITB Packaging LLC is just the opposite. Husband-and-wife team Calvin and Julie Kortman designed expendable and reusable dividers, as well as the manufacturing process to make them.
The equipment, built by Pinnacle Converting, creates the dividers from material rollstock, cutting and spot-gluing multiple flat layers. Each layer is a different width, like a pyramid on top of an inverted pyramid—narrow at the top, wide in the middle and narrow at the bottom again. When two opposite corners are pulled, the divider pops up and squares up, opening the cells so they're ready for packing.
Dividers can be pre-loaded and glued into case flats. When the box is erected, voila! The divider is already in place. Or the partitions can be "Pop and Drop," in which the divider has a frame support and is simply popped open and dropped into the case.
Because the dividers lay flat, they take up less storage and shipping space, saving on transportation costs. And once they're opened, they save space in another way: Because of how they are designed and the material used, they provide ample product protection with smaller cells. This allows denser cell designs, meaning the same case can hold more products.
ITB returnable dividers currently are offered in two fabric choices. The expendable dividers are available in 26# smooth Kraft, 26# Nomar-coated Kraft, bubble wrap and closed-cell foam (including anti-static material). The company is continually testing other materials, though.
According to Julie Kortman, average savings for customers is 20 percent. The process requires no tooling and uses less and lighter weight material. The expendable dividers are composed of smooth Kraft paper and a layered Kraft frame which are recyclable. The returnable dividers are made to be reused over a number of years. Once they have served their usefulness, the fabric can be shredded for use in the automotive industry as insulation.
One of the major advantages of ITB dividers is their flexibility. Traditional dividers, whether they are expendable or returnable, are made with solid, unforgiving walls. In transit, parts bang against these walls, often causing abrasion damage. ITB dividers are made of soft, flexible materials that give the parts a cushioned journey to their destination.
Closed-loop recycling supports needy families
Brazilian retailer Grupo Pão de Açúcar set up a closed-loop recycling process to collect recyclables in more than 180 stores and then use them to make packaging for 32 Taeq store-brand products, such as White Tea (pictured), organic quinoa, toilet soaps, organic eggs, incense sticks, dried grapes and more.
The process not only benefits the company, it helps local families in need. Collected materials are donated to cooperatives made up of more than 660 low-income families. They sort and sell all materials (plastic, metal, paper and glass) but have an agreement to sell cellulosic recyclables to Papirus, a paperboard manufacturer that supplies the retailer's folding cartons, paper sleeves and tags.
Since 2010, more than 600 tons of fiber material have been collected and recycled into packaging for Taeq products. Aparecido Borghi, packaging manager at Grupo Pão de Açúcar, says, "One crucial condition at the beginning of the project [was] not to have a price increase. So the material price remained the same."
Grupo Pão de Açúcar designed a traceability program to make sure it buys recycled-content paperboard from Papirus that is made from material collected in its stores. "Then we can ensure that any time we specify a Vitacarta [Papirus' recycled-content product] for our packaging, a percentage of them came from our stores," Borghi says.
Setting up the reverse logistics system was challenging but Grupo Pão de Açúcar created a control using documentation related to governmental taxes. "All the commercial transaction in Brazil has to [be] appointed in a fiscal system. So we audit this system to ensure that Papirus acquires recyclable material from the cooperatives. And internally we have the control for all material donated to each cooperative in our company."
Details of the program are printed on the recycled-content packaging, as well as on in-store signs, to let consumers know that their participation in recycling is more important than they think and everyone can contribute with more sustainable habits.
Borghi tells Packaging Digest that the retailer plans to expand the program to other materials such as plastics and glass. "We have a pilot project in PET bottles being used to build returnable plastic bags. We have been working at the traceability program at the moment."
Papirus, +55 11 2125-3900. www.papirus.com
Unitizing with the bare minimum of materials
The Cube reusable packaging system from Smart Packaging Systems uses minimal materials to create a unitized load that can ship from the production line and be ready to display in stores. It's an open architecture shipping container that protects products from damage but allows them to be seen.
Designed for both retail and industrial applications, the patented and easy-to-assemble/disassemble system consists of three components:
1. Edges made of a lamination of recycled and virgin crossed fibers and glue formulated for humidity resistance, delivering a strong material that can be reused multiple times.
2. Hubs that connect the edges at the corners. Made of PP or ABS, the hubs can also be reused.
3. Strapping, either PP or recycled PET, that is automatically or manually applied.
The design enables manufacturers to palletize products with minimal secondary packaging, allowing the primary package to be seen. By eliminating corrugated cases (as well as the labor associated for storing/packing/sealing them) and shrink wrap, The Cube costs from 20 to 40 percent less than traditional pallet loads. Plus, it allows about 10 percent more product to be shipped per pallet and, because it doubles as the point-of-sale display, it eliminates the extra cost for that as well.
