Welcome to our annual Packages of the Year cover story. This year our list is compiled from the entries into the Best of Food and Beverage Packaging Awards tied to the Best of Food and Beverage Packaging event, held in Minneapolis at the end of the month. The event will explore market approaches and best practices that go into creating successful packaging. Winners of the awards will be announced at the event, but here is a look at the entries; we have broken them into five categories: flexible plastic, paperboard, glass, metal and rigid plastic.



Dole Salad Kits

Dole Salad Kits demonstrate the first single use, fully-printed lidding application in the category that redefines shelf appeal for premium, single use tray salad kits. The printed lidstock provides an optimal billboard on shelf for Dole while offering the convenience of an easy open, EZ Peel® system, from Bemis. The application also reduces the amount of packaging by removing the previous hard-top lid, label and tamper proof seal. Since unprinted lidding film with labels were used previously with the hard top, the new system offers better sustainability.


Fisher Roasted Party Peanuts package

Fisher Roasted Salted Party Peanut PrimaPak™ package offers a flexible, stackable and reclosable “pop-up box.” Designed as a replacement for rigid cans, bottles, trays, jars and select flexible packaging, the package is lightweight and stackable. As a result, the PrimaPak technology maximizes manufacturing efficiencies and improves warehousing space and transportation demands. The package is produced from PrimaPak laminated rollstock, which incorporates Clear Lam’s Peel and ReSeal lid system and Prima Exoshell™ for added rigidity and vertical strength. The package is ideal for a variety of foods, such as nuts, cookies, candies, cereals and cheese. The print design covers all six panels of the package, providing a billboard effect.


Fromm Four Star Lamb & Lentil Recipe Dog Food

Fromm Family Foods takes a hands-on approach to preparing their food and they also design their own packaging. The new Greek cuisine inspired Four-Star Lamb & Lentil Recipe Dog Food packaging was designed in house and brought to life by Flair Flexible Packaging Corporation. The vacuum metalized polyester bag features a drawing of an Olive tree on a landscape in Greece by an artist at Fromm. The organic illustration symbolizes the all-natural ingredients in the dog food and the unique tone of green and the reflective nature of the metalized film faithfully mimics the translucent green glow of real olive oil.


Irresistibles Sliced Cheeses

The Irresistibles’ line of ready-to-use sliced cheeses raises the bar in packaging with luxurious food photography and gourmet bistro styling. Varieties are segmented with a color coded band, communicating product attributes to inspire recipe creativity. The sliced cheeses are sold in a resealable package for consumer convenience.


Mary Jane 5 Piece Bar

First created in 1914, Mary Jane is a beloved classic peanut butter and molasses flavored chewy treat. For years, this candy had been only wrapped individually. The new wrapper packs five individually-wrapped Mary Jane pieces into one single package, revolutionizing the shelf presence of this classic sweet and providing added value to the consumer. The Mary Jane 5 Piece Bar is an innovative way to give new life to a penny candy favorite in the competitive modern candy industry.


Miracle Cone

Miracle Cone, from Miracle Packaging allows dispensing in a convenient, measured, precise and squirt-free manner. The unique design and greater convenience of Miracle Cone enhances product identification, visibility and customer satisfaction. The patented design provides competitive advantage and added uniqueness to products. The stand-up package is made of flexible film and the barrier structure can be customized to the intended use. Product, such as sauces, salad dressings, baby food or energy drinks can be dispensed without leftovers sticking to the walls or bottom of the packaging.


NuplastiQ potato bags

Wada Farms, a large potato grower & packer in Idaho, approached Emerald Packaging to work on a unique film to package their potatoes. The film would incorporate a portion of potato starch in the plastic resin providing an outlet for otherwise non-marketable potatoes, a reduction in the carbon footprint associated with the plastic packaging used and a holistic approach to marketing potatoes. All this would need to be accomplished without compromising the physical properties needed to package potatoes for sale in a retail environment. After many trials, the product achieved all of their goals. The material itself is 25% potato starch and comes from the same fields/farms that are packing the end use product.


Oreo Fudge Cremes

Spring Design Partners was challenged to create specialty themed packaging graphics that communicated the indulgence of the cookies within the context of the winter holiday season. The illustrative design solution allows the cookies to communicate the fun and festive nature of the season while reinforcing the Oreo brand promise, “childhood delight.”


Polyethylene Stand-Up Pouch

The Dow Chemical Company, together with Printpack Inc. and Tyson de Mexico, developed, qualified and commercialized the first polyethylene-based stand-up pouch (SUP) for frozen chicken. Frozen food packaging has typically demanded multi-material films to meet the specialized requirements. Leveraging Dow’s portfolio of high performing polyethylene (PE) resins, the pouch demonstrated performance equivalent to multi-material film structures. The all-polyethylene structure offers an added value of being recyclable in communities with existing PE recycle streams.


