Snack, coffee container ideas first, third in national contests

By University Communications
May 23, 2016
Easy Snack — Celery and Peanut Butter on the Go was created by UW-Stout students Tabitha Harnack, Mallory Geigle and Hannah Newman. They took first place in the national Flexible Packaging Association contest.

Photo: Easy Snack — Celery and Peanut Butter on the Go was created by
UW-Stout students Tabitha Harnack, Mallory Geigle and Hannah Newman.
They took first place in the national Flexible Packaging Association contest.


 Convenience often drives consumers to choose one product over another. Does it come in the right size? Is it simple to open and use? Can it easily be stored away?

The decision sounds complicated but usually isn’t. Consumers typically get answers to those key questions and more by simply looking at how a product is packaged.

Five seniors in the Bachelor of Science packaging program at University of Wisconsin-Stout proved recently that they understand how to make a product more convenient and, thus, more attractive to consumers.

Tabitha HarnackTabitha Harnack, Mallory Geigle and Hannah Newman designed a plastic package that makes it easy to transport and create a classic snack. Easy Snack — Celery and Peanut Butter on the Go took first place in the national Flexible Packaging Association contest for students.

Two other UW-Stout students, Ryan Bowe and Kayla Hartfiel, created an innovative way to keep various flavors of single serve coffee containers at the fingertips of coffee drinkers — on their kitchen counters. They took third place in the 48-hour Repack Student Design contest.

Celery and peanut butter

The celery and peanut butter package is designed to hold four pieces of celery and two tablespoons of peanut butter.

Both items come in one package, but each pouch tears open separately. The peanut butter pouch has a squeeze top.

Hannah Newman“We wanted to make something convenient for the consumer and that could apply to any gender, as well as many age groups,” Harnack said.

Harnack believes their idea has merit beyond a student project and as a possible product within the industry. “It’s great for road trips or for a school or work lunch. Also, it's environmentally friendly because there is minimal waste and it's convenient to use and store.”

Harnack, Geigle and Newman created the package in the Consumer Packaging class taught by Associate Professor Joongmin Shin.

The Easy Snack prototypes were developed in the UW-Stout packaging lab.

All three students will be seniors in the fall. Harnack is from Brodhead, Geigle from New Richmond and Newman from Cary, Ill.

Farmhouse Coffee Co. packaging

Single serve coffee containers

Bowe, of Menomonee Falls, and Hartfiel, of Neenah, entered the 48-hour Repack Student Design contest knowing it would be a challenge. Students have 48 hours to brainstorm, design, create and submit an entry. They also had to take photos, design the graphics for the box, create a video and write an essay.

It’s safe to say we got little to no sleep,” Bowe said.

Their work paid off as they took third place out of 46 entries nationwide.

Ryan Bowe and Kayla Hartfiel at the awards ceremonyStudents picked one of four contest categories that organizers said were “in dire need” of better packaging, coffee k-cups for Keurig coffee makers, pizza boxes, Barbie Doll packages and juice boxes.

The k-cup challenge was to create a package that keeps k-cups more organized while still looking attractive on the kitchen counter. K-cups typically are shipped loosely in a box.

Bowe and Hartfiel created the fictional Farmhouse Coffee Co. Their package holds a dozen k-cups in a recyclable, compostable box. The cups are stacked in four vertical columns by flavor. The user pulls one out in an opening at the bottom, and the next cup falls into view.

The rectangular box has two fold-out wings, making it attractive and easy to adjust to various countertop spaces. To see a product description and video, click here.

Our package doesn’t need to be hidden away in your pantry. It can act as a piece of décor in any kitchen and be very functional at the same time. (Users don’t need) to dig through a messy box to find the flavor they are looking for,” Hartfiel said.

Another advantage of the Farmhouse Coffee box is that it easily could replace Keurig boxes on shipping pallets and on store shelves because it’s the same size.

Bowe and Hartfiel, who attended the 48-hour Repack awards ceremony in Atlanta, will graduate in December.

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Photos

Second Photo: Tabitha Harnack

Third Photo: Hannah Newman

Fourth Photo: Ryan Bowe and Kayla Hartfiel took third place in the national 48-hour Repack contest with their Farmhouse Brewing Co. box for single serve coffee containers.

Bottom Photo: Ryan Bowe and Kayla Hartfiel at the awards ceremony.