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IoPP Announces 2023 Professional AmeriStar Winners

Twenty-four professional and five student submissions were selected as recipients of the AmeriStar Award, a design competition in the packaging industry produced by the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP).

Best in Show—Annie's Certified Compostable Printed Shelf Stable Mac & Cheese Cup from General Mills.
Best in Show—Annie's Certified Compostable Printed Shelf Stable Mac & Cheese Cup  from General Mills.

A panel of judges from diverse packaging industry segments evaluated package entries across 17 categories for professional and student awards and the program's prestigious Best in Show.

The winners of the 2023 Professional AmeriStar Awards are:

Best in Show
Annie's Certified Compostable Printed Shelf Stable Mac & Cheese Cup  from General Mills (shown above)—This cup revolutionizes single-use packaging with technical innovation. Utilizing wet molded fiber, traditionally unused for shelf-stable products, it equals plastic thermoform in functionality. Advanced features include direct print flexographic graphics, renewable spray coating for grease and water protection, and a 45% reduced carbon footprint. Enhanced consumer experience includes improved convenience, comfort, and warmth retention. Facebook research guided a consumer-friendly communication strategy, highlighting the cup's appealing look and emphasizing its eco-friendly benefits. Launched in March 2021, the package continues to evolve based on real-world feedback, deserving of a Best in Show award.

Cosmetics
Bobbi Brown Luxe Lipstick Repack  from Estee Lauder Companies (shown)—Deserving of an AmeriStar award for its technical and eco-friendly excellence, this package’s modern design is inspired by the NYC skyline. With sleek, sharp lines and a visually elongated form, the package elevates the lipstick's appearance. Notably, it prioritizes sustainability through a refillable, all-aluminum, and magnet-free mechanism, featuring 90% Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) content in outer cap and base parts.Cosmetics—Bobbi Brown Luxe Lipstick Repack from Estee Lauder.Cosmetics—Bobbi Brown Luxe Lipstick Repack  from Estee Lauder. 

Design Excellence
Perflex's Grab-N-Go Shrink Bag for Bulky Meat and Poultry from Amcor Flexibles North America (shown)—This package’s technical prowess and market impact redefines the industry by offering the first-ever effective, handled shrink bag for heavy meat and poultry products. With a simple, strong 3-hole handle and high-impact printing, it provides brand differentiation and convenience for consumers. The innovative one-piece design streamlines production, delivering significant savings and sustainability benefits.  Design Excellence—Perflex's Grab-N-Go Shrink Bag for Bulky Meat and Poultry from Amcor Flexibles North America.Design Excellence—Perflex's Grab-N-Go Shrink Bag for Bulky Meat and Poultry from Amcor Flexibles North America.

Sharpie Ultimate Collection Pack from Newell Brands and WestRock —this collection pack reimagines packaging with technical brilliance. Bold, bright, and reusable, it highlights upgraded materials, hinged wings, and a striking design to enhance the user experience. Its unique shape and premium structure create powerful shelf impact, effectively conveying the Sharpie brand. These innovative features and artistic appeal make it a winning AmeriStar entry.

Thermoformed PCR Installation Tool  from Plastic Ingenuity and Otter Products—This innovative redesign enhances the user experience by simplifying screen protector installation. The versatile tray accommodates various phone sizes with precision, reducing SKUs and cost. Eco-friendly PCR Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) material furthers the package's appeal, aligning with Otter's commitment to sustainability. A functional, user-friendly, and environmentally conscious packaging solution.

Sol de Janeiro Rio Deo Deodorant Stick  from Viva Healthcare Packaging—This package earns an AmeriStar award for its cheerful, eco-friendly, and functional packaging solution that supports the circular plastic economy. Utilizing in-mold label technology, it boasts high-definition, shower-friendly decoration on 100% post-consumer recycled material. The refill cartridge system enhances usability, enabling easy refills and reducing plastic waste by over 50%. 

Food (Refrigerated)
The Crystal Seal Cravings PET deli cups  from Placon—These EcoStar post-consumer recycled PET cups offer clear product visibility and a patented tamper-evident base-to-lid closure mechanism for enhanced safety. Their unique design facilitates stacking, easy use, and reusability, making them perfect for on-the-go deli and prepared food products - a game-changer in convenience and safety for consumers and retailers. 