Ampac Pull Tab

Ampac’s Pull Tab beverage pouch provides an alternative format to the traditional straw-punch pouch and provides hygienic protection of the straw hole with a tear away Pull Tab label. The pouch includes enhanced convenience in the “smart” opening of the pull tab as a result of the straw being glued on the label. By removing the straw, the label gets “pre-opened” at the same time; no “piercing” through the pouch membrane is needed. Because of this, larger diameter openings are possible up to 8mm. A stopper prevents the label from detaching completely so it can be reclosed. The film is a PET/FOIL/PE structure with a variety of applications. 


Quaker Warm & Crunchy Granola

Quaker’s Warm & Crunchy Granola delivers a flavorful breakfast packed inside clear, tri-seal pouches. These pouches provide excellent clarity, high barrier properties, printable surface and puncture resistance. Consumers can view the granola at retail through the carton’s window. Clear pouches traditionally require thick calibers for sharp objects, causing a cloudy film, but the Warm & Crunchy pouches maintain excellent clarity without compromising product protection. A Nylon-EVOH layer further prevents flavor loss and extends shelf life, as verified with rigorous performance tests. To make the package user-friendly, slight cuts in the top seals create an easy-opening tear.


Schwan’s Soft Serve Ice Cream

Schwan’s Soft Serve Ice Cream pouch, from Ampac features a unique easy-to-hold shape, which has the feel of holding an ice cream cone. The fitment was custom designed to enhance the consumer experience when the soft serve ice cream is dispensed out of the pouch in a swirl shape. Alternatively, the consumer can eat the ice cream straight out of the pouch. The pouch also has a recloseable lid if the ice cream is not consumed all at once; this is important as this premade pouch does not have a gusset. Consumer research indicated that consumers preferred single serve use over multi-serve use, which then drove the direction of the Schwan’s Soft Serve Ice Cream pouch.


Wisconsin Premium Cheese

Wisconsin Premium cheese, manufactured by Masters Gallery Foods, comes packaged in a stand-up pouch. The pouch provides consumers with market-friendly features like zipper reclosure to keep their shredded cheese fresh, tear notches for easy opening, hang holes, strong shelf presence and a fresh new design. The prepress was completed by Precision Color Graphics and printing was completed by Coveris LLC- Meat, Dairy and Specialty Packaging.


Wonka Chocolate Bar

Nestlé’s Wonka brand released new flavors of 100g chocolate bars wrapped in a convenient, resealable package. This solution guarantees a hermetic seal for product freshness and tamper evidence for consumer safety. The seal peels open the 360 degree circumference around the bar, creating a “lid” opening that can then be folded over and resealed, allowing the consumer to save some for later and keep it fresh. This design is an industry-first use of the Full Access Reseal-it (Pat. pending) solution incorporating Macfarlane’s Reseal-it® technology. Printpack’s rotogravure printing process showcased crisp graphics on metalized film providing shelf appeal.



The Amazing Mini Trifecta

The Kitchen’s Bounty “Amazing” Mini Trifecta offers consumers a trio of sample sized seasoning blends. The signature blends are each stored in a 2.75-ounce hand blown shot glass and then housed together in one paperboard package. The paperboard design, from Americraft Carton Inc., allows consumers to sample all of the “Amazing” all natural products in one package. The open-concept design allows the blends to take center stage. The handle also allows consumers to hold and carry the product easily and carefully.


Crystal Head Vodka

Crystal Head Vodka is a an ultra-premium vodka that does not contain glycol, citrus oils or raw sugars, and is distilled four times, then filtered seven times, three of which are through semi-precious crystals. A skull-shaped bottle designed by artist John Alexander holds the vodka. The outer packaging is supplied by Dura-Fibre, LLC and provides shelf standout designed to reflect the purity of the spirit. The smooth substrate is a durable, white-throughout paperboard without flute lines that provides a blank canvas for the graphics to stand out. The additional emboss gives the skull and title treatment a 3D effect.



Ecologic Brands produces paper bottles that offer 70% plastic reduction compared to rigid plastic containers. As part of the company’s mission to offer brands and consumers packaging choices beyond plastic and glass, the 3L eco.canister™ is another paper bottle that addresses the plastic waste issue in the production of powdered, granulated and dry food products. The eco.canister integrates a thin, recyclable pouch with a pulp fiber shell made from upcycled corrugate waste. This design not only turns waste-to-value, but also offers benefits throughout the supply chain because pouches and pulp fiber shells can be shipped flat.


