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Amazing Smart Packaging Technologies
Technology is constantly evolving, and with new technologies, basic tasks become easier. The packaging and labeling industry has been seeing many technological advancements in recent years, many of them helping the industry grow at an accelerated rate.
One of the newer types of technology that is saving money for many businesses, are innovative smart packaging products. Smart packaging is also referred to as “active packaging”, “intelligent packaging”, “smart labels”, and “interactive packaging”.
New packaging technologies are being used to help find missing packages, to ensure packages are not being damaged during transport, and also allowing for better tracking of packages while in transit. Sure, the companies you trust for shipping already track your packages, but modern technology is taking package tracking to new heights.
Smart labels and packages can now be tagged with GPS tracking technologies, which means they can track a package to exact coordinates. Currently this type of technology is only used on costly packages, but since it is becoming more cost effective, it will start being seen more frequently.
Changing Food Labels
A different type of smart packaging technology that we are starting to see being used are color changing labels which indicate if a food product is near or past its expiration date. These labels are adhered to the food product packaging and as the expiration date nears, they begin to change colors.
This is a much safer way for spoilable food products to be packaged because it will eliminate any mistakes regarding the expiration date. Millions of people get sick every year from eating food products that have gone bad, so this new labeling advancement will help to eliminate some of that. You may start seeing these color changing labels in your grocery store soon, so keep your eyes open.
Increased Shelf Life
QV Foods has been working with Ultimate Packaging to create a new packaging product that will extend the shelf life of foods. QV foods is using potatoes in this case, and the smart packaging technology being used is called “Viridiflex” (Latin “viridis” for “green” and “flex” for flexible packaging). This material is said to help fresh produce last much longer because it allows the fruits or veggies to breathe.
This works by giving off CO2 and taking in O2, which allows the produce to breathe in a more natural manner. This happens because of laser perforation patterns that are meant to optimize the gas transmission through the film so that O2 and CO2 levels are managed in a better manner to keep the product fresh for much longer.
Interactive technology is giving brands the opportunity to connect with their customers like they have never been able to do in the past. One example of this is “touchcode ink technology”, which is an embedded code that works by interacting with the consumers’ smart phone.
When consumers scan the label that is printed with touchcode ink, they are presented with a menu that displays information about the product, related products, surveys about the product, discount codes, and any type of message that the brand wants to tell their customers.
The other benefit for brands with this smart technology is the data that they will be able to harvest from consumers. This data is an invaluable tool for brands to find better ways to market, connect, and engage with their customers.
The last type of smart packaging technology in our list is being used already in India. The technology is made by Kezzler, and it is meant to let the consumer know, without a doubt, that the product is not a counterfeit. This technology is a new and better way of providing “serial numbers” to products. These serial numbers will allow people to scan the QR code to make sure that the product is authentic.
Pfizer are also using this technology in Japan for some of their pharmaceutical products. They were seeing many problems with generic drugs being falsely labeled as their brand names. In order to let consumers know that they were buying the real Pfizer product, the company decided to adopt the Kezzler serialization technology.
This technology works because it allows the manufacturer to tag each individual package with a unique serial number. This serial number can then be scanned with a smart device and then the consumer will be notified that the product is authentic, or if it is a fake.
Unique serial numbers were not possible in the past because the database to track these unique ID numbers needs to be extensive, and the storage was just not available to make it cost effective. With cheaper storage more readily available, this technology is starting to gain ground.
If you want to see some of the new smart packaging technologies be sure to attend some of the upcoming industry conferences. WestPack is coming up soon, you can find more info here: WestPack 2015 February 10 – February 12 2015.