In particular, the program defines “innovation” not solely from a Western perspective, but through a holistic, global lens, DuPont’s Yasmin Siddiqi told FoodProductionDaily.
“This is a key reason that we engage judges from across the globe, from both developing and developed regions and from different industries,” she said. “The breadth and diversity of perspectives among the judges enables them to thoroughly assess which entries are game-changing innovations within the context of their target market.”
Siddiqi is both packaging awards program leader and Global Packaging Relationship Manager for DuPont’s Packaging & Industrial Polymers (P&IP) business. She noted that over the years she has been leading the program, there has been a focal shift from “sustainability” to “responsibility.”
“In 2014, we revised the judging criteria somewhat,” she said. “Sustainability tends to be about reducing packaging – lightweighting or downsizing. However, it’s not always about reducing the amount of packaging used, but about the balance of packaging with mitigating product waste.”
A good example of that point is food packaging, she said.
“Packaging can extend shelf life so products that are resource intensive to produce, such as meat products, are not wasted,” Siddiqi pointed out. “Ideally, we would want to reduce packaging and reduce product waste, but in some cases we may need to add more packaging to prevent waste.”
“So we replaced sustainability with responsibility. Now we ask, ‘Are you impacting the greater good with this package?’”
Another criterion that has been modified is that of user experience. “This year we want to ensure that the product has the appropriate innovation for the intended market,” she said.
"We want to be sure that if a country or region adopts an innovation, it is recognized in context. The package may already be established in a developed country, but it could be innovative for a developing country.”
“We’ll ask, ‘Is it new to that country? Did it require the development of infrastructure to support it? What impact has it had on consumers in that country?’”
In addition, “we want to ensure that the innovation established the right price/value equation. This is critical in developing countries where affordability is a key issue,” Siddiqi said. “The package needs to be advanced, be responsible, fulfill a need, but also be affordable.”
The DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation provides an opportunity for packaging to amplify the role it can play in making a difference in people’s lives, she stated.
Siddiqi provided two examples from the past two competitions. “Last year we honored (with a Gold Award) ultra-high-temperature milk pouches from Parakh Agro Industries in India, which keep milk fresh without refrigeration for up to 90 days and enable it to be consumed without first being boiled,” she said.
“This helped ensure that nutritious milk can be received in cities and in remote areas across the country,” she continued. “That’s a huge challenge in India, where nearly three quarters of the milk supply is collected in an ‘unorganized’ fashion. This packaging solution helped lower the risk of buying contaminated or adulterated milk.”
In 2013, judges gave the Diamond Award — the competition’s top honor — to a packaging solution called AidPod.
“AidPod is a self-contained anti-diarrheal kit that tucks in between bottles in Coca-Cola crates to ensure that life-saving medicine is delivered cost-effectively to remote sub-Saharan villages in Africa,” Siddiqi explained.
“That solution was developed for ColaLife, an independent non-profit organization that leverages the Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) distribution network. The design company, pi global, designed the package so that it can be used as a single, measured dose mixing and drinking vessel.”