IoPP Ameristar Awards

Each year, the IoPP grants the Ameristar Awards, recognizing packages that demonstrate the best in theses six categories:

  • Innovation
  • Product Protection
  • Economics
  • Package Performance
  • Marketing
  • Environmental Impact

Ameristar Winner 2019

Target Simply Balanced™ Vitamins

Target Simply Balanced™ Vitamins

As the number of wellness products on store shelves continues to grow, packaging plays an important competitive role by attracting buyers’ attention and emphasizing features that matter most to them, such as safety and ease of use. Target Stores determined that it was time to enter the upscale nutraceutical market with Simply Balanced™ vitamins in premium packaging.

Target tapped TricorBraun for assistance in achieving its preferred design specifications, keeping the product within a consumer-acceptable price point and bringing the vitamins to market quickly.   

To help Target narrow down packaging options, our engineers deployed a 3D printer to produce a bottle and cap prototype with which to test injection-molded, spring closure options. 3D modeling saved the design team time, and more significantly, greatly reduced the investment in developing full prototypes using conventional molding techniques. Through 3D molding, engineers determined that a three-piece solution would improve functional performance and attract consumers with different shapes, colors and color combinations.

TricorBraun’s design team settled on a single bottle and closure design, which reduces the number of overall SKUs and streamlines warehousing, shipping and other supply chain processes. Standardized sizes also meant that the package manufacturer needed only a minimum number of tools to create all three pieces. Sizing and design of the package overall work with existing machinery and processing systems to run smoothly and efficiently without requiring costly changeovers to other tooling or machinery.

When selecting materials, packaging engineers ensured that the package would be fully recyclable. Target's sustainability consultants analyzed packaging options and provided recommendations that were incorporated into the final design. Both the cap and the body are constructed of #1 PETE (polyethylene terephthalate), which is widely accepted in municipalities' recycling programs.

The final packaging met Target’s design criteria, and some design features provided multiple marketing, economic and operational advantages. For instance:

  • The oblong shape differentiates the package from standard, round bottles, while also providing operational efficiencies: Oblong packages are more space efficient in storing, shipping and merchandising, saving money throughout the supply chain.
  • The bottle’s wider mouth meets consumers’ hygienic preferences for dispensing vitamins; on the production side, the larger mouth enables faster, more efficient filling of contents than standard-sized mouths.
  • The transparent packaging body shows off the vitamins inside. As with premium home care products, consumers prefer the transparency for judging the value of the product at point-of-purchase and for seeing how much remains over time.
  • Half-turn, push-and-turn, child resistant closure enhances safety because it is more obvious to consumers when the product is properly closed. Because the overcap is clear, the white embossed opening instructions also provide greater clarity to adults, and the oblong shape is physically easier for seniors to open. 

Ameristar Winner 2016

Smart Mouth Mouthwash

Smart Mouth Mouthwash

SmartMouth Mouthwash package is an innovative, sustainable and user-friendly package that keeps the unique mouthwash’s critical ingredients separate until needed, then mixes them in proper balance as they are being poured.

1. Innovation –

The previous package required 2 bottles, 2 closures, 2 pumps, dosage cup, and a flyer in one box on the shelf, requiring the consumer to have 2 bottles on their counter and keep track of a dosage cup. The customer now wanted to move into a convenient one bottle system. The end result is one easy to use package that takes up less retail space as well as consumer counter space.

The unique pouring mechanism allows the two product to dispense evenly.  

2. Protection –

Since the 2 liquids cannot be in contact until activation, the bottle required 2 PETE bottles combined as one, with a dual dispensing closure.

3. Economics –

Cost were reduced by removing the need for a second bottle, 2 closures, and 1 pump. We were also able to completely eliminate the outer box and insert. In addition, their new system has allowed them to remove an unnecessary WIP process where we fill an entire batch of one solution then fill an entire batch of the other solution. The removal of the WIP process by filling both solutions at the same time has decreased the lead time from first fill to finished pallet.

4. Package Performance –

Opening and reclosing are simplified since it’s not necessary to open two separate bottle and apply pumps.

The old system was designed to fill 8 Boston Round bottles inline at a time but only one solution at a time. The new system fills 8 bottles but 4 of each solution. This new system has allowed the customer to remove an unnecessary WIP process where we fill an entire batch of one solution then fill an entire batch of the other solution. The removal of the WIP process by filling both solutions at the same time has decreased the lead time from first fill to finished pallet.

5. Marketing –

By moving out of a bulky folding carton and into a taller sleek bottle, this product now provides a cleaner shelf image. In addition it gives the appearance of the more advanced mouthcare product that it is.

