Student Brief A: Replacing Multi-Material Packaging

Sponsored by Alupro


Multi-material packaging, or composite packaging as it is more widely known, is used in a variety of product packaging. Composite material is a combination of two or more materials with different physical and chemical properties.

Composite packaging frequently uses plastic alongside other materials (such as a thin layer of aluminium). Whilst this packaging can offer strength, lightness and an airtight package for the product it is protecting, it is not widely recyclable.

It is more important than ever for the future and health of our planet to consider material choices in new product design. Aluminium is a great material choice as it has many qualities that lend themselves to the design of sustainable, innovative, attractive, functional yet still fully recyclable packaging.

The Brief

The challenge for this brief is to identify any product within the food and dried Beverage market sectors which is currently packaged in composite material and to re-design the package using aluminium. You will need to focus only on primary packaging and not use any secondary packaging. The product will need to be easily manufactured (in volume), have shelf appeal, marketability and be reusable or fully recyclable at the end of its useful life.

The brand design, values and communication messages are essential, as well as the actual design of the packaging. You will need to demonstrate real ‘shelf appeal’ that showcases and specifically references sustainability and just what can be done with aluminium.

Points to consider

  • Primary packaging is the packaging that most closely protects and is in direct contact with the product. For example, primary packaging in the beverage industry would be the bottle or can the beverage is sold in. Secondary packaging would be the cardboard/plastic wrap holding a number of cans/bottles together. The packaging needs be able to be manufactured.
  • Aluminium is light and strong so it can be manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes, it takes graphics very well and its natural sheen and brightness gives it great ‘shelf appeal’.
  • The brand messaging for the product is equally as important as the design of the packaging. It should include a justification of why aluminium is the best choice for the packaging, not simply a different material choice, as well as the messaging for the product.
  • The packaging needs to be able to be recycled easily, preferably through councils’ kerbside recycling systems. You will need to take into account that any residual contents in your packaging after use, can easily be removed/cleaned.
  • Think about the unique attributes of aluminium and use as many as you can in your designs.
  • If your packaging is reusable or refillable, think how the package will be refilled and also consider the packaging that is used to refill your product.
  • Example market segments to consider: Ground & Bean Coffee, Salted snacks, Confectionary, Sweet snacks, Food pouches, Culinary sauces, Dried pulses and fresh or frozen convenience food such as ready meals or bbq foods.

Materials to be used

The packaging must be made out of aluminium or an aluminium alloy. An actual mock up is not essential, but we do expect clear drawings/graphics to showcase the product. The design boards need to demonstrate how the product can be manufactured, filled, transported, marketed, consumed and appropriately recycled.

Submission Details

Online registration must include upload of the developments boards and photographic evidence of the final model

The development boards (uploaded as a single PDF document) need to include the following:

  • A3 Research Board
  • A3 Design Exploration Board
  • Net of Recommended Design Solution

The photographic evidence should:

  • Showcase the front, back and sides of the model
  • Be shot against a white background, and in focus. These images will be used in the Starpack Competition Book and may be used for additional promotion.
  • A maximum of 4 images to be uploaded
  • For students who are unable to supply a final model, 3D renderings and drawings are accepted.


Judging Criteria

What the judges are looking for:

  • Originality and aesthetic qualities of the design, with consideration to commercial viability

  • How the pack delivers the benefits to consumers and that the functionality has been considered as much as the branding

  • The quality of portfolio, which must include evidence of research and the development of the design

  • Designs which demonstrate awareness of environmental issues, through economic use of the material and recyclability.

  • Please also check out our past winners to see the standard of work required for winning entries.

In addition:

  • Individual briefs may have specific conditions required by the sponsors.  Please check each brief description carefully for full details.

Brief A Judges




£500 cash prize and a trip to Crown Packaging drink can manufacturing plant in Botcherby (Leciestershire) or Carlisle.


We award Gold, Silver, Bronze and Highly Commended certificates but only give physical trophies to Gold, Silver and Bronze winners. All students will receive a certificate of entry

About Alupro

Alupro is an industry funded, not-for-profit organisation with over 30 years experience representing the UK’s aluminium packaging industry.

We work to fulfil the industry’s obligation to meet, and exceed, recycling targets for aluminium packaging. We are achieving this by working in partnership with local authorities, the waste management industry and the wider metal packaging sector to develop and stimulate the UK’s collection infrastructure. We also manage and run consumer information and education campaigns to encourage participation in recycling schemes.


Contact Details

For guidance with the brief please contact Julie Meeks

tel. +44(0) 01527 597757