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Breakthroughs in smart packaging

Source:Food Bev Asia

Date Published:12/5/2018 10:12:22 AM

Packaging has a wider role in the food and beverage industry today as it becomes part of the solution to many of the industry’s needs.

PACKAGING has a wider role in the food and beverage industry today as it becomes part of the solution to many of the industry’s needs, from physical product protection to improving the supply chain. Even as traditional packaging is here to stay, the way forward according to experts is to utilise available smart packaging solutions that come with new functionalities.

Stratistics MRC forecasts the global smart packaging market to grow from USD12.21 billion in 2017 to USD33.64 billion in 2026, reflecting a CAGR of 11.9% that is attributed to a greater awareness of food waste reduction, increased consumption of frozen and chilled food products, and product shelf life extension*. Helping drive the market is increased demand for packed food and fresh foods.

At ProPak Asia 2018, the Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association (AIPIA) shared a presentation explaining the basics of new smart packaging technologies. Being developed to meet the needs of F&B industry – and other industries – smart packaging technologies allow manufacturers to step up food safety and security, ensure compliance and traceability, reduce tampering and counterfeiting, and connect with consumers through labels. The presentation prepared by communications director Andrew Manly points out that these technologies will be instrumental in driving the development of new materials such as nano for packaging and also address the needs of new legislation. With active and intelligent packaging, manufacturers can take advantage of the widespread use of smartphones to share information and to understand their consumers in the process.

Food safety and security matters the most to manufacturers who know that products can be at risk at any time. Protecting their products with added features found in smart packaging can mitigate some of the problems and also help to address concerns in the entire food and beverage supply chain.

Advanced packaging technologies are becoming even more necessary as food chains become global, and food fraud remains a threat that is costing the industry up to USD 40 billion every year**.

Active packaging extends product shelf life significantly by employing technologies to control microbial growth or to slow the ripening process, for example. They allow the reduction of food waste substantially as products move from producer to consumer; they also make it possible for manufacturers to take their products farther across the globe.

Among the latest technologies mentioned in the AIPIA presentation is anticounterfeiting and anti-diversion monitoring tag, ThinFilm OpenSenseTM, which uses an NFC tag that senses the ‘sealed’ or ‘opened’ state of a product and wirelessly transmits both the information and tag’s unique identifier.

Other breakthrough packaging technologies are the Mimica Touch, a best before label with a side that forms bumps to indicate a product is no longer safe for consumption. By feeling the label for those bumps, consumers will instantly know whether or not the product is expired. This technology is said to be more accurate than sell-by dates which are based on estimates. Depending on how the product is handled, temperature changes and contamination after a product has been unsealed, can accelerate staleness even before sell-by dates. These conditions will be identified by Mimica Touch for the consumer.

One of the latest developments from thermoplastic resins producer Braskem Technologies in collaboration with Clemson University (USA) and Rio Grande do Sul Federal University uses colours to reveal the quality and state of a product.

Interactive packaging keeps consumers absorbed with brand and product information accessed via smartphones. Taking advantage of social media platforms is one of the better ways to maintain the connection.

For these reasons, smart packaging adds value and appeal to a product and to a company’s brand image – a basis for its promising growth and application.

The power of digital codes

THE Tetra Pak Index 2018 report highlights the trends shaping the growth of online grocery, one being that technology and performance will enable deliveries made in as fast as 10 minutes. Smart packaging has a function in this.

The report explains how unique digital codes in smart packaging allow a product package to be assigned a unique identifier, and since codes are readable by data scanning, devices or smartphone, they link to vast amount of information and open up many possibilities.

Connecting brands with consumers in real time, smart packaging is a channel by which companies can share details on the sourcing of raw materials, nutritional facts, games, promotions and environmental information, as well as gather consumer insights to make the shopping experience more personalised, Tetra Pak says.

e-Retailers also call for unique identifiers compatible with the robotic technology used in their warehouse and distribution, as this is widely seen as the key to success in e-commerce. Data and full traceability help them navigate complex logistics and improve efficiency, moving closer to real-time order fulfilment.

“The rise of on-line grocery is a great opportunity for food and beverage brands, and packaging plays a key role in supporting their success. In particular, smart packaging helps drive greater transparency and efficiency in the supply chain, up and down stream, while also enabling a direct, interactive relationship with the consumer. We believe this rapidly developing technology, tried and tested by us since 2016 and now being deployed in Europe, can help our customers explore new avenues, driving growth in the years ahead,” says Alexandre Carvalho, Director Global Marketing Services at Tetra Pak, in their report.



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