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.
The FPA’s Emerging Leadership Council (ELC) oversees the Student Flexible Packaging Design Challenge and judged this year’s competition. “This year, it was exciting to see the transformation of the competition with new guidelines and requirements of the students,” notes competition judge, Jonathan Quinn, Director of Market Development & Sustainability for Pregis and co-chair of the ELC. “Each submission embraced those requirements and the winners over delivered on those requirements, particularly on the operational feasibility. I hope that all the students found excitement in this competition and want to ‘Come Grow with Us’ and be a part of the flexible packaging industry."
According to competition judge, Evan Arnold, VP of Business Development for Glenroy Inc., “This year’s entries elevated the competition from previous years. Students are thinking beyond just containing and protecting the product to improving the consumer experience. The students were focused on sustainable developments and how to move the industry forward. If this is a snapshot of the engineers to come into the industry, we are poised for some exciting times ahead.”
The first-place winning team is comprised of Ben Boie, Aria Elfering, Payton Klaslo, Aaron Kurschner, and Connor Walechka from the University of Wisconsin – Stout for their “Pistachio Pal” package. The judges felt that the entry showed how to improve on a current package in the market while keeping the consumer in mind. The package also looks to keep waste contained and provide a great consumer experience. The pistachio package allowed for the shells put in a small package within the pouch. The student designers also spoke about other products that could be improved with a package within a package, especially moving to all mono-packaged goods.
A packaging concept for microwaveable ramen was the second place winner, also a team of students from the University of Wisconsin – Stout. Ethan Myers, Riley Runnels, Hayden Zachgo, and Hannah Zastrow, also under the direction of Gary Borges, designed a flexible packaging solution that spoke to consumers on the go. The competition judges noted that the concept improved the consumer experience and showed how the package can become useful and engage with the consumer through the use of the product. The team also won an honorable mention for another competition entry they submitted, the “Vetchables” Flexible Veggie Tray, which provides a flexible option that expands the use of flexible packaging, improving the consumer experience. The collapsible feature will provide easier options for storage and shipping.
Kasie Fairbarn, Product Sales Manager – Blown Film for Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp., another competition judge, stated “Every submission challenged the status quo and was incredibly thoughtful and creative. From material selection to graphic design and branding to sustainable options, the packaging submissions gave the judges lots to discuss and ponder. We look forward to hopefully, one day, welcoming this group of students to our flexible packaging industry!”
The ELC judges for the competition included:
• Evan Arnold, VP Business Development, Glenroy Inc.
• Kasie Fairbarn, Product Sales Manager – Blown Film, Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corporation
• Amy Presher, Sales Manager, Profol
• Jonathan Quinn, Director of Market Development & Sustainability, Pregis
For the 2022 competition, FPA received 39 concept outlines from some of the top packaging design programs across the United States. From the concept outlines submitted, 17 were selected to continue to the development phase.