Did you see this year’s winners of the Packaging Innovation Awards from Dow? They’re always fun to check out to learn what some of the brightest minds in the industry come up with to solve problems and wow shoppers.

The 31-year-old contest, judged by a panel including design, engineering, retail, converting and academic professionals, received a record number of entries.

Let’s take a look at a few winning packaging designs that help people carry and cook food new ways, or fix an issue so the product is presented just right.

These packages do some extra work for the buyers.

Cold brew coffee with a special base



Amcor designed this PET bottle’s base to prevent lightweight structures from denting. The base, with PowerStrap technology and PowerFlex Geodesic design, flexes upward to counteract the vacuum when liquid absorbs oxygen from the headspace. The GeoStrap base for Nestlé’s Coffeemate replaces a more easily dented design and prevents overfilling in the company’s supply chain.

Flavor-release chamber for one-step microwaving


Schur Star Systems

The Zip-Pop stand-up pouch has a small chamber across the top that holds pucks of spices and butter or other flavors. As the food cooks, the two compartments pop together at a precise time to season the potatoes, Brussels sprouts or other product. The only preparation step is cooking, which takes about six minutes. No stopping midway to stir. No need to punch holes in the bag. Schur Star Systems designed the bags for potato supplier Potandon Produce.

Fresh take on the beer carton



When you open the Molson Coors Cooler Bag, it has a carrying handle and enough room to hold 5 pounds of ice to chill beer from room temperature in about 20 minutes. The extra film tightly overlays the 12-pack’s traditional brick shape for distribution, maintaining the billboard space. Amcor designed the side-gusseted bag to be reusable and withstand more than 100 lbs. of force.

Crunchy nuts with dried fruit


Hangzhou Holmes Food Co.

Nuts stay crunchy on one side of this divided package, separate from dried fruit. The Baicaowei Fresh Lock packaging has a heat-sealed strip to divide it. Use the easy-tear opening and mix before eating.

For more information, visit www.dowpackagingawards.com