Since the launch of the new bottle sales have grown quickly and the customer will be looking to automate several more steps to improve efficiency.

6. Environmental Impact –

All parts are produced with recyclable materials, and to comply with Walmart sustainability program the outer box and insert were eliminated. Additionally, the total number of components was reduced due to elimination of the 2 closures used on the bottles strictly for shipping purpose.


Ameristar Winner 2016

Arta Tequila

Arta Tequila

The design of the Arta Tequila bottle is a reworking of an earlier Arta three-sided glass bottle with both structural and graphic changes that required significant engineering and design efforts. The triangular design, with sharp corners and large flat surfaces offered multiple opportunities for bottle failure during blowing. This was further exacerbated by embossed and debossed triangular designs that produced more sharp corners.

Re-shaping the earlier short, squat bottle to a slim, tall shape delivered a dramatic shelf presence and allowed space for four-color screened graphics to better project the Arta brand look. The bottle is topped with a triangular closure to complete the dramatic look of the bottle.

1. Innovation –

This was a re-design from the customers’ existing triangular bottle and required changes from both a structural and graphical perspective.

One of the challenges was manipulating and blending the main body proportion and the embossing/debossing together seamlessly so they were blow-moldable in glass yet still reflected the design intent.

For all intents and purposes, this bottle is one that that should never have been attempted to manufacture in glass, having almost every design element that makes it very difficult to blow a quality bottle. Three large flat panels with very sharp edges, sharp flat shoulder lines, and embossed and debossed designs with more sharp edges all giving areas of possible weakness for bottle failure.

Some triangles are embossed, some are debossed, and some fade off the surface at an angle. Often all three of these features were situated next to each other all at once – and on all 3 sides of the bottle. The customer was keen to keep all the details (corners of the triangle, embossing) as “sharp” as possible. Lastly, a custom bar top cork was developed to fit flush with the custom triangular neck finish of the bottle.

Small modifications were needed to improve legibility, placement, and ability to be blown with clarity (for embossing of logos, symbols). In addition to the complex embossing texture, this package really goes above and beyond in its use of deco application.

5. Marketing –

Arta came to us to redesign their existing triangular glass tequila bottle – from both a structural and graphic perspective. The original bottle was short and squat, without much shelf presence and they were using a clear label for the decoration. Covering up the crystal clear glass gave the entire package a more low-end appearance and feel. Arta wanted to elevate the look into something sleeker and more premium, yet unexpected and edgy. The primary goals were to have a bottle on the shelf and on the bar back with a smaller footprint with more height to slim out the overall proportions, and to explore 4 color silk screening for the updated artwork.

We worked through original bottle and graphic concepts with Arta (Lisa Hives) before ultimately working alongside the creative agency Liquid Inc. (Eric Winslow) to refine the overall design as seen today.

Structurally, the main body proportion was supplied by us and the concept for the embossing / debossing pattern was supplied by the customer in conjunction with Liquid Inc. The challenge from our end was manipulating and blending all those features together seamlessly so they were blow-moldable in glass yet still reflected the design intent. Some triangles are embossed, some are debossed, and some fade off the surface at an angle. Often, all three of these features were situated next to each other all at once – and on all 3 sides of a flat-panel glass bottle. The customer was keen to keep all the details (corners of the triangle and embossing) as “sharp” as possible. It speaks to the manufacturer’s capabilities that they were able to achieve this. Lastly, a custom-shaped bar top cork was developed to fit flush with the custom triangular neck finish of the bottle.

Graphically, the final deco elements were provided by the customer and Liquid Inc. We evaluated these elements and made small modifications to improve legibility, placement, and ability to be blown with clarity (for embossing of logos, symbols). In addition to the complex embossing texture, this package really goes above and beyond in its use of deco application. The design includes: a 4 color decal on one panel, a label (placed within a recessed triangular depression) on the front panel, screening throughout, and a neck band with a tag. There are 4 different SKUs to this product, Reposado, Añejo, Extra Añejo, and Silver, for which graphic design was created.


Ameristar Winner 2012

ROXOR Gin

ROXOR Gin

The new product package’s “skyscraper” design improves upon the generic packaging, round and smooth, used for many gin bottles, by taking into account all the possible distribution/sales points for the product including both retail sales and bar back displays.

1. Innovation –

New Marketing Strategies: Many bottles for gin are in round, smooth-sided glass bottles. Because ROXOR is a brand new gig that was conceived to meet the public’s rising interest in unique spirits, this one created by James Beard-award winning chef Robert Del Grande, a bottle of comparable uniqueness was required. In addition, the custom-designed closure with the logo adds an additional level of brand awareness needed for a new product.

