Intelligent packaging is one aspect of smart packaging. Essentially, it's about bridging the gap between the physical experience and the digital world.
It is how the Internet of Things (IoT) applies to the packaging of goods. It extends and enables connectivity between consumers and brands through the products they buy.
What intelligent packaging brings to packaging is enhanced communication. To do this, it uses a range of technologies.
Intelligent Packaging Technologies
There’s a growing list of technologies and methods for creating intelligent packaging.
What they all do is create new means of communicating real-time information about a product to retailers and customers through packaging.
These intelligent packaging functions include diagnostic and indicator technology, such as biochemical active films, temperature and oxygen control, active labels and antimicrobial packaging.
Sensors and tags also play an important part in intelligent packaging, alongside augmented and virtual reality.
The barcode is a long-established and familiar packaging feature and it's a key means for applying intelligent packaging technology. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes, with dots and spaces arranged in a matrix. This matrix can connect readers to extended sources of information.
Radio frequency identification technology (RFID) tags can carry and collect real-time data, transmitting it to the user's system. They are a more expensive option than QR codes. But they offer crucial benefits to the food supply chain, such as inventory management and food safety checks.
Another specific type of RFID system is near-field communication (NFC). These types of tags contain unique identifiers for each packaged item. They can include personalised and location-specific information.
Time temperature indicators (TTIs) detect changes in food products, based on polymerisation reactions that result in colour changes. This provides accessible, visual information to consumers to assure the safety and quality of food.
Freshness indicators for food products can sense the freshness of the environment either inside or outside packaging. This intelligent packaging uses different types of sensors, including quality-indicating metabolites such as glucose, organic acids and ethanol. Sensors react to different conditions and display these through colour changes to the labelling.
There is increasing use of augmented reality (AR) technology in intelligent packaging. AR can make packaging highly interactive. Customers can launch animations and applications through the packaging directly. This enables customer engagement while providing valuable analytics.
Why Use Intelligent Packaging?
With rapid shifts in lifestyle and consumer demand, brands need to find ways of staying in touch with consumers and building relationships with them to instil loyalty.
At the same time, supply chains increasingly favour just in time models of storage and distribution. A key means of supporting these models is through the use of intelligent packaging.
Intelligent packaging has multiple functions. It helps ensure product safety and quality control. It offers valuable information to consumers, retailers and distributors. It has huge potential as a dynamic marketing tool, adding value to brands by building customer engagement.
Entertain, Educate and Inform
Creating two-way communications with customers is a powerful way of engaging with them and delivering an extended marketing package centred on the product itself.
Using a smart packaging platform, brands can connect to their customers entertain, educate and inform them.
Changes in people’s lifestyles and spending habits are driving this growth and it’s supported by developments in nanotechnology and advanced, integrated innovations.
Connecting with Intelligent Packaging
By building intelligent packaging into your product design, you can maximise your marketing reach and build brand loyalty.
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