European Carton Excellence Awards 2021


CATEGORY: Awards BRAND: Procarton

Pro Carton and ECMA jointly hosted the virtual Carton Awards E-vent 2021 where the winners of the European Carton Excellence Award, the Pro Carton Young Designers Award and the Pro Carton Student Video Award were announced.

The much coveted Carton of the Year was awarded to “Bodegas Balsamic” produced by Durero Packaging with board from Holmen Iggesund.  The Save the Planet award went to Graphic Packaging and BillerudKorsnäs for their PaperSeal MAP Tray Burger Solution and the Innovation Award was won by Cardbox Packaging and Stora Enso for their ecological, plastic-free “Karlo Spoon”.  The public voted for their favourite from 23 shortlisted entries and the Award was won by Westrock for their Smarties Giant Hexatube on board from Metsä. The winners of all categories plus the 5 Platinum and 6 Gold Award winners can be viewed here.


Among the award winners are three Spanish projects, which are detailed below:


Carton of the Year: Bodegas Balsamic

Name of Entry: Bodegas Balsamic

Carton Converter: Durero Packaging

Brand Owner: Bodegas Toro Albalà

Structural Designer: Durero Packaging

Graphic Designer: Series Nemo

Cartonboard Manufacturer: Holmen Iggesund



Blooming Beautiful Balsamic

The “Bodegas Balsamic” gift pack designed for Toro Albalà 25 and 50 year old cured balsamic vinegar reflects its Spanish roots in a number of ways. The case is composed of 4 pieces which self-lock when assembled and when opened they are arranged one inside the other to resemble a Spanish fan. Inside the pack, copper hot stamping decoration reflects the colour of the carnation flowers which are native to the city of Cordoba.

The effect of a flower coming into bloom is accentuated by embossing and matt black varnish on the outside of the pack which mirrors the opening of flower petals. The gift case not only protects the glass bottle inside but also provides a base to support and display the product in style at the point of sale.


Jury comment by Dr. Janet Shipton

This pack is a fine example of gift packaging. The construction presents and protects the product beautifully. I liked the dramatic effect of the outer packaging fanning out to reveal the bottle inside and the filler board used reflects high quality throughout the product. Opening the pack is a very satisfying experience as the carton protects the product really well and has an element of surprise. All in all a really well thought through, well executed gift pack.


Platinum Winner: New Year Makeup Calendar

Name of Entry: New Year Makeup Calendar

Carton Converter: Durero Packaging

Brand Owner: Groupe Yves Rocher

Structural Designer: Durero Packaging

Graphic Designer: Yves Rocher

Cartonboard Manufacturer: Metsä Board



Make Up for the New Year

This attractive heptagonal pack is made up of seven identical, linked cartonboard triangular cases which contain seven makeup gifts. The carton can be displayed in a number of ways and is fun for consumers to interact with as it can be unfolded and shaped into a 7-petal pinwheel, a star and even a caterpillar. This modular pack is designed with the same shape being copied seven times in order to simplify the folding and gluing processes and reduce machine preparation time making the pack less difficult and less costly to make.


General Packaging Winner, Virgin Fibre: GER Coffer


Name of Entry: GER Coffer

Carton Converter: Alzamora Group

Brand Owner: Gernetic International

Structural Designer: Alzamora Group

Cartonboard Manufacturer: BillerudKorsnäs



Best Face Forward

The “GER Coffer” was designed as an elegant pack in which to display two highend face creams for the celebration of the brand’s 50th anniversary. The case is made from 2 pieces – a hexagonal carton which opens to reveal the product and a simple band that encloses it, both of which combine to give the pack a solid structure for storage and display. The hexagonal pack opens up to reveal the face creams which are then pushed forward for easy removal. The packaging is made entirely of cartonboard, without any plastic elements, so is fully recyclable and biodegradable. The use of gold stamping throughout portrays a sense of luxury and premium quality while the unwrapping experience differentiates this product pack from its competitors.


Jury comment by Susanne Lippitsch

This packaging delights with its simple structural design and special unwrapping experience. When the gold embossed band is removed it reveals a highly decorated honey-comb shaped pack which invites the consumer to open it. Then comes the surprise as the inner pack pushes forward to present the contents. The combination of protective cover and floating product presentation inside is captivating!


To mark the 25th anniversary of the Awards, a new Champions’ Trophy was presented to WestRock. The carton converter was praised for winning the coveted Carton of the Year title the greatest number of times since 1997, with a total of five wins.


Tony Hitchin, General Manager of Pro Carton said: “The quality of entries submitted this year was phenomenal. The European Carton Excellence Awards have exceeded expectations yet again and what better year to do so than on its 25th anniversary! All of the packs and solutions entered demonstrate why cartonboard is the material of the future and highlight the important role it will play in helping brands and retailers move towards a circular economy. The Awards make it clear that cartons protect and promote brands as well as the environment, thanks to the structural design and aesthetic finish that can be achieved coupled with the strong eco-credentials of fibre-based packaging. It was a pleasure to celebrate a quarter of a century of carton innovation, with live streamed interaction with the winners.  Great to see so many happy people!”  



Pro Carton is the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers. Its main purpose is to promote the use of cartons and cartonboard as an economically and ecologically balanced packaging medium.


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