Kirkland Signature 13% PCR Saddle Packs from TC Transcontinental Packaging (shown)—Incorporating 13.4% PCR content without compromising package performance, this innovative packaging solution diverts plastic waste from landfills. The multi-layer coextruded film maintains product protection and freshness while supporting a circular economy, aligning with TC's commitment to sustainability. Food (Refrigerated)—Kirkland Signature 13% PCR Saddle Packs from TC Transcontinental Packaging.Food (Refrigerated)—Kirkland Signature 13% PCR Saddle Packs from TC Transcontinental Packaging.

Food (Shelf Stable)

Old El Paso Tortilla Pockets Package  from General Mills—Earning an AmeriStar for its advancements in protecting product integrity and extension of shelf life, this package’s U.S.-patented design combines a rigid polymer bottom with a flexible top, offering 8 Tortilla Pocket products in two cavities, each sealed with an easy peel opening. The clever paperboard sleeve enables vertical standability while providing marketing space. Additionally, the package's split-apart feature enhances consumer versatility and efficiency in manufacturing and logistics. 

QUADFLEX Recyclable Package from NestlĂ© Purina and ProAmpac (shown)—This innovative packaging solution earns its AmeriStar award with its transition from multi-layer to mono-material packaging, reducing virgin plastic use by one-third. The patent-pending mono-material is prequalified for recycling programs, providing enhanced sustainability, and maintaining machinability on existing equipment. The pouch offers a premium look with excellent branding opportunities and environmental benefits, including recyclability in polyethylene streams - a win-win solution for sustainability and performance in the packaging industry. Food (Shelf Stable)QUADFLEX Recyclable Package from NestlĂ© Purina and ProAmpac.Food (Shelf Stable)QUADFLEX Recyclable Package from NestlĂ© Purina and ProAmpac.

Household Products
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Foaming Hand Soap Starter Kit  from SC Johnson Lifestyle Brands (shown)—With up to 99% reduced plastic use compared to single-use bottles, this durable glass hand soap bottle is infinitely recyclable and refillable. The packaging includes clear usage instructions and aesthetic details, making it user-friendly and uniquely Mrs. Meyer's. The kit caters to both ecommerce and retail channels with a consistent unboxing experience, and minimal dunnage highlights the strong and compact design. A seamless combination of sustainability, functionality, and appealing design. Household Products—Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Foaming Hand Soap Starter Kit from SC Johnson Lifestyle Brands.Household Products—Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Foaming Hand Soap Starter Kit  from SC Johnson Lifestyle Brands.

 Industrial/Commercial
McCoy Dunnage Free IBC Liners for Bulk Liquid Aseptic Products  from Amcor (shown)—This liner changes the industry narrative and advances bulk liquid transport, making it an AmeriStar winning entry. By eliminating the need for extra secondary packaging, it reduces waste, costs, and carbon footprint. Advanced material science and a patent-pending design make it 2x stronger than typical aseptic liners, ensuring product integrity during high-abuse transport.  Industrial/Commercial—McCoy Dunnage Free IBC Liners for Bulk Liquid Aseptic Products from Amcor. Industrial/Commercial—McCoy Dunnage Free IBC Liners for Bulk Liquid Aseptic Products  from Amcor.

Medical Device
CapSure sterile barrier packaging system  from Guardian Medical USA Inc. (shown)—With exceptional performance and economy, this packaging system utilizes impact-resistant Tritan co-polyester to deliver superior protection with just a single barrier, reducing the package's size and footprint. The intuitive design enhances aseptic handling and identification, while the pre-validated ten-year shelf life offers supply chain flexibility. Eco-friendly and versatile, it is a game-changer for orthopedic device packaging, providing a complete and efficient solution. Medical Device—CapSure sterile barrier packaging system from Guardian Medical USA Inc.Medical Device—CapSure sterile barrier packaging system  from Guardian Medical USA Inc.

