Meet the next generation of innovative packaging designers. A team of students from Iowa State University and two students from the University of Wisconsin-Stout won the Flexible Packaging Association’s (FPA) 2018 Student Flexible Design Challenge, demonstrating their creativity and insight about packaging materials and manufacturing processes.
First place went to Emily Hurban and Autumn Rudlong of Iowa State University. The duo created Wine-O packaging for gelatin shots. 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, the product can be easily transferred to existing flexible package machinery for fast fill and mass production.
There was a tie for second place in the FPA competition. Ryan Knudtson of the University of Wisconsin-Stout created a stand-up plastic cereal box. For decades, breakfast cereal packaging has been inadequately designed, so the standup plastic cereal box would be a 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.
Benjamin Huber of the University of Wisconsin-Stout also earned second place with his Tree Hut Coffee packaging. Tree Hut Coffee changes the way ground coffee is traditionally 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.
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, FPA chose 11 to continue on 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 were Lisa Pierce, executive editor of Packaging Digest; Dr. Joongmin Shin, associate professor of industrial technology and packaging at California Polytechnic State University; and Brian Wagner, co-founder and principal of PTIS, LLC.