Sweethearts - Color Your Own Box

Color Your Own Sweethearts is a new venture for the Sweethearts brand. This unique matte finish 1-ounce box features black and white illustrations on the exterior which encourages children to use their imagination to create their own custom design in any medium imaginable. A coloring contest for this product awards the winning children with scholarships and a chance to “name your own sweetheart” for the next valentine’s season. Color Your Own Sweethearts has turned the product into a much more exciting and interactive experience for consumers.


Quaker Real Medleys Bars

Quaker’s “Real Medleys”™ bars were developed around the concept that “Seeing is Believing.” Current cartons in the bar category typically include square facings and prevent product visibility. The “Real Medleys” carton, however, incorporates a die-cut window on the rectangular facing to showcase the individual bars, which are wrapped in a clear film. Internally, the carton’s minor flaps are extended and positioned to center the bars in the window. This hidden feature is established with the paperboard’s caliber and scorebend strength. Quaker’s innovative carton also delivers product protection, economic savings and strategic marketing.



Hémisphère Vin Rosé wine

The main design objective for the Hémisphère Vin Rosé was to create an attractive label for women, the main customers for rosé wines. The second objective was to convince consumers of the premium quality of this product. To achieve those objectives, design focused on two senses: sight (contrast from matte and brilliant inks) and touch (embossed printing). All those elements created a feminine design and a new sensitive experience for consumers compared to traditional wine designs.


Owl’s Brew

Owl’s Brew is the first tea crafted for cocktails. To help the product stand out in both the tea and mixer categories, designer Renata Sviridova, was to create a very clean, stylish, matte black bottle and pitch-black label with sketched in whimsical elements and details, such as the icons for each SKU. Owl’s Brew already had an owl image that the company wanted to use for the logo to represent wisdom. Sviridova incorporated this owl and added a tipsy owl on the side, under spirits-pairing recommendations. The bottle is a stock bottle and the labels are printed by InTouch Labels.


VersaFlow carafe

VersaFlow™ carafe, from O-I’s new Versa™ collection, is specially designed for sauces or dressings. Its signature feature is an integrated pour spout allowing food products to flow more smoothly. This unique easy pour design offers better directional pouring; eliminating mess caused by over pouring or splattering and reduces food waste. VersaFlow’s unique integrated pour spout offers a neater and easier pouring experience. The metal lug closure is deep skirted to fully cover the asymmetrical area of the pour spout. A soft sealing agent between the lid and jar aids in opening the jar with ease.


Wakaya Perfection Organic Pink Fijian Ginger Powder

Wakaya Perfection is a luxury suite of organic wellness products and is the brainchild of David H. Gilmour, the Founder of FIJI Water. Gilmour has introduced the 100% organic Pink Fijian Ginger Powder, which is cultivated by hand, in the virgin volcanic soil of the private island of Wakaya in Fiji. The packaging represents its precious contents with a weighted glass jar with caviar-esque medallion logo. Wakaya Perfection communicates its products use through three effective and descriptive words: Eat, Drink and Thrive. A fish-shaped wooden spoon is nestled inside each jar for convenient serving. 



Molson Canadian Cider

The Cider category is growing and Molson Canadian recognized an opportunity to enter it with a differentiated product and approach that leveraged its strength as a beer brand. The design visually communicates the intersection of masculinity and bold flavor. Molson Canadian beer equities reinforce the masculine personality while bold type, deep rich colors and textured illustrations of Canadian Apples are brought together in a simple, clean layout that conveys confidence and cues flavor.


Vented Beverage End

Molson Coors Brewing Company has introduced the new vented end can in Canada. The product of an exclusive partnership between Crown and Molson Coors Brewing Company, the vented end features a dual aperture opening, meaning it has two holes rather than the one hole found on traditional can ends. The end’s unique design includes a distinctive red tab and a button-shape depression mark to the right of the main opening. To use, consumers simply open the can as usual, turn the red tab so that it is aligned over the button, and press down to activate the second opening.
The second aperture allows air to flow into the can, offering a smoother pour.



Actual Fruit Cups

Actual Produce fruit cups, manufactured by Masterpac, are recyclable and keep contents fresh for longer shelf life. The lid features an easy to pull open tab with a center indent for stackability to streamline storage and maximize retail shelf space. Lids fit snug enough to avoid spilling or leaking. The cup, made from FDA PET resin, is designed with a molded bottom tray to accommodate fruit juice drippings and so the fruit does not lie in the juice. Side grips make it easy for consumers to hold and it fits nicely in a car cup holder. The exterior label has clean graphics; rear inside label is two sided for an interior message to consumers that shows as the product is consumed; different messages are featured in different cups.


