We are delighted to have Sanjeev Das, Ice Cream Research & Development Head for Packaging & Systems for Unilever, sit on the judges panel again for us in 2023.  Sanjeev is a judge for both the European Carton Excellence Award (ECEA) and the Pro Carton Young Designers Award (PCYDA).

Sanjeev studied packaging engineering and has some 20 years diverse experience across different business categories in consumer products and the healthcare industry.  He is a strong advocate for experiential packaging via a synthesis of design, sustainable materials, technology, and partnerships.

As we approach the final stages of the 2023 Awards with the ECEA and PCYDA entries already shortlisted by Sanjeev and the panel of judges and with the public votes opening up in July, we asked Sanjeev for some insights around his role on the Judging panel.

How did you first become involved in the ECEA and PCYDA Awards?

Pro Carton approached me with the opportunity to judge Award entries in 2022.  It thought it would be rewarding to be part of the panel, and I wasn’t wrong!  I am glad that I took up the challenge – we  review exciting creations from both seasoned industry players (ECEA) and also creative young minds (PCYDA).

What specific elements do YOU look at and look out for in the entries? 

I am particularly interested in the consumer problem that is being solved by each cartonboard creation in these Awards.  I also try to understand the insight behind the carton and in what way the carton is unique.  I look out for practical creativity, as a differentiator.  I am also looking to have a great overall user experience with the carton.  These elements combined  are what make a winner for me.

This must differ for ECEA and for PCYDA?  What are the differences?  

The main differences are that for ECEA, in addition to what I have said previously, the technical expertise and how that is executed is important.  ECEA entries are cartons that are already in production, so the overall finish of the product, the detail, the aesthetics of the solution are all things I look for.  Of course, I am also drawn to those entries that are underpinned by a E2E sustainable approach!

Why would you recommend a young student to enter the PCYDA? What is in for them?

The PCYDA Award is a great platform for students to be recognised for showcasing your creative brilliance!  This is also a chance to present solutions to consumer pain points – look at “Twin Bags for Popcorn and Beverages” and “Swingtape” – PCYDA winners in 2022.  PCYDA is a great place to start if you are ambitious and are looking to shape the design thinking for the future.  We hope to see your designs in 2024!


ECEA entries must have been manufactured for sale within the last 3 years and been sold on the European market.  PCYDA is open to all design students in Europe who are not working as professionals.