What is Packaging?
Packaging exists to deliver products to consumers in perfect condition. Well-designed packaging meets the requirements of the product while minimizing economic and environmental impacts of both the product and its package. Good packaging uses only as much of the right kind of material as necessary to perform this task.
As packaging is reduced, the range of scenarios under which product losses occur rises, until the increase in product loss exceeds the savings from the use of less packaging material. Any reduction in packaging beyond that point is a false economy, since total amount of waste in the system increases.
There can also be a few different layers of packaging, also known as primary packaging, secondary packaging, and tertiary packaging. The definitions for these are as follows: Primary Packaging:
"First-level product packaging such as the bottle, can, jar, tube, etc., that contains the item sold. It is the last packaging thrown by the consumer."
"That encloses the primary packaging, such as toothpaste tube in its box."
"One of the three types of wrapping used to protect manufactured goods. Tertiary packaging is typically not seen by consumers since it is usually removed by retailers before products are displayed for sale. Examples of tertiary packaging might include brown cardboard boxes, wood pallets and shrink wrap."
The smart packaging industry is estimated to reach nearly $40 billion by 2020.Thanks to modern companies looking for innovative and sustainable packaging, the demand in the smart packaging market is on the rise. Smart packaging involves a combination of specialized materials, science, and technology, and has the power to reduce food waste, enhance the shelf life of products, reduce loss, damage, waste, and cost in the supply chain. In the pharma industry, it can improve patient compliance and security, as well as help, improve anti-counterfeiting measures. The combination of several tools like brand protection, safety, convenience, and conveying product information, makes smart packaging a powerful tool in the packaging industry. It also has the potential to make a significant contribution towards enhancing the reach of a brand. Here are five ways in which smart packaging benefits companies:
Smart packaging means improved customer interface. Tech-savvy customers use newer forms of media or technology platforms. When brands engage on these platforms, they stand a higher chance of staying relevant in the consumer’s life. Also, it gives the opportunity for companies to connect with their existing as well as potential customers. Brands which do not project themselves as technologically advanced often fail to grab customer attention and also end up being labeled as outdated.
The smart codes that are embedded on to packages compile more information. This helps consumers in making informed purchase decisions. Additionally, manufacturers can supply information on sourcing, nutritional values, dietary concerns, etc. to the consumer through a QR (Quick Response) code. Advanced technologies in the packaging industry such as RFID (radio-frequency identification), NFC (near-field communication), and smart labels will further empower customers and help brands maintain a loyal customer base in the long run.
One of the significant concerns of brands is to enhance the shelf-life of their products. Smart packaging calibrates itself in accordance with the ambiance outside and inside the package. A popular example is that of color changing plastic that can detect food spoilage and communicate the same to the retailers and consumers. Also, Time Temperature Indicator Plastics help in detecting the loss of quality of the products packed. Food labels that indicate the state of quality/freshness of the packaged products are the fast-movers from the retail shelves.
Several top organizations are leveraging intelligent packaging systems to track products in the supply chain. Smart packaging has made monitoring the quality and detecting loss of quality of the products packed a much simpler process. From tracking supply chains to monitoring customer behavior, smart packaging has now made it possible for the brands to connect, capture, monitor and receive business intelligence.
Smart packaging helps reduce the impact of packaging on the environment, opening more sustainable packaging options for brands. Furthermore, it has proven to be economical and cost-effective, giving companies a competitive edge by reduction at source and thereby leaving reduced carbon footprints.