The white plastic package is plain. No graphics. No slogans. No eye-catching colors. But the judges looked beyond the surface and saw properties worth noting.
“This eliminates the use of aluminum foil,” says Charles Marshall, a contest judge who is a principal at Priority Metrics Group.
“This is probably due to a logistics issue, too, where they can’t get foil,” adds judge Gary Borges, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. “So, this is how they got around the problem of UV (ultraviolet) block.”
“It’s actually lighter than aluminum foil, too,” judge Jeff Peterson, president of Peterson Media Group, chimes in. “… There are several advantages to the product. And, with today’s situation with aluminum, that stands out. It’s not flashy, but it stands out from the technical side.”
The judges eventually honor the White Eclipse UV-Blocking Packaging made by PAXXUS, Inc. with two gold awards—one for packaging excellence and the other for technical innovation—in the Flexible Packaging Association’s (FPA’s) 67th Annual Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards Competition.
Addison, Illinois-based PAXXUS, Inc., designed the package to “protect sensitive microfluidic reagents inside diagnostic devices until the point of use without the use of aluminum foil,” according to the entry submitted with the package.
The PAXXUS entry is among 14 gold award winners from the contest that included six categories: packaging excellence, technical innovation, expanding the use of flexible packaging, shelf impact, printing, and sustainability.
Gold Awards—Packaging Excellence and Technical Innovation
The White Eclipse UV-Blocking Packaging is one of only two packages to win a gold award for technical innovation, with the other being the package by Glenroy, Inc. that took the Highest Achievement Award.
“The genesis for the development of White Eclipse was an inquiry from a customer for a packaging material that would provide what seemed to be conflicting and insurmountable requirements,” says Dhuanne Dodrill, the company’s president and CEO. “The PAXXUS innovation process encourages creativity and collaboration, and our team of engineers and scientists love a good challenge.”
The company set out to clearly understand the customer’s requirements—ultra-high moisture barrier, virtually complete UV and visible light barrier, and compatibility with radio-frequency identification, Dodrill adds.
“The team was able to build a structure, one layer at a time, that was able to address these conflicting requirements,” she says. “White Eclipse is another example of how our deep knowledge and understanding of material science has led to advances in packaging material solutions.”
Gold Awards—Expanding the Use of Flexible Packaging
When it came to expanding the use of flexible packaging, the judges said they were looking for examples where rigid packaging was being replaced while offering other features, advances, or potential. They liked the way the MegaFood® Women’s Ensemble Preconception Daily Multipack offers a flexible packaging alternative to cartons or bottles and was designed to save costs. The package includes one large bag with single-use packets inside that provide daily doses of dietary supplements.
“This one could expand into the use of daily doses for vitamins,” Borges says. “And there is a market for that, especially in health food stores. I think this could do extremely well. It is a pretty simple idea. And it’s pretty cool.”
The MegaFood Women’s Ensemble Preconception Daily Multipack is made by Nosco at its plant in Carrollton, Texas.
“You can replace a whole lot of bottles with that,” Borges notes.
The Scotts Miracle-Gro® Rescue™ Outdoor Plant Potion™ is another gold winner in expanding the use of flexible packaging. The stand-up pouch holds three single-use sachets, making it an alternative to rigid containers and a good option for e-commerce where spills are always a concern, the judges say. The package made by ProAmpac at its plant in Neenah, Wisconsin, won a silver award in packaging excellence, as well.
“I really do like the Miracle-Gro package,” Peterson says, adding that it rated high in other categories, too. “It’s definitely high in ‘expanding the use.’”
Gold Awards —Shelf Impact and Printing
To sort through the many entries competing for shelf impact awards, the judges lined up the finalists to see how they compared. “It will be good to lay these out, and the ones that will be our first impression will be the ones with the biggest impact,” Marshall says, as the packages are placed side by side at the end of a table. “Where do your eyes go when you look at those?” Some packages are better when they are alone but don’t stack up with the direct comparison to competitors, he and others say.
The package for the Pulmuone Beef Japchae Korean Noodles takes one of the gold awards for shelf impact. “That is very well done,” Peterson says. “That looks like you could eat it right there.”
PPC Flexible Packaging, which makes the package at its plant in North Salt Lake, Utah, says it uses a patented anilox and screening technology called Project Blue. “The image on the package looks as realistic as possible,” the entry says.
Marshall says the package is particularly impressive because of where it will be located. “You are in your freezer section where you are going to have a lot of cartons and a lot of pretty mundane prints.”
Another gold award for shelf impact goes to Cadbury Caramello Miniatures Stand-up Pouch, 8 oz. It is manufactured by Printpack at a plant in Elgin, Illinois.
The judges also noted the overall high quality of the printing on numerous entries. For example, Peterson points out that companies are using printing to give flexible packaging the look and feel of paper.
High-quality printing leads to three gold winners: PPC Flexible Packaging for its Nichols Farms® Jalapeño Lime Pistachios package made at a plant in Payson, Utah; American Packaging Corporation for its Golden West Food Group Meat District® Gobbler Frozen Patties made at a plant in Columbus, Wisconsin; and the Vualá® Sorpresa Bold, 65 g manufactured by Printpack at a plant in Mexico.
“I think we can rate this pretty darn high on the printing,” Peterson says about the Vualá Sorpresa Bold, 65 g. “This one is just super cool, the way they did the package interior.”
Thomas A. Barstow is senior editor at FlexPack VOICE®.