Cal Poly Packaging and Design Students Shine at AmeriStar Competition Once Again

Taking home top awards at the AmeriStar Student Packaging Competition has become an annual affair for Cal Poly students. For the sixth consecutive year, Cal Poly teams placed in the top three at the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) event.

For each project, Industrial Technology and Packaging students collaborated with Art counterparts to develop plans, branding and innovative physical prototypes.

Judged by industry professionals, the competition looked to honor “the most innovative packages developed by students enrolled in college, university or vocational/technical school programs.” Jane Chase, Executive Director of the IoPP, praised the award winners’ “creativity and resourcefulness” and called them “truly inspiring to all of us in the packaging industry.”

The second-place award went to Monster Bites, a unique and playful packaging system for candies. The package is a children’s toy for ages 5-13 that doubles as a candy dispenser. Its hexagonal outer shell features a monster character that changes with the removal of the top portion, which serves as a sharing cup. The “monster” is reclosable too, in order to keep its candy fresh. The Monster Bites team consisted of Industrial Technology and Packaging students Mackey Peek (San Marcos) and Kyle Shikashio (Campbell), and Art student Deric Shindledecker (Temecula).

Niu, a thoughtful and waste-conscious package for coconut oil, earned third place. The Niu package is designed to help consumers more easily scoop out the typically-frustrating last bit of oil, whether it’s in solid or liquid form. Niu packaging can be heated or cooled safely, and includes an inward-curved face so it can rest on unevensurfaces. Not only is the package attractive and functional, but it also helps to reduce food waste. Industrial Technology and Packaging students Chris Chaboya (San Jose) and Bryan Wharton (Lafayette) made up the Niu team.

Both of these projects were conceived and developed in ITP 485: Packaging Development in collaboration with ART 400: Special Problems for Advanced Undergraduates. Packaging Professors Irene Carbonell and Javier de la Fuente along with Graphic Design Professor Mary LaPorte served as faculty advisors.

For a full list of this year’s award winners, visit the IoPP’s site at