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EXCLUSIVE: Part one of the prestigious Packaging Innovation & Design Awards (PIDA) was presented via a virtual ceremony today, with the company awards announced across six Packaging Design of the Year categories: Food; Beverage; Health, Beauty & Wellness; Domestic & Household; Labelling & Decoration, and Outside the Box. 

In a year which saw an unprecedented number of entries across all PIDA categories, it was hardly surprising that the virtual ceremony, coordinated by the awards organiser Australian Institute of Packaging, was well attended, with over 300 participants. The ceremony was opened by AIP executiove director Nerida Kelton (below right).

The Food Packaging Design of the Year saw a highly competitive field of entries from companies that had designed innovative packaging and/or materials for packaging applications across fresh, frozen and other food sectors.

MC for the event, publisher of Food & Drink Business and PKN, Lindy Hughson, congratulated all finalists on the high level of innovation demonstrated in this hotly contested category.

"When it comes to good design for food packaging, food waste prevention, food safety, product protection and sustainability are all top priorities. And when you can create a material and packaging format that delivers on all these aspects, you have a winner," Hughson said.

Two High Commendations were awarded in this category: Masterfoods Herbs & Spices (MARS Food Australia & Cormack Packaging) and Nature’s Way SlimRight (Zipform Packaging).

The Bronze award went to Oasis Spice Shaker (Oasis & qDesign Enterprises), and the Silver award goes to Chobani (PakPot).

The Food Packaging Design of the Year Gold award winner for 2021 was presented to Brookfarm (O F Packaging).

The high-barrier mono-polymer pouch for Brookfarm was developed by OF Packaging as a more sustainable alternative to the company's previous metalised multi-laminate structure, all the while keeping Brookfarm's existing brand heritage and pack style.

Despite being mono-polymer and made entirely from PE, the pack still has the functionality of the original pack, including a  reseal zipper closure and tear notches.

The main benefit of the new design revolves around its 'recycle-ready' feature and the elimination of the complex laminate structure in lieu of the high-barrier recyclable alternative.

Without the addition of metallised PET, the new recyclable pouch provides a better feedstock at end of life, and an easier reclamation of the material due to the ability for processing at kerbside.

The Roll 'n' Recycle label is affixed to the pack prior to the filling process, using an adhesive made to allow the label to be peeled back and re-adhered to the pouch once rolled. This feature means consumers can dispose of the Brookfarm bag directly into their household recycling bin, rather than having to take it back to soft plastic collection in-store.

This mono-polymer, kerbside recyclable pouch is the solution that Brookfarm has been waiting for and adds tremendous value to this already eco-focused brand. For a company heavily invested in the wealth of the Australian environment, recyclable packaging made from a single polymer is a huge benefit and helps the move towards a circular economy.

Receiving the award, managing director of OF Packaging, Joe Foster, said: "We started talking about sustainability options with Brookfarm about six years ago, looking at the opportunities and the options that were out there in the marketplace. Brookfarm were very keen to engage and work with us because they also want to be part of the future around sustainability in packaging, not just regarding sustainability of their own products, but the whole process, including packaging as well."

Coordinated by the Australian Institute of Packaging, the annual PIDA Awards program recognises companies and individuals who are making a significant difference in their field across Australia and New Zealand. Winners in the company awards announced today are automatically eligible for entry into the 2022 WorldStar Packaging Awards competition.

Five other categories were announced on Day One:

Beverage Packaging Design of the Year

Domestic & Household Packaging Design of the Year

Health, Beauty & Wellness Packaging Design of the Year

Labelling & Decoration Packaging Design of the Year

Outside of the Box Design of the Year

Food & Drink Business

The finalists for the Australia Post Online Retail Industry Awards (ORIAS) have been announced, with Lyre’s Spirits Co, Naked Wines Australia and Adventure Snacks representing local suppliers in the food and beverage sector.

Plant-based ingredients system start-up Harvest B is one of six manufacturers to receive funding in the first round of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre Commercialisation Fund.

Campos Coffee has been acquired by Dutch-based coffee and tea company JDE Peet's. It will join L’OR, Moccona and Piazza Doro in its Australian brand portfolio.