2. Protection –

Protection requirements – The cosmetic-grade super flint glass package successfully protects the physical integrity of the product.

3. Economics –

Addresses package’s life cycle in the area of: Recyclability: It is made of highly recyclable glass.

4. Performance –

New benefits to end users: The square shape with the flat, windowpane relief area at the bottles’ waists serve as a protection to the silkscreen decoration, but also form a good gripping area for the bottles.

Manufacturing performance: The package can run on existing machinery and was able to easily integrate in the existing distribution system.

5. Marketing –

Structural design contributes to product image, shelf impact: The bottle design excels in several design areas:

1. The new product package’s “skyscraper” design improves upon the round and smooth generic packaging used for many gin bottles by taking into account all the possible distribution/sales points for the product including both retail sales and bar back displays.

2. The cosmetic-grade super flint glass package sparkles in the light and provides a bottle that doesn’t impede with, and in fact enhances, the clear liquid it contains.

3. A windowpane relief area at the bottles’ waists serve as a protection to the silkscreen decoration, and also form a good gripping area for the bottles – a benefit both to consumer and mixologist users alike.

4. The custom-designed, light-weight closure with an embossed logo adds an additional level of brand awareness needed for a new product.

5. The bottles’ parting-lines are cleverly placed on a diagonal so it cannot be seen across any side of the bottle, no matter which way it is facing, which means there is no interference with the decoration on any panel.

6. Environmental Impact –

Design consideration includes using recyclable materials: Glass, a highly recyclable and recycled material, was used to make the package. In addition, the light-weighted polypropylene closure addresses the need to reduce the amount of material used. Finally, the square shape of the bottles address the concern for best cube utilization over the more standard round bottles used.


Ameristar Winner 2012

Likety Stik

Likety Stik

The new package design takes a stock, iconic package from a completely different market type, personal care, and uses it in a novel way for a pet snack product.

1. Innovation –

Successful transfer of packaging from other industry: Portion control and a “what is THAT?” eye-catching package are both achieved with this unusual use of a traditional roll-on deodorant package for a pet snack product. 

2. Protection –

Protection requirements – The package successfully protects the physical integrity of the product.

3. Economics –

Cost savings:
Material costs: While the customer could have decided to try to design a completely unique, new package in order to dispense the product, they opted for a stock package that met their dispensing needs. Since the package already existed, they saved many dollars in design, development, mold costs, product/transport testing and difficulty meeting minimum orders. In addition, no changes to filling machinery were necessary.

Addresses package’s life cycle in the area of:
Recyclability: Highly recyclable HPDE makes up the bottle portion of this package.

4. Package Performance –

The package is easily filled and run on existing packaging machinery since it is a stock package that has been in existence for many years. For the same reason, it is also easily integrated into the existing distribution system.

5. Marketing –

Structural design contributes to product image, shelf impact: The structure used contributes to noticing the product (see below), but because of the requirement for deodorant roll-on bottles to be easy to grip at awkward angles, it works well for holding on to it while an excited dog is enthusiastically licking the treat off the roll-on ball.

Marketing appeal: Because of the “What is THAT?” factor, it is highly likely to get picked off the shelf out of sheer curiosity, thereby increasing the likelihood that a consumer will discover what the product is for and then put it in their cart. The full-body shrink sleeve label is brightly colored and uses every millimeter of space to catch the consumer’s eye and provide the necessary label info about the product and how to dispense it.

6. Environmental Impact –

Design consideration includes using recyclable materials: HDPE is highly recyclable in curbside programs.

Prior AmeriStar Awards

AmeriStar 2009/2010

Smart & Silky Hand Sanitizer, Personal Care Division

AmeriStar 2008/2009

First Juice, Inc. First Juice, Food & Beverage Division
Hillyard DoubleDown, General Industrial Division

AmeriStar 2006

Ecolab Proforce Bookshell Container, Industrial/Commercial Division
Ecolab Proforce Stackable Container, Industrial/Commercial Division

AmeriStar 2005

Avlon Affirm Hair Relaxer, Personal Care Division

AmeriStar 2004

Ecolab SP2, Industrial/Commercial Division

AmeriStar 2003

Spic and Span Everyday - The Soft Powder Cleanser, Household Division

AmeriStar 2002

PincGold SaltAire, Pharmaceutical/Drug Division
SSDC Sani-Quad, Industrial/Commercial Division

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