With Pro Carton’s pan-European Awards set to return this September to mark its 27th year, the countdown to enter the European Carton Excellence Award (ECEA), the most prestigious and respected award in the industry, has begun.

There is just one month left to enter the ECEA, hosted by Pro Carton and the European Carton Makers Association (ECMA), which acknowledges, rewards, and challenges partners across the supply chain to showcase their most innovative cartonboard packaging designs.

Interested parties have until 26 May 2023 – WITH NO DEADLINE EXTENSION – to submit their award-worthy designs.

European Carton Excellence Award (ECEA) 2023 Logo png
Entries can be made in four categories:
  • General Packaging – Virgin Fibre
  • General Packaging – Recycled Fibre
  • Food & Drink Packaging – Virgin Fibre
  • Food & Drink Packaging – Recycled Fibre

All award submissions will automatically be entered into the Carton of the Year Award, while entrants can also choose to enter the Sustainability and/or Innovation Award. The public will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite pack in the Public Award, while Platinum and Gold Award winners will also be chosen in each category.

Winners are chosen by a prestigious panel of packaging experts representing different stakeholders from the cartonboard value chain. This includes Saatkar Gidda, consultant and chair of the jury; Susanna Lippitsch, leading packaging designer; and Sanjeev Das, Global Packaging Director for Unilever.  The panel will assess each entry against rigorous criteria, including graphic and structural design, production techniques, cost-efficiency, ecology, innovation, and convenience.

In 2022, the coveted Carton of the Year accolade went to Rutgers Printing & Packaging Solutions (Carton Converter) and Stora Enso (Cartonboard Manufacturer) for its snack tomatoes pack. It was described as a “masterpiece of elementary and sustainable design, with the perfect balance between maximising the visibility of the product while maintaining rigidity.”:

ECEA Carton of the Year winner 2022: Snack tomatoes pack by Rutgers Printing & Packaging Solutions and Stora Enso

The folding carton design was made of food-safe, renewable virgin fibre, with a stand-out locking mechanism which wowed the judges. Furthermore, for 100,000 boxes, it is estimated that the snack tomatoes pack can help brand owners save more than 6,700 kilos of plastic.

Previous Carton of the Year winners include Durero Packaging (Structural Designer) and Holmen Iggesund (Cartonboard Manufacturer) who took the 2021 title for Bodegas Balsamic, while the 2020 Award was presented to Van Genechten Packaging (Cartonboard Converter) and Stora Enso (Cartonboard Manufacturer) for its Roku Gin gift box.

Winfried Muehling, Pro Carton’s Marketing and Communication Director, commented: “Each year, the standard of entries for the European Carton Excellence Awards is exceptionally high. The awards recognise the beauty of cartonboard – not only in its visual form, which is highly aesthetic – but the functional benefits it offers. It is fast becoming the preferred packaging material for brands looking for a renewable, recyclable, and sustainable alternative.

“Since the award launched back in 1997, it has grown into the industry’s must-attend ceremony and the perfect place to meet and greet fellow packaging professionals, giving attendees the chance to network and celebrate with the industry. We can’t wait to see this year’s entries and celebrate our next class of winners this September in Seville, Spain.”

The final deadline for entries is 26 May 2023. No deadline extension will be offered. Winners will be announced at the official awards gala on Thursday, 21 September 2023 in Seville, Spain, attended by participants from the entire value chain.

To find out more about this year’s European Carton Excellence Award, including how to enter, visit our ECEA Awards area.