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Seventy-one submissions from 57 companies vied for five 2015 PMA Impact Awards: Excellence in Packaging, winners of which were revealed at the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Summit Convention and Expo in Atlanta:
- Botanical Food Company Inc./Gourmet Garden, for their Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Herbs & Spices
- Mann Packing Company, for their Culinary Cuts
- Mucci Farms, for their Hot Shots Mixed Hot Peppers Re-sealable Tray with Cardboard Pocket Sleeve
- Naturipe Farms, LLC, for their "On-the-Go" Fresh Blueberry Blends
- Ocean Mist Farms, for their Season & Steam Kalettes
A panel of industry-expert judges – including Meg Major, Progressive Grocer's chief content editor; Peter Goulet, founder and owner of Pinnacle Sales & Marketing; Ron McCormick, senior director of sustainable agriculture with Walmart; Kip Martin, floral department merchant for Raley’s Family of Fine Stores; and Dr. Bob Whitaker, PMA chief science & technology officer – looked for products that lead as examples in produce and floral packaging, demonstrating originality with emphasis on connecting with consumers, safeguarding the product inside, sustaining the environment and improving supply chain efficiencies.
Judges scored each entry in five areas: marketing, food safety, supply chain efficiency, sustainability excellence and consumer convenience excellence.
Of the entries, 20 finalists and five winners were showcased in the exhibit hall. Each entry received a cumulative score based on the following five areas of excellence:
- Marketing: Stands out with regard to style, form and message. Distinctive materials, compelling graphics and clear messaging are utilized to influence consumer attention and drive sales through product differentiation.
- Sustainability: Meets the mission to reduce, reuse, and/or recycle along with recommended practices offered by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.
- Consumer Convenience: Offers convenience attributes that encourage consumer behavior including easy-to-carry handles, re-sealable closures, cooking technology, portability, etc.
- Food Safety: Employs innovative food safety protocols to prevent food-borne illness through innovative use of packaging materials and/or components.
- Supply Chain Efficiency/Functionality: Creates efficiencies for one or more segments of the supply chain (transportation, handling, storage, merchandising) and/or extends product shelf life.