• Graphic Packaging Student Design Competition

    Butterkist Microwave Popcorn Product Packaging Design Challenge

    This Competition Has Ended


Graphic Packaging Design Challenge

Microwave popcorn is a favourite among many consumers due to the convenience and satisfaction of being able to easily cook fresh popcorn at home. There are currently three flavour variants in the popular Butterkist microwave range: Butter, Salted and Sweet – your challenge is to design a new constructionally striking carton for this product line.

The pack should hold between 3 and 6 sachets of popcorn, incorporating a variety of each of the three flavours. As the designer, you must find a way to increase the pack's shelf presence and improve customer engagement with the packaging, ideally devising a way for it to be reassembled at home to offer a sharing element. Can the packaging bring excitement and intrigue to the occasion as well as being suitable for use within the home environment? The carton should still be recognisable as part of the Butterkist family of products, therefore the graphics of the pack should follow Butterkist's brand guidelines.


  • Setting the Scene

    The 1930s saw the arrival of Butterkist in the UK; American soldiers and British cinemagoers couldn’t get enough of it. The first Butterkist factory opened in York in the 1950s and sold its golden popcorn directly to cinemas.

  • Gourmet popcorn is one of the top 10 food trends for 2013. Sterling-Rice predicted popcorn sales will “explode” this year thanks to its “addictive” quality and its use as a vehicle for sweet and savoury flavours. Consumers love the variety and convenience of popcorn, as well as the home cinema feel it gives when watching a movie on your sofa with family and friends.

  • The Butterkist family now consists of a range of bags, tubs, cartons and microwave packs.

The Panel

Benson's expert panel of judges consists of experienced packaging industry experts. They are eagerly anticipating competition entries from packaging design superstars of the future.

Helena Blincow


Helena Blincow is Brand Manager for Butterkist, the market leading popcorn brand, where her role includes everything from strategic brand planning to new product launches. Helena has worked within food marketing for a number of years, since graduating from the University of Hull with a degree in Marketing and gaining professional experience.


Nikki Clark

Graphic Packaging

Nikki has just completed her first year in the demanding role of Marketing Manager at Graphic Packaging, one of the UK’s leading providers of printed packaging. Prior to moving to this new and exciting position, Nikki had focused on managing the group’s Creative Design team where she spearheaded the move to provide design placements for university students.


Dean Parkin


Dean is a Packaging Development Team Leader at Tangerine Confectionery, home of the Butterkist brand, where his role includes developing new packaging concepts for retailers and branded products. With a strong background in carton design, Dean is keen to encourage students to enter this field and was once himself winner of the Starpack Student Design Award.


How to impress the panel...

  1. Innovative carton packaging, in keeping with the brand guidelines and with strong shelf presence
  2. Deliver the brand message of Butterkist as the hero of the popcorn world
  3. Packaging must sit within the snacking and sharing at home sector, aimed at both young adults and families aged 10 - 45
  4. Packaging should encourage friends and family to share the microwave product on a movie night at home
  5. Consider the flexibility in the interior structure, how can the carton transform to create a sharing pack, are further pieces of carton packaging required?
  6. Maximum size: footprint of 160mm x 160mm, height 200mm
  7. Produce a cost effective solution; the pack should not use excessive amounts of material
  8. Packaging should be easily stored and quickly erected in the Butterkist factory. It must protect the product on its journey from factory to store and onto the consumer’s home
  9. Packaging should be tamper-evident during transit, but easy to open for the consumer
  10. Consider the end of life of the packaging, can it be recycled or reused?



Carton board must be the predominant material. Plastic film window material can also be used.



How to Enter

Please register to enter online at www.graphicpkgeurope.com, no later than November 15th 2013


- Provide a model of your Butterkist microwave popcorn pack using the brand’s graphics

- Provide three A3 supporting development boards as pdfs. These should show how you arrived at your chosen design

Please post your model to: Nikki Clark, Marketing Manager, Graphic Packaging, Interlink Park, Bardon, Leicestershire. LE67 1PE


Date for receipt of online entry is Friday 15h November 2013. Details of delivery arrangements will be sent via email shortly after the closing date.

The physical entry must be sent in to arrive the week commencing 18th November 2013. Entries received after this date will not be considered in the judging process.

The Prize

The winner will receive one week’s work experience at the Graphic Packaging Design Studio and a £250 cash prize (provided by Graphic Packaging).

They will also be invited to visit Butterkist’s head office in Pontefract, which will include a tour of the famous popcorn factory.

Runners up will each receive an Award Certificate and goody bag of Butterkist products.


Free carton board material, brand guidelines and popcorn sachets can be obtained by contacting Nikki Clark.

E: nikki.clark@graphicpkgeurope.com T: 01530 518296

Terms and Conditions

The Top Entries

Take a look at a few of the entries we have received from students across the UK. The winner will be announced on Monday 6th December and their entry will be proudly displayed in the gallery below.

Kyle Dawney


Alex Heatley


Laura Whitehead


Competition Registration