Other benefits include:
• Lower costs for retailers: The Cube reduces retailer labor to unpack pallets, open and empty corrugated cases, stock shelves and/or build displays. It also cuts disposal costs because there are no cases or shrink wrap to get rid of and The Cube components are reusable.
• Improved product visibility and accessibility: As a POS display, The Cube has visual impact because the primary packaging is the merchandising display, and consumers can remove product from all four sides and multiple levels of a display at the same time.
• Increased sales: Customer testimonials have shown that The Cube leads to higher product sales because it presents the product attractively and with supporting sales messages. The increase varies but it has generally been at least 30 percent higher than previous palletized displays.
The Cube can be stacked four high and offers high load compression resistance: 3,000 lbs for static loads and 1,300 lbs for dynamic loads. According to Manuel Fernandez, director of international business development at Smart Packaging Systems, it has passed multiple tests. "Shipping tests, warehousing-compression tests, fork-lift truck handling among other real tests. It also has been tested with ISTA's various protocols and more recently with the ISTA-6 SAM's testing procedure," Fernandez says. "The Cube was the first packaging system to submit results to ISTA under this new procedure and it passed."
Smart Packaging collaborated with a number of partners to develop The Cube. Acme Packaging developed the automated strapping machine; My Compadre LLC performed testing; Impact-Mfg helped commercialize The Cube; Incrementia engineered the corner hubs; and One Way Display developed different assembly options. Smart Packaging is working on robotic assembly, which is expected to be available at the end of 2012.
Acme Packaging, 800-788-0830. www.acme-packaging.com
Impact-Mfg., 800-579-4672. www.impact-mfg.com
Incrementia Inc., 512-858-2232.
My Compadre LLC, 512-334-1000. www.compadre.com
One Way Display, 450-477-2767. www.onewaydisplay.com
Smart Packaging Systems, 877-266-6681. www.smartpackagingsystems.com
All-plastic pressurized can uses air as propellant
The AirOPack aerosol from IPS Innovative Packaging Solutions features a patented pressure control device (PCD) that uses normal compressed air instead of conventional hydrocarbon chemical propellants to dispense nearly all of the fluid from the container, including viscous products and creams, from any direction. Replacing flammable propellant gas with air is safer, eliminates adverse effects on the environment and allows pressurized dispensing of products not previously possible.
The package consists of a separate lower compressed air chamber and the product holding area above. By splitting up the two components, the company was able to reduce the wall thickness of the extruded blow molded PET container while maintaining its strength.
The can is under constant pressure so there is a continuous dispensing rate—the pressure-equalizing valve can be adjusted to suit a range of different product characteristics. Because it requires zero strokes to prime, product can be dispensed immediately. Container height is 99mm, with a fill volume of 50ml.
According to the company, AirOPack units are made with 65 percent fewer CO2 emissions and 20 percent less energy than aluminum aerosol cans. They can be filled on regular packaging lines; and decorated with shrink-sleeve or pressure-sensitive labels, direct print or kept clear so consumers can see the product inside.
Super-Max, the world's second-largest producer of razor blades, is using the container for its new Enviro shaving gels for men and women.
Package manufacturer Airolux AG, a joint venture of IPS and Resilux, also won a silver award in the 2011 Edison Best New Product Awards for this development.
SILVER AWARD WINNERS
Visit www.packagingdigest.com/2012DuPontAwardsSilver for descriptions of these 10 Silver Award winners for 2012.
1. Austria: Laminate with Hot Foil Stamping, Matte Surface and High-Definition Flexo Print by Mondi Coatings & Consumer Packaging GmbH
2. Germany: Formpack Dessiflex Plus by Amcor Flexibles Singen GmbH
3. Japan: Ultra-Freshness Preservation Freezing System Using High "Electric Potential" and Electro Conductive Packaging by Mutsumi Chemical Industry Co. Ltd.; SUN Electric Co. Ltd.; Enshu-Kasei Co. Ltd.
4. India: Short Neck Jar for Confy by Kraft Foods, Cadbury India Ltd.
5. India: Project Galvanise for Ponds Talcum Powder by Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
6. Korea: Sulhwasoo Dahamsul cream jar by AmorePacific
7. USA: Kraft YES Pack by Kraft Foods; Exopack; Foth Production Solutions LLC; PE Intl.; The Food Group; Smart Bottle Inc.
8. USA: Weight Watchers Smart Ones "Eco-Friendly Tray" for Frozen Entrees by H.J. Heinz; Pactiv Foodservice, Food Packaging
9. USA: Tide PODS Liquid Unit Dose Laundry Detergent by Procter & Gamble and MonoSol; Plastipak Holdings Inc.
10. USA: InCycle CPET Tray and Cold Party Cup by MicroGREEN Polymers Inc.