PPA’s 2016 Student Design Challenge: Unlimited Packaging Innovation!

What package holds your favorite cereal or pasta? The answer is most likely paperboard! Though we may take it for granted, a team of innovative designers are behind that simple yet efficient package that ends up in our homes. The Paperboard Packaging Alliance’s (PPA) annual Student Design Challenge (SDC) introduces and promotes paperboard packaging to future packaging engineers and industrial and graphic designers. Through the annual SDC, enthusiastic collegiate students are given a challenge which results in unlimited packaging innovation!

On Monday, Nov. 7, PPA recognized the 2016 SDC award winners and participants at its annual luncheon held in conjunction with PACK EXPO Chicago. More than 180 students, faculty and industry representatives attended.

The 2016 award winners include the University of Florida (first place), Rochester Institute of Technology (second place) and Virginia Tech (third place). The winning entries and other participants are being promoted on

This year, a record-high 220 students from 16 of North America's top packaging and design colleges and universities participated in the SDC, designing an unconventional, innovative premium package for dry goods food with a structural component that enhanced its function. Students explored different shapes, sizes and incorporated unique opening and reclosing features.

An interview with three of this year’s SDC judges, Brett Wade of International Paper, John Rebhorn of General Mills and Jennifer Mitkal of Barilla, was live broadcast via the PPA Facebook page and can be viewed here.

Continuing to support future packaging designers is essential to the future of packaging innovation!

The Paperboard Packaging Alliance (PPA) is a joint initiative of the American Forest & Paper Association and the Paperboard Packaging Council. The mission is to promote the benefits of paperboard packaging and products to influence preference for these materials in packaging design and selection. For more information, visit

PPA SDC Winners Blog (1)