The Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) has announced the winners of the FPA 2018 Student Flexible Design Challenge. This year’s first place winners were a team of students from Iowa State University. Two students from University of Wisconsin – Stout tied for second place.

FPA’s annual Achievement Awards competition recognizes innovative flexible packaging from across its membership. The industry also believes it is important to encourage and recognize students who are working to become the next generation of packaging designers. For the 2018 competition, FPA received 28 concept outlines from some of the top packaging design programs across the United States. From the concept outlines submitted, 11 were selected to continue to the development phase.

This year’s entries demonstrated a high level of creativity as well as a strong understanding of the mechanical properties of flexible packaging materials and the manufacturing processes involved. While every winning entry was designed for a different product, they each found an ingenious way to apply flexible packaging to satisfy the growing consumer demand for convenient, easy-to-use packaging.

The judges for this year’s competition included Lisa Pierce, executive editor, Packaging Digest; Dr. Joongmin Shin, associate professor, Industrial Technology and Packaging, California Polytechnic State University; and Brian Wagner, co-founder and principal, PTIS, LLC.


First Place Honree

Wine-O Gelatin Shots 

Emily Hurban and Autumn Rudlong

Iowa State University

Wine-O is an innovative design of a classic product appealing to consumers of all ages. Typically, gelatin shots are made in a rigid polystyrene cup with a lid, but Wine-O is a flexible squeeze pouch designed to increase the ease of gelatin shot consumption with easy transportation. Instead of the bulky cups and lids, we now have a product that can be easily transferred to existing flexible package machinery for fast fill and mass production.


Second Place Honrees

Standup Plastic Cereal “Box” 

Ryan Knudtson

University of Wisconsin — Stout

For decades, breakfast cereal packaging has been inadequately designed, so the Standup Plastic Cereal “Box” would be the game changer for cereal packaging. This innovative design has the same benefits as traditional packaging, but uses less material and weighs less. This design also features an easy-open top that can be resealed to protect the product. The design still provides the same benefits as the traditional model as it can be stacked, provides a large billboard for graphics, and is easy to dispose.


Tree Hut Coffee 

Benjamin Huber

University of Wisconsin – Stout

Tree Hut Coffee has revolutionized the way ground coffee is stored and dispensed for drip coffee needs. The pouch is thin and attractive, allowing it to be easily tucked away or set out on the counter. The Tree Hut pouch also contains an in-pouch measuring system that allows users to measure the perfect amount of coffee into their included filters for a fresh and precise pot of coffee every time.