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Flexible Packaging’s Top 20 Breakthroughs of the Year

See which packaging designs took top honors and won awards from among more than 200 entries in the global FPA awards.

Rick Lingle, Senior Technical Editor

March 10, 2021

20 Slides

Efficient, sustainable, and more global than ever, the flexible packaging market is on a roll that's reflected in the annual awards competition of the Flexible Packaging Association. The FPA announced March 10th the winners of its 65th Annual Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards Competition in a live-streamed presentation.

75 package entries were submitted for the competition, yielding a total of 201 entries counting multiple categories. The 20 packages that appear in the following slideshow gallery were honored with 27 Achievement Awards.

Judges for this year’s competition were Cory Francer, Editor-in-Chief, Packaging Impressions; David Luttenberger; Global Packaging Director, Mintel Group Ltd.; and Keith Vorst, Ph.D., Director, Polymer and Food Protection Consortium, Iowa State University.

Despite the pandemic, there were a healthy, even unexpected number of entrants.

Technical innovation and sustainability continue to be a focus of the competition.

“We saw some packaging that was what I would call the total package for new ideas and innovations,” says Vorst. “It’s not just one component, but companies are looking at all the package components now, and that’s exciting.”

“Unique and clever.”

Luttenberger notes “the technological innovations we saw this year were really unique, clever, and practical constructions, looking at the advancement of barriers, particularly for recyclable materials and extending shelf life.”

There was also an increase in international entries, including from the Middle East, Europe, and Asia as well.

In many cases, those “brought some new technology to the game,” observed Francer. “We're seeing a different approach for packaging that we wouldn't typically see. Some of the entries that were entered were really impressive.”

The printing quality also impressed judges.  

“Amazing things are being done with the graphics in flexible packaging,” says Francer.

Another trend seen for the competition is companies focusing on user experience for packaging.

According to Luttenberger, “flexible packaging converters are recognizing that the end-user is not always a consumer — it could be an operating room technician, an EMT, or someone in a warehouse. Making sure that the packaging works as it's supposed to, and making sure that the product maintains safety, efficacy is protected, is easy to open, can tell us when it's already been opened is important. We have to think about the user experience in the context with who the user is, not just a shopper in a store or someone preparing a meal at home, for instance.”

The slideshow gallery starts with the first slide of the Highest Achievement Award followed by other winners in alphabetical order.


About the Author(s)

Rick Lingle

Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday

Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.

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