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A Behind the Scenes Look at the QSR-FPI Packaging Awards

What do you get when you put experts in the fields of packaging, branding, sustainability, media and foodservice in a room together? A whole lot of fun and discussion about my favorite topic – foodservice packaging. That’s what happened when the judges of this year’s QSR-FPI Foodservice Packaging Awards competition came together in FPI’s office a few months ago.

We didn’t really know what to expect from this year’s competition. While we had partnered with QSR six times before, we’d taken a five year hiatus since the last joint competition. With two weeks to go until the judging, we had 17 entries (gulp) and were fielding questions about the competition from companies as far away as Croatia! With one week to go, the number of entries had grown to 100. By the time the judges came to town, we had over 120 entries to consider. We were thrilled.

The two-day judging process was fascinating. The judges, with their very different backgrounds, consulted with each other and sometimes even challenged each other. They clearly took their responsibilities seriously. There was product testing going on… testing the multitude of “new and improved” coffee cups; testing whether hot food containers really were cool to the touch as they claimed (sadly, one was not); smearing mayo all over a bag to test its grease-resistance (that one passed the test); and putting a color-changing spoon to the test with some ice cream (OK, perhaps that was a staff request on a hot August day). These are just a few of the testing examples. Recommendations were made by the experts, and arguments were debated on the merits of the entries. Finally, the panel of judges selected the winners for innovations in performance, branding, convenience, sustainability, and of course, the popular “wow” factor category.

The difficult part came next – having to wait six weeks to announce the winners at FPI’s Fall Meeting. In the past, we’d had formal award presentations in grand ballrooms. This year, we decided to mix it up. Since our meeting was taking place in Memphis, we took the show on the road and had the awards reception at Elvis Presley’s Graceland. So cool! Not only did 13 companies take home awards that night, they could say they received their awards in a pretty neat setting – amid Elvis’s beloved cars in his now “Car Museum.” Definitely our most memorable awards presentation venue.

And, what happened in Memphis was supposed to stay in Memphis, at least for a few more weeks until the winners were publicized in QSR’s November edition. The secret’s now out, and hope you’ve had a chance to learn more about the winners as showcased in the QSR article and FPI’s press release. Congratulations to all the winners, especially Eco-Products, who took home the coveted “Foodservice Package of the Year Award” for its Folia packaging.

While the judges come and go, the number of entries fluctuates and the locale for the awards ceremony changes, one thing is constant. Each time we offer this competition, it’s inspiring to see the thought process that goes into each new innovation in our industry. Our industry is dedicated to better serving its customers and their customer’s customer and showing why foodservice packaging is truly the sensible solution.

Posted By Lynn M. Dyer (President) | 11/12/2013 10:40:13 AM