Smart packaging has been prevalent these days. In 2020 alone, the market was valued at $38.16 billion. 

Experts believe the market is projected to reach $48.72 billion in 2026. 

Smart packaging is popular for a reason. The self-heating food packaging techniques allow consumers to have their favorite snacks whenever they want without inconvenience. Smart packaging also monitors food quality with accuracy, consistency, and functionality. 

No wonder businesses have invested in smart packaging. 

If you are running a business or planning to level up your packaging, you have come to the best place. Without further ado, let us begin! 

What is Smart Packaging? 

There are two popular and common types of smart packaging. These are active and intelligent packaging. 

Active Packaging

Active packaging is the go-to choice for many because it interacts with the content, improves a product’s quality and shelf life. 

How is it possible? Companies either remove or add certain substances from the medium. Specifically, businesses invest in light filtering materials, moisture-regulating components, ethylene/oxygen absorbers, antimicrobial surface coatings, and other special materials. 

The beer in plastic bottles is the best example. Its screw cap is made up of an oxygen absorber, extending its shelf life to 3 or 6 months. 

Intelligent Packaging

On the other hand, intelligent packaging provides an extra benefit. Particularly, it can include indicator and diagnostic functions. 

As the name indicates, it is packed with sensors or indicators developed to monitor an item’s condition or provide other necessary information (temperature, freshness, storage time, and tightness). 

Before, it was hard to determine whether or not a product has exceeded its critical limit. Things are different today. With the temperature and integrated freshness indicator, consumers and retailers would know it right away. 

A color change, for instance, shows the proliferation of salmonella or interruption in the cold chain within a second or two. 

Intelligent packaging is gaining immense popularity because it fulfills information, marketing, protective, or automation functions in the form of displays, barcodes, radio chips, NFC, augmented reality, and loudspeakers. 

A common example is packaging with RFID chips, tiny loudspeakers, and LEDs. It works by registering the removal of every pill. Plus, it alarms every time it is taken incorrectly. It is high-end and innovative, right? 

Intelligent packaging also provides smartphone users additional information on every product, including the origin, ingredients, and production conditions. 

All you have to do is to scan RFID chips or barcodes. That’s it. There is nothing special and complicated here. 

Although its mass application failed, intelligent packaging has been incorporated into the marketing or logistics industry. 

For instance, the Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle is equipped with electronic sensors that indicate whether it is still in the distribution chain or has been opened. 

Which is better? Well, identify your requirements ahead of time to make decisions with confidence. 

Smart Packaging Recorded a High Market Growth for the Past Years 

Who would have thought that smart packaging would be immense? No one has expected it. But it has been creating noise in different markets. 

However, its mass application failed, although innovative technology is highly accessible, because of its high production cost. 

Good news! Some researchers are currently working on a more affordable and efficient production process that builds and develops sensory labels with modern films and flexible silicon chips. 

A study conducted by the Organic Electronics Association found that printable electronics should be readily available this 2021. 


Analysts at IDTechEx, a prominent market research company, estimate that any printed, electronic packaging sales will be on the rise by 2023. 

Experts believe it will increase up to $1.4 billion. 

The DIN Institute is also following the development. Likewise, specialists are establishing standardization within IEC to finally and successfully introduce printable electronics in today’s crowded market. 

Is Logistics An Innovation Driver in Smart Packaging? 

The distribution channels and cutting-edge presentation thru smart packaging resulted in a reevaluation of the whole logistics chain in the packaging sector. 

Intelligent packaging increases the digitalisation of printing in the transport industry and opens new interaction possibilities in the logistics sector. 

Aside from being the incubator of smart packaging, Peter Wippermann, a trend researcher, does not expect much intelligent packaging in the coming years. 

Smart packaging is also recognized as a building block on the way to the packaging sector. In fact, the real-time tracking of the transport route is already practiced and implemented in today’s logistics. 

Experts believe that innovative technologies like RFID chips will increase the possibilities of smart packaging to individual goods. We never know. 

Are Consumers Ready to Use, Try, and Adapt Smart Packaging? 

The innovations in smart packaging will indeed open up various opportunities to reach clients and understand their pain points/needs/requirements. 

But are consumers willing to adapt and use these most recent trends? 

With the continuing need for information, consumers will receive smart packaging, according to experts. 

A Mindshare study entitled Everyday Connects revealed that client’s willingness to try and take advantage of smart packaging is extremely high. 

But consumers expect user-friendly, quick, simple, and fun interaction. Researchers said that the use of smartphones could make it happen. 

A Germany-based company named Saralon has designed functional inks that enable displays, sensors, and printer batteries on the packaging. 

But it would not be possible with other electrical components. 

Apart from getting rid of an IT infrastructure needed for readout, this type of smart packaging is found to be simpler, less vulnerable, and cheaper.

Its Disposal Raises Concerns and Worries Among People 

People raise concerns about the disposal of smart packaging. Sadly, it remains insufficiently regulated, representing a problem in the market. 

Yes, smart packaging might fall under the EEEA (Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act). Although it is considered an electronic device because of its electronic elements, disposal via household waste is still a headache. 

Experts encourage manufacturers to create special markings. 

Conclusion 

Packaging has transformed into something more advanced than we have thought. Thanks to continuous technological development. 

But instead of image cultivation, smart packaging must be tailored according to the company’s goals and customer’s pain points. 

Let’s hope for the best!

Image Source: BigStockPhoto.com (Licensed)

 

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