Understanding Smart Packaging And why it will shape the industry’s future

smart packaging

Everything is getting smart these days: watches, cars, homes, entertainment, construction; the list goes on, but is packaging getting smart as well? The focus on “smart” packaging is increasing because of the many ways it has already begun changing the product packing industry and packaging as a whole.

What is Smart Packaging?

Smart packaging essentially refers to the use of new and exciting technologies in the packaging industry that will improve both consumer and business utility, making it much more simpler to access and track all relevant information pertinent to products and companies. Consumers can gain more insight into what they are buying through more information, better product tracking, and transparent sharing: this is a great way to learn more about the companies making the products they are purchasing and using. For producers, smart packaging can be a gateway to learning more about consumers and markets that businesses are selling to, along with additional information that provides a more tailored, unique, and accessible experience for consumer to engage with.

Major e-commerce platforms and companies have already begun investing in smart, sustainable and tech integrated packaging opportunities; the smart packaging market is forecast to expand up to $59 billion by the end of 2026 alone. You can take a look at this brief overview of what smart packaging involves, including its applications and benefits.

Types of Smart Packaging

Smart packaging can be primarily divided into two categories:

Active Packaging

In active packaging, the package affects and better preserves what’s inside and the goal is to ultimately increase a product’s shelf life. The packaging is in direct contact with the product and releases compounds (yes! this is real) that enhance the medium and protect the components from environmental factors. The most popular applications of this include ethylene and oxygen absorbers, light filtering materials, moisture-control, antimicrobial coating, to name a few. A great example of this is the addition of oxygen absorbers to caps in plastic beer bottles which increases the beer’s shelf life from three months to six.

Intelligent Packaging

Intelligent packaging is meant to communicate with the world outside rather than just the packaging itself. This aims to add diagnostics and clearly explain how the contents of a package function, it can also be a great marketing tool for better customer engagement. Intelligent packaging uses sensors and indicators that can monitor a product’s condition and provide information about its status. The focus is on temperature, tightness, freshness, storage, and so on. For example, food packed in intelligent packaging can change colour to indicate leaks or contamination. This can be a major boost for farmers and suppliers as food products will be better preserved and also for consumers who will get to know exactly how safe and consumable their food is.

Benefits of Smart Packaging

There are many devices in the IoT (internet of things) that communicate with smart packaging. Now packages can be equipped with electronic components that can provide Bluetooth, LED lights, alarms, RFID chips, and even loudspeakers. These components communicate with suppliers to achieve better protection and promise impressive conveniences. A good example is medicine packaging that can monitor how the medicines are being used; the package can monitor each pill a person takes take from the container and sound off an alarm if a wrong pill or dosage is taken at any time. This can also help healthcare providers link up their systems with these packages and monitor the medicines consumed by their patients.

  • Customer Awareness 

With technologies such as QR codes, RFID and NFC, intelligent packaging provides a great customer interface that can help consumers learn more about the products they purchase. A consumer can scan a QR code on a food package, and be directed to a page which will provide all necessary details regarding dietary concerns, ingredient sourcing, research and nutritional value. Another example is packaging that can direct customers to product guides and user manuals through their smartphone cameras.

  • Quality Control

With the use of sensors and indicators, smart packaging can help monitor the condition of a product and indicate whether it is good for use or compromised. Some packaging can even increase shelf life by eliminating unwanted particulates from the medium, while others can help detect counterfeits. The result is transparent access to genuine quality products which can be traced back directly to the manufacturer. Effective, long lasting quality control solutions have been amiss in the industry and smart packaging can provide this with ease.

  • Staying Relevant

For any business that hopes to keep growing, investing in new technologies is favourable and at times inevitable. The major task is to identify ideal practices and technologies that can impact business in a positive manner. Smart packaging will provide your customers with an advanced interface and a shopping experience they may come to abide by. Remember, customers always seek out newer, better technologies and experiences, and smart packaging is the next best thing you can invest in for the long haul. Investing in smart packaging will also help project your company as a technologically advanced enterprise and will help your brand gain favourable customer attention. 

  • Genuine, Counterfeit-Proof Products 

We’re all aware that there are many instances and impersonators who sell fake products under the guise of another product and brand name, this is harmful and takes away substantial profits away from any business. On top of that, fake products which are of inferior quality can damage your brand name and reputation. With smart packaging solutions, businesses and consumers will be able to better keep track of their products and purchases respectively.  

  • Transparency 

Today, major corporations are being held accountable for their social, economic, and environmental impact and this will become more important to the everyday consumer. Consumers are more likely to purchase a product if it’s environment friendly and they’ll even spend a little extra on it as well. Smart packaging helps consumers and businesses track where product materials are sourced from, where and how they are manufactured and by whom. This relevant information can be integral to consumers determining if they want to purchase from a brand in an ethical and responsible manner.

  • Positive Customer Experience

Some products are difficult to understand compared to others. Providing engaging opportunities for consumers to engage with and learn about the products they are buying is an important step in ensuring they understand the full capabilities of a product. Smart packaging can help direct customers to web informational videos and seamlessly connect them to a customer support line if they need to ask questions, raise concerns, and much more, all in a time-friendly manner.

The merits of smart packaging and its untapped potential are quite obvious and the practice can sustainably extend the functionality of product packaging to meet a plethora of needs. For the customer, the challenge might be getting used to the extra perks and changing old consumer habits. On the other hand, companies have to identify technologies that work well and become the first to offer them within the niche. The times surely are a-changing, and we must change right alongside in order to grow, and grow responsibly no less.

Do you also feel the need to have smart packaging products in Delhi that enables sustainable packaging for your business?

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