SEEkey Transit Tray Optimization  from Integer—This tray was developed for wire spools and eliminates the popping/flying issue caused by traditional undercut snaps, providing enhanced control and security and alleviates a user pain point. Its thin, 25-mil design reduces plastic usage, achieving a 44% reduction and 24% cost savings. The tray's versatility in locking and unlocking offers efficient product organization, while dual nested spacing levels reduce secondary packaging and improve sustainability. And its continuous stack design ensures strength and passes rigorous testing requirements. 

Titan 2.0 Cord Cutter Tray, Retainer, and Triangular Stand from Prent Corp. and Standard Bariatrics, Inc.—This thermoformed solution earns an AmeriStar award for a streamlined package that reduces material usage, carton size, and overall weight, optimizing workflow and saving valuable time during operations. The complex single-part design protects the device during transportation, doubles as a stand for prepping, and prevents accidental activation. 

Sustainable Packaging
Scotch Cushion Lock Protective Wrap from 3M (shown)—Engineered with a proprietary hexagonal pattern inspired by Kirigami, this wrap transforms a flat sheet of paper into a three-dimensional wrap that cushions, immobilizes, and conforms to items for proven protection during shipping, moving, or storage. Its unique design maximizes space efficiency, reduces plastic waste, and simplifies the packing process while offering exceptional protection and sustainability. Sustainable Packaging—Scotch Cushion Lock Protective Wrap from 3M.Sustainable Packaging—Scotch Cushion Lock Protective Wrap from 3M.

GREENIS Dispenser  from Dermalogica and Coradin—This an e-commerce friendly, consumer-friendly, and environmentally responsible packaging solution is made mostly from recyclable polypropylene with minimal TPE and offers precise dosing for consumer convenience and protection for the product's active ingredients. The lightweight design reduces shipping costs, while its environmental impact is minimized using post-consumer recycled plastic and optimized packaging weight.

RIO Molded Fiber Fly Line Spooler  from EnviroPAK—An innovative and environmentally sustainable solution deserving of an AmeriStar award, this package is made from 100% biodegradable recycled paper. It functions flawlessly, spooling all line diameters and lengths up to 120 feet. By replacing polypropylene, it reduces single-use plastic waste significantly, meeting RIO's stringent quality and eco-friendly requirements while leaving no trace in the environment if it falls into the water.

Annie's Certified Compostable Printed Shelf Stable Mac & Cheese Cup  from General Mills—In addition to its Best in Show win, this cup earns a win in the sustainable category for addressing consumer demands for eco-friendly packaging. By replacing traditional thermoformed polypropylene cups with molded fiber technology, the company reduced its carbon footprint by 45%. The cup features high-quality graphics, a renewable spray coating for grease and water resistance, and a user-friendly design. The compostable nature of the cup eliminates the need for rinsing, providing an environmentally friendly disposal option. The clever marketing strategy emphasizes the cup's paper-like appearance and environmental benefits. This package's focus on sustainability and consumer satisfaction makes it a deserving AmeriStar award recipient.

Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages Mini KeelClip from Graphic Packaging International—Made from renewable plant-based fiber, the sustainable paperboard clip replaces plastic rings on mini-can multipacks. The recyclable packaging maintains can orientation, offers easy removal, and is fully recyclable in paper waste streams. This package significantly reduces plastic usage, aligning with Coca-Cola's "World Without Waste" vision. Its eco-friendly design, brand impact, and efficient production earned this package an AmeriStar award. 

Paper-based, Recyclable Chocolate Bar Wrappers  from Mars Wrigley (shown)—Certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), this pioneering wrapper eliminates 360 tons of plastic waste and aligns with industry sustainability commitments. It incorporates a mechanical recycling loop through curbside recycling in Australia, and its extensive testing into odor, product taint, residual solvents, migration, and barriers for water vapor and oxygen in various climates ensure its performance matches traditional materials. Sustainable Packaging—Paper-based, Recyclable Chocolate Bar Wrappers from Mars Wrigley.Sustainable Packaging—Paper-based, Recyclable Chocolate Bar Wrappers  from Mars Wrigley.

