Holistic Innovation in packaging worldwide: How to win gold

This was the year of the 29th edition of the “De Gouden Noot” innovation competition, which takes place every two years. The competition is not commercially oriented, organised as it is to improve the packing and packaging industry. This ALL4PACK Paris talk from November 2018 discusses the finalists and winners of this particular edition.


This competition is run by the NVC association, founded in 1953 and comprising more than 500 companies seeking to improve the packing and packaging processes: companies such as Danone, Sanofi and Ikea. To this end, the association regularly publishes reports on packing and packaging machines. It has also set up major project called “design for intended use”.

This organisation promotes the idea that packaging needs to be adapted to its end use so as to minimise waste, and it must enable the source of products to be identified so that they can be sent back if necessary, should there be a problem. Packaging should also enable consumers and companies to process their waste responsibly.

The “De Gouden Noot” competition, created in 1958, addresses holistic innovation and is run every two years. It is adjudicated by an independent 20-strong jury. It takes place in two rounds, the first over two days whereupon 10 finalists are determined. The second round takes place over one day, during which each finalist presents their idea. The jury determines the ultimate winner at the end of this second round.

There are no categories: only the innovation level and the capacity to innovate of the candidates are assessed.


Here is the list of innovations and companies competing in the 29th edition:

  • E-commerce Ready Detergent Packaging by Henkel: the challenge addressed by the Henkel company was to develop packaging enabling e-commerce pure players such as Amazon to transport products in the Netherlands (where 20 - 30% of transactions are done via e-commerce). This is particularly important inasmuch as the supply chain cannot afford any leaks in the products being transported, since those responsible would face a fine of €0.50 per packaging item in the event of a problem.
  • Smart IoT Drum Pallet by Ahrma Group: a pallet protected against impacts made out of MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) with a wear-resistant polyurethane coating. This innovation is fitted with an active transponder with a 10-year service life, communicating via BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) with fixed or mobile devices, such as a smartphone app. The transponder sensors check the location of the pallet, its temperature and any shocks it may have sustained.
  • ACU-Drop II by Verhoeven Ontwerpburo and Eurotrol: ACU-Drop II packaging is a two-chamber mechanism which keeps separate different liquids that it contains, to prevent chemical reactions. When the time comes to combine the two liquids, the user simply presses a button which causes the fractions to be mixed together. It is an ideal solution for creating liquid matrices, making them suitable for quality control, calibration checks or competence testing.
  • Stackpack by Zalpak & Straatman: packaging that modifies its atmosphere when it is resealed to provide a hermetic tray. Usually, the sealing of trays can bend them or put them out of shape, but this innovation allows the tray to retain its aesthetic form both on the store shelf and in the home.
  • Persistalert by Ecobliss: a packaging for pharmaceutical products with a microchip containing information about the caregiver, the family and the drug. It also provides information about whether the drug has been taken in the recommended doses.
  • Combo Excelsior by Schoeller Allibert: a flexible transport container capable of stacking up to 8000 kg, light yet robust. Combo Excelsior can be filled with liquid and is easy to handle. Thanks to this innovation, the risks of damaging the product it contains are limited, testifying to its efficiency in the transport and supply chain.
  • Hot2Home Fry Cup by Plato product consultants: a cone for French fries, designed to preserve food quality for home deliveries.
  • Arcwise packaging by Brohl Wellpappe: packaging that can be folded at different angles. An extremely creative idea in terms of form, to provide a feel-good vibe.
  • CRTESS CAP by Mullackal Polymers: this product has already had many orders in India. It is a temperature-resistant cap, which is resealable, leak-resistant and affordably priced.
  • Seepje by FLEX/Design: a brand that uses soap made from an Asiatic foodstuff, the soapnut (“Sapindus”). The packaging is made of plastic material collected exclusively in the Netherlands, for a budget of €170 million.

These innovations were competing for the first prize in the “De Gouden Noot” awards. The bronze award went to Arcwise Packaging, the silver to ComboExcelsior and the gold to Acu-Drop II. The winner demonstrates several levels of innovation and a sound concept, and it uses quality materials sourced throughout Europe. Its deployment technique allows it today to be reproduced at an affordable price.

The quality and the originality of the products designed for this 29th edition show that, around the world, the innovations in terms of packaging just keep on coming.