The 29th edition of packaging innovation competition De Gouden Noot was won by ACU-Drop® II, a unique, patented packaging form that revolutionises quality control in the In Vitro Diagnose (IVD) market.

The innovative, dual chambered device keeps various fractions separated, preventing reactions between components of the desired matrix. When ready, the user simply pushes a button to allow the fractions to combine. Then mix with the integrated “static stirrer” and the sample is ready to use, either from the built-in dropper bottle or by attaching a syringe. ACU-Drop® II will open doors in the quality control arena with its ease of use, elimination of the need for pipetting and by solving matrix interactions - all in a single container.

Winning business combination Verhoeven Ontwerpburo and Eurotrol received the winner's trophy containing the well-known solid gold walnut during the Award Ceremony on Thursday evening 22 November 2018 in the A’DAM Tower Amsterdam. Master of ceremony was Francesca Vanthielen.

The Silver went to the Combo Excelsior®, a multiple-use container with many new innovative features. The elements used (walls, base, lid) have a superior strength/volume ratio. The floating hinges, ergonomic sidewall latches and self-locking lid provide easy and safe operation with minimal risk of damage to the product or the operator. And thanks to its modular construction, all individual parts can be easily replaced in the field, further extending the life of the product, says Silver winner Schoeller Allibert.

The Bronze was for Arcwise, a patented alternative way to produce corrugated board. The end result is a corrugated board that is easy to bend, in a way that even, "fluent" (not kinked) round shapes can now be made of corrugated board without any problems. Arcwise is predestined because of its application possibilities to be combined with round shapes such as bottles, tubes and cans, and to be able to realise beautiful round shapes in displays. This from a threefold point of view: round shapes are significantly stronger than square shapes, in addition, the Arcwise corrugated board uses less material, so your carbon footprint is smaller and, finally, consumers rate round shapes more positively than square shapes, which can boost sales, according to the Bronze winning Brohl Wellpappe.

De Gouden Noot (first edition in 1958) is the world's most competitive packaging innovation contest. With De Gouden Noot, NVC Netherlands Packaging Centre stimulates ground breaking packaging innovations worldwide every two years. De Gouden Noot (‘gold walnut’) owes its name to the unique trophy containing a solid gold walnut, symbol of truly 'holistic' innovative packaging.

The first jury round of this 29th edition, with all packaging entries physically present for assessment by the full jury, took place on 28 and 29 June 2018. At the end of these two days, the jury selected the ten Finalists by consensus. These were then published on the internet. In the second round, on 17 October 2018, each of these ten Finalists defended his/her entry before the full jury.

Jury chairman Professor Renee Wever about the entrants, the ten Finalists and the final winner of the Gold: "It is incredibly inspiring to experience how much creativity and innovative power there is in all the entries and of course especially in the ten Finalists we chose after our first jury round - which took two full days. Each entry had a surprising aspect, each with its own 'angle' to solve a problem or seize an opportunity.

And then there is the spirit of innovation that we have all experienced. All ten Finalists were surveyed after their presentation to us in the second round of the jury, which took a full day (and where the winner's trophy with the solid gold walnut was within reach). When asked about their favourite word to characterise their hard work to bring their innovation to life, the vast majority of them replied with the word 'Fun'!

Then something about the great jury members, all active in the field of packaging but with backgrounds ranging from a PhD in quantum physics to marketing in e-commerce. Together we managed to reach our final verdict in a good atmosphere, on time and especially in consensus. I am looking forward to the next edition with enthusiasm!”

The winners of Gold, Silver and Bronze as well as the other seven Finalists of the 29th edition of De Gouden Noot are on display in the Creative Lounge at the ALL4PACK packaging exhibition in Paris from 26-29 November 2018.

The end of this Award Ceremony was the start of the 30th edition of De Gouden Noot. The ten Finalists of this 30th edition will be on display at the NVC booth at the interpack2020 in Düsseldorf, Germany (North Entrance ENB/03) and on the NVC website after the first jury round. The Award Ceremony of the 30th edition of De Gouden Noot is 8 October 2020, again in the A’DAM Tower Amsterdam.