Pentel RSVP PaperBlister Package  from Sonoco Alloyd—Made entirely from paper, this package is highly sustainable from production to shelf. It is plastic-free and recyclable in curbside paper streams, and the retrofit of existing equipment saved costs and prevented old machinery from going to landfills. The flat-pack design allows for more efficient shipping, reducing environmental impact. It serves as a 360-degree marketing billboard while ensuring product protection, making it a deserving winner of an AmeriStar award in the sustainability category.

Axe Green Geranium Deodorant Stick 2.6 oz  from Viva Healthcare Packaging—The eco-friendly nature of this package is a clear winner in the sustainability category. It features in-mold label decoration, 100% post-consumer recycled polypropylene, and is fully recyclable. With no virgin plastic, over 95% recycled material, and alignment with Unilever's sustainability goals, it sets a new standard for eco-friendly deodorant packaging. The vivid artwork, ease of use, and environmental benefits make them a top choice for eco-conscious consumers. 

Student Winners
Best in Show
ZEAL Condoms (shown), developed by packaging students from the University of Cincinnati, won in the new Student AmeriStar Best in Show category for its innovative packaging design and user experience focus.

The packaging features distinct textures for easy identification, a discreet and sleek outer casing, and a hexagonal shape symbolizing protection. ZEAL brings a new level of empowerment, convenience, and safety to those practicing safe sex, addressing pain points and making the process more enjoyable and comfortable.Student Winner: Best in Show—ZEAL Condoms.Student Winner: Best in Show—ZEAL Condoms.

Design Excellence in Food Packaging
Pete & Piper's Pickling Vinegar and Reusable Jar
, developed by packaging students from the University of Cincinnati, is the inaugural winner in the Design Excellence in Food Packaging category, sponsored by IoPP Gold Partner Sabert.

The innovative packaging features a two-chamber design with a filter specific to the quick pickling process. It encourages creativity in the kitchen, allowing users to customize flavors and easily create their own pickles.

With pre-measured vinegar portions and user-friendly functionality, this package simplifies the pickling experience and stands out in the saturated vinegar market.

Food
Packaging students from Toronto Metropolitan University won a Student AmeriStar award for their Mix n' Mac packaging design, which offers portion control and convenience for macaroni and cheese lovers with a lid that doubles as a measuring cup.

The package reduces food waste, eliminates single-use plastic, and is made of 100% paper-based materials for easy recycling. The playful graphics and unique shape make it stand out on shelves, catering to a target audience seeking quick and delicious meals.

Additionally, the package's sustainability aspects and cost-effective design contribute to its recognition.

Pete & Piper's Pickling Vinegar and Reusable Jar, developed by packaging students from the University of Cincinnati, features a two-chamber design with a filter specific to the quick pickling process. It encourages creativity in the kitchen, allowing users to customize flavors and easily create their own pickles.

With pre-measured vinegar portions and user-friendly functionality, this package simplifies the pickling experience and stands out in the saturated vinegar market.

Sun Seeds, developed by packaging students from Toronto Metropolitan University, won a student AmeriStar award for its innovative and functional sunflower seed packaging.

The eco-friendly design protects freshness, incorporates seasoning packets, and features a bright, eye-catching appearance. With dual compartments for seeds and shells, the package offers on-the-go convenience.

Its sustainable materials and easy integration into existing systems enhance its appeal to consumers seeking a hassle-free snacking experience.

Health & Beauty Aids
ebb. Tampons
, developed by University of Cincinnati packaging students, earned a student AmeriStar award for its innovative tampon packaging that aims to bridge the gap in period education, erase the stigma of periods, and lower user intimidation.

Inspired by bento boxes, the design features rounded edges, a fold-out compartment for easy access, and uses recycled, eco-friendly materials, including bamboo fiber tampons, promoting sustainability in period care.

ZEAL Condoms, developed by packaging students from the University of Cincinnati, earned a Student Ameristar for the package's sleek, user-focused design. Featuring distinct textures for easy identification and a discreet and sleek outer casing, the hexagonal shape symbolizes protection. ZEAL brings a new level of empowerment, convenience, and safety to those practicing safe sex, addressing pain points, and making the process more enjoyable and comfortable.

See all images of the 2023 AmeriStar winners at IOPP’s website.


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