The winners of the European Carton Excellence Award 2023 (ECEA) were revealed in Seville, Spain, on September 21, recognizing the innovation of the sustainable carton packaging industry over the past year. Organized by Pro Carton – the European Carton Manufacturers Association – and the European Carton Manufacturers Association (ECMA), the coveted awards celebrate the crème de la crème of sustainable packaging.
Spain-based Alzamora Group ‘s luxurious three-dimensional spherical packaging solution for beauty brand GERnétic was crowned Carton of the Year , while Graphic Packaging International’s innovative fibre-based Boardio packaging for Perfetti Van chewing gum Melle Mentos won over consumers at the Public Award , in addition to taking home the Sustainability Award .
All ECEA entries were judged on a variety of criteria, covering graphic and structural design, production techniques, cost-effectiveness, ecology, sustainability, innovation, safety and comfort. The jury was made up of Satkar Gidda, president of the jury and brand and design consultant; Susanne Lippitsch, from SL Design and prominent packaging designer; and Sanjeev Das, from Unilever, global director of packaging in the food and ice cream business. The awards were presented in Seville by Michele Bianchi, president of Pro Carton; Jean-François Roche, president of ECMA, and Horst Bittermann, general director of Pro Carton.
The Carton of the Year winner combined high-end luxury with a unique and structural design. Alzamora Group skillfully crafted the elegant GERnétic packaging solution from a single piece of Stora Enso virgin fiber board. It not only protects the product, but also presents it as a nice gift.
Commenting on Carton of the Year, the jury said: “GERnétic” is expertly designed packaging: it takes a lot of skill to create a three-dimensional spherical shape from a single piece of cardboard without using any glue. “It’s the perfect demonstration of how incredible results can be achieved with cardboard.”
Carton of the Year: GERnétic, by Alzamora Group.
Taking home both the Public Award and the Sustainability Award, the fiber-based Boardio packaging developed by Graphic Packaging International marks a significant advancement in the confectionery industry. This innovative design – made from virgin fiber cardboard from Holmen Iggesund and Stora Enso – introduces the cardboard bottle concept to the chewing gum category. The judges were pleased to see such an innovative move that demonstrates the confectionery giant’s dedication to reducing its environmental footprint.
Public Award and Sustainability Award: Boardio for Perfetti Van
Melle Mentos chewing gum, from Graphic Packaging International.
In addition to the Carton of the Year, the Sustainability Award and the Public Award, winners were also selected in other categories, such as Innovation; General Packaging Virgin Fiber; General Packaging Recycled Fiber; Food & Drink Virgin Fiber for food and beverages and Food & Drink Recycled Fiber. Platinum and Gold awards were also awarded to designs that the judges considered particularly outstanding and deserving of special recognition.
Recent regulations on plastic reduction in high-end beauty products – such as cling film – prompted the Edelmann Group to develop Mary Cohr . It took home the coveted Innovation Award thanks to its unique tamper-evident opening using only Sappi virgin fiber board .
The ingenious packaging eliminates the need for film wrapping thanks to its system of colored dots on each flap, ensuring protection while improving shelf appeal. “Ingenious of its kind, it will change the future of tamper-proof packaging and eliminate the need for non-recyclable packaging,” declared the jury.
Innovation Award: Mary Cohr, for the Edelmann Group.
On the other hand, Lucaprint collected the General Packaging Virgin Fiber award for its Dainese Packaging Kit Replacement . Using virgin fiber board from Stora Enso, Lucaprint developed a specialized packaging solution for three types of its sports protection replacement products that features a clean, minimalist look. According to the jury, the smart packaging “can be easily transported by mail, in addition to being environmentally friendly – it does not use glue – so it can be recycled effortlessly.”
General Packaging Virgin Fiber: Dainese Packaging Kit Replacement, by Lucaprint.
Successfully demonstrating that sustainability and functionality are achievable, Van Genechten Packaging ‘s Ecoclic folding packaging for Procter & Gamble won the General Packaging Recycled Fiber Award . This innovative design, formed from recycled cardboard from MM BOARD & PAPER, successfully addresses the challenge of replacing a plastic bathtub with a sustainable alternative.
The Ecoclic design not only optimizes logistics by being delivered in a flat, pre-glued state, but also consists of just two components – the tray and the hood – to reduce complexity in the supply chain. Additionally, the clever integration of the child safety closure provides a satisfying “click” sound, which serves as confirmation when closing the container.
General Packaging Recycled Fiber award: Ecoclic, by Van Genechten Packaging.
The cubic container for Kevas – Rhum Arrangé rum by Posson Packaging is, according to the jury, “an impressive design that perfectly and elegantly displays the products it contains while telling a story about its contents.” Awarded the Food & Drink Virgin Fiber award , the packaging is made entirely from FOLBB virgin fiber board and can hold up to four glass bottles of rum. The design offers multiple displays through plastic-free window displays and strong communication options to meet the demands of brands, retailers and consumers.
Food & Drink Virgin Fiber: Kevas – Rhum Arrangé, by Posson Packaging.
McDonald’s delivery packaging , developed by Huhtamaki using recycled cardboard from MM Board & Paper , won the Food & Drink Recycled Fiber award . The innovative and effective solution for the safe delivery of items McDelivery offers a “creative, fresh and cohesive sustainable solution to ensure safe and uncontaminated delivery.”
Food & Drink Packaging Recycled Fiber: Delivery packaging, from McDonald’s of Huhtamaki.
Winfried Muehling, Marketing and Communications Director at Pro Carton, said: “The European Carton Excellence Award continues to recognize excellence in packaging design, innovation and sustainability, and I would like to personally thank and congratulate everyone who submitted their creative designs. . We have received a record number of proposals, more than one hundred! This makes the ECEA the most relevant carton packaging competition in Europe, where you really compete with the best in the industry. This year’s winners have created pioneering packaging solutions for products that resonate with consumers, who are now prioritizing sustainable options when purchasing products.
Alzamora Group’s GERnétic secured its place as the 2023 Packaging of the Year winner thanks to its innovative approach to packaging design. It also clearly aligns with the growing demand for environmentally friendly alternatives to packaging for cosmetics and personal care products. The awards gala in Seville has been another resounding success and we urge all companies to attend again next year. “We look forward to seeing how the innovations support a sustainable future using cardboard and paperboard packaging.”