Packaging majors tie for second in national contest with innovative designs

Ryan Knudtson's cereal boxCreating a new type of cereal box and a stand-up coffee pouch garnered two UW-Stout packaging students second places in a national design contest.

Seniors Ryan Knudtson, 28, of Strum, and Benjamin Huber, 22, of Rochester, Minn., tied for second in the Student Flexible Packaging Design Challenge. Knudtson designed the cereal box and Huber the coffee container.

The polymer fiber cereal box does not require the traditional film bag and cardboard box, Knudtson explained. “It has a sealed top and bottom and still stands up like a traditional box. The problem I was trying to solve was to limit the materials used and still provide the same benefits. The traditional cereal box is an old style of packaging. I’m surprised it hasn’t changed.”

The plastic box, recyclable, keeps the cereal fresh and makes it easier to pour.

“It is using less material, so the weight is lower to aid in transportation costs,” Knudtson said, noting that it can be stacked, is good for graphics and is easy to dispense.

Huber’s stand-up coffee pouch has a self-measuring plastic side panel. He said people tend to use drip coffee at cottages or cabins and a pod-style coffee machine at home.

Benjamin Huber's stand-up coffee pouch“I was trying to figure out how I could integrate a measuring style to make it more convenient,” Huber said. The packaging prevents oils from the coffee beans from being exposed to the air, keeping the coffee fresher longer.

The biggest influence on his design was the Act mouthwash bottle that squeezed a portion of the product into a canister for use, Huber said.

Huber said his design would cost more to produce than a traditional pouch and measuring scoop. However, the flexible design takes less space.

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