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Now in its 12th year, the Carton Award competition never ceases to amaze us. This year we once again had a very high number of entries closely matching the numbers we have received in previous good years. As well as receiving entries from the countries where Pro Carton currently has offices, we also received a number of entries from Russia, Romania, Poland and Canada and so are pleased to see that the spread of this award is getting bigger each year. We would like to take this opportunity to thanks all those members of Pro Carton and ECMA who once again took the time to send in their entries.

The overall quality of the entries once again impressed the judges greatly and the judging process in 2008 took longer than usual with a greater level of discussion as it was more difficult than normally to select the winners. It is now an established fact it seems that the confectionery and beverages categories are the most well represented. The other categories were all represented but once again we failed to attract a level of entries in the tobacco category that is required for real judging and so no award was made in this category in 2008. It was also greatly encouraging that after the introduction of a special award for sustainability that started last year, many of the 2008 entries highlighted clearly how the design of their entry or some changes from a previous design helps in offering better sustainability. This topic is very high in the packaging agenda and cartons, being made from a fully renewable resource, are perfectly placed to offer advantages in this respect to packaging buyers and specifiers. Examples were entered that showed reductions in weight with no loss of performance, adaptation of designs that removed multi material packs and replaced them with 100% cartonboard designs and also the total replacement of other material with cartonboard with no overall loss of performance and an improvement in the print quality and appeal at the point of sale.

With about 75% of all purchasing decision made in front of the retailer shelf, cartons offer a level of appeal and attraction that is unmatched by other materials. They act more and more as an advertising material and with other forms of advertising becoming ever more fragmented, cartons offer brand owners and retailers the best opportunity to promote their brands and products.

Last year we distributed over 20,000 copies of the award booklet and intend to do the same this year. In addition in 2008 we attended both Interpack and Drupa and at both exhibitions showed all the 2007 winners on our stand. It was amazing to see the level of interest that was shown by visitors from across the world in the cartons we displayed and we answered countless questions about both the winning cartons and all the other entries from last year. This showed us that the quality of products produced and entered by our members show what can be done with carton packaging. A natural material allied to flair and innovation makes cartons the most effective and attractive packaging available and we hope you enjoy looking through the entries and winners from 2008.