Bauerfeind Wraparound packaging nominated for ProCarton award

European Carton Excellence Award 2020 Short Listed

Karl Knauer submits sustainable packaging for socks


With its thoroughly well-designed, innovative cardboard packaging for Bauerfeind compression socks, the packaging specialist Karl Knauer from the Black Forest has knocked the proverbial socks off the jury of the European Carton Excellence Award. In Europe’s most important competition for cardboard packaging, Karl Knauer outperformed the majority of the other submissions (almost 100): the packaging solution, protected by the German Federal utility model, was placed on the shortlist for public voting by the experts. In the coming weeks, it will be decided whether the sustainable wraparound packaging will go on to win the coveted award. The winners will then be honoured in an online gala in October, the first of its kind in the award’s history.

At first sight, it is not immediately obvious that the wraparound packaging for the sports compression sock series of the Bauerfeind brand has such a sophisticated design. However, it combines numerous individual developments created by Karl Knauer in collaboration with Bauerfeind to form a solution that impresses manufacturers, trade and retail customers alike. The special features include integrated theft prevention, creases for variable size adjustment and flexible hanging options. And on top of this, the packaging is made from FSC®-certified, fully recyclable cardboard.

The design: open for maximum (anti-theft) protection
The starting point for the packaging, which already has utility model protection, was Bauerfeind, a long-standing customer of Karl Knauer, wanting to avoid using any plastic to protect the merchandise, unlike most other manufacturers in the segment. “For Bauerfeind, it was particularly important for the socks to be fixed in the packaging in way that enables the customer to feel the material but not remove the socks” explained Rita Schätzle, project leader at Karl Knauer KG.  This was realised by using an innovative wraparound design with hinges on both sides of the packaging. The design holds the socks firmly in the packaging, but the customer can still see the colour and pattern and feel the material. This is important, as it allows the customer to actually feel the special quality of the socks. “When you’re considering which socks to purchase for top athletic performance, it is nice to be able to touch the socks with your fingers and experience how the material feels against your skin,” Schätzle continued.  

The material: sustainable, high-quality, reduced to a minimum.
It is not only the feel of the packaged goods but also the material of the packaging that attracts attention at the POS: plastic-free, environmentally friendly and made from FSC®-certified cardboard – this makes it stand out from its competitors straight away, who mainly use plastic in their packaging. Thanks to its innovative look and a high-quality, scratch-resistant matt-film lamination, the packaging remains attractive even when it has been handled multiple times. At the same time, the cardboard can be printed on the outside and the inside and thus, thanks to the wraparound design, there is plenty of space to present product information.  

The hanger: easy handling at the POS
To allow customers to not only touch the socks but also take them from the shelf easily, the hanger was given an open design, like the packaging itself: thanks to the universal hanger designed by Karl Knauer, which enables presentation at the POS on both 1- and 2-rod systems, the packaging can be removed from the hook system easily, even from the back row. “We always aim to develop packaging that impresses everyone – manufacturers, purchasing departments and customers,” explained Rita Schätzle. “For this reason, we are delighted to be making an impression not only on the market but also at international competitor level with our Bauerfeind solution. We will have to wait a few weeks to see if it will win, but this is of secondary importance. The main thing is that we have once again shown that cardboard is able to fulfil exacting requirements on its own and is a real, sustainable alternative to plastic.”

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