Ionik Beverage

The design of the Ionik mineral recovery sports drinks makes use of all the advantages of shrink sleeve decoration. The full bleed flood and intensity of the color allows consumers to discern and make selections.


Arrowhead 15L 100% rPET water cooler bottle

Ice River Springs Water Co. Inc. owns the Arrowhead brand in Canada and was the key driver in launching the innovative 15L green 100% recycled PET bottle for use in home & office water coolers. In processing post-consumer clear PET bottle bales collected at curbside, green PET packaging is also being collected and recycled. Traditionally, this green material was “down-cycled” or ending up in landfills. With the innovation of the 15L Arrowhead 100% rPET bottle, Ice River Springs can now recover and re-use 100% of the green PET packaging it processes in its plant. The company will see a reduction in bottle production energy savings of up to 82% and a greenhouse gas reduction of 78% versus using virgin PET. Consumers can now include the recyclable bottle in curbside collection systems. For retailers, this package provides an easily handled package without the cost and inconvenience of in-store collections.


Fairlife Purely Nutritious Milk

Fair Oaks Farms sought to launch Purely Nutritious Milk in packaging that would set it apart from the milk category. An iconic bottle shape, a modern interpretation of a milk carton, was created to disrupt the category, while building equity for the brand. The cap and structural ribbing details pay homage to the brand mark. Aligning to a communication hierarchy for the Purely Nutritious Milk packaging posed quite a challenge. Through research, the company decided to feature taste and nutrition, namely protein, on the packaging. The final package is a stark contrast to traditional milk packaging.


La Chocolat Yogurt

La Chocolãt brand yogurt is differentiating itself with unique packaging and position. Johanna Companies, under its flagship La Yogurt brand, gives every chocolate lover, “Permission to Indulge.” The full 6-ounce shrink-sleeve cups employ a range of warm, chocolaty tones contrasting the La Chocolãt branding, elegantly rendered in metallic gold inks. Each flavor is flanked by a mouth-watering illustration. Even the lids, printed with Pantone gold metallic inks on foil, add to the premium chocolate cues —reminiscent of unwrapping the foil from your favorite piece of chocolate.


MicroGREEN’s InCycle Cup

The InCycle Cup is made from recycled water bottles and is made in the U.S. The technology that MicroGREEN has created gives these cups the ability to hold heat and keep cold. MicroGREEN has created a material technology focused on making the world’s most recycled plastic (#1 PET) into the most versatile foodservice material. Not only does the InCycle Cup insulate, it has a premium look and feel that is surprisingly cost-effective.


Sealed Air’s Simple Steps Plate

Sealed Air’s Food Care division has released its Cryovac® Simple Steps® plate, which delivers the convenience and simplicity of a steam-assisted, heat-and-serve meal in an appealing format. Featuring entrees and side dishes wrapped in a microwave-friendly, self-venting vacuum-skin package, atop a tray designed to resemble a meal plate, the plate offers a gourmet alternative with practical benefits. The package features heat-sensitive handles and easy-to-remove film. The Cryovac Simple Steps plate also delivers merchandising and presentation value designed to catch consumer attention. The plate’s vertical display, coupled with its transparent film, enables consumers to view each package’s complete contents. This tight exterior film also prevents freezer-burn or leaks that can hinder consumers’ meal experience.


Wexford Farms Warm Ups

Wexford Farms looked to Printpack to design a package that would serve as a bowl for mixing hot water with a nutritional oatmeal based supplement to accompany dry dog food. The flexible die cut lid is used for product protection as well as a billboard for high quality graphics, advertising this new dog food concept. In addition, Printpack also developed a flexible shrink label to hug the cup that is able to withstand the internal heat from the hot water additive and acts as a 360 degree area for more product promotion and information. The shape of the container draws the attention of customers on a shelf overpopulated by cans and paper bags.


ZIPZ Wine Package

The ZIPZ wine glass shaped PET package allows single serve consumption of wine in venues that normally would not allow glass. This ZIPZ wine glass is the primary packaging and the consumption vessel. The individual servings allow a more custom experience and prevents disposal of wine in partially full, opened packages. The package is easy to open; no tools are needed. The PET shrink sleeve protects the ZIPZ wine glass from others’ hands until the consumer is ready to consume. Once the sleeve is removed, the clear closure allows a further brand promotion experience with easy to identify wine variety and brand. The Lift’n’Peel brand induction seal, from Selig Sealing, is easy to remove. The closure acts like a coaster and can be used to reseal the package.