AIPIA charts food, beverage packaging trends

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Packaging

Smartphones offer considerable potential to use active and intelligent packaging for marketing purposes
Smartphones offer considerable potential to use active and intelligent packaging for marketing purposes
Printed Electronics, shelf life and smartphone applications are among the latest active and intelligent packaging developments trends with future potential, according to the Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association (AIPIA).

Printed Electronics (PE) could go a long way to making Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and other electronic packaging formats affordable, AIPIA director Eef de Ferrante told

"Thin Film Electronics for example has received its first order from a major global consumer goods company for the use of Thinfilm Memory for brand protection of packaged goods.

"The system utilizes special electronic labels to fight counterfeiting by using an electronic signature that is virtually impossible to replicate. The robust labels can be applied to any product using conventional application methods."

Technical issues

Some technical issues remained to be solved, like the speed of the printing process, suitable substrates and environmental aspects, he said. "But it’s interesting to see that packaging material suppliers are already preparing for the next step: making the films ready for printed electronics."

Significant improvements in RFID technology, robustness of tags and readability had added impetus to the increase in acceptance. As a result inventory accuracy in some stores had improved to rates above 95% and out-of-stock incidents- a major factor- were being reduced by 50%. "Research has shown increases in sales for stores with EPC tagging from 4% to 21% and averaging about 6%."

However, as yet RFID was still too costly to be used widely at item-level, although many retailers were doing successful experiments, he added.

Shelf life

Most activity was certainly in extending shelf life, condition monitoring and reducing waste throughout the food supply chain, Ferrante claimed. "The number of new products on the market, or expected to appear shortly, would signify this is a key area for commercial success.

"For example Symphony Environmental Technologies has developed a range of anti-bacterial and antifungal formulations called ‘d2p’ which can be put into plastic products during manufacturing to help prevent the spread of infection."


Mobile commerce would play a crucial role in the acceptance of active and intelligent packaging, Ferrante claimed. "With more and more Smartphones on the market the ability to ‘tap and pay’ or engage the consumer more actively with the product ... is starting to gather pace. Companies such as Smartrac are seriously preparing to enter this market very soon.

The great dilemma in this area had been linking mobile phone promotions to purchase, but he believed breakthroughs lay just around the corner.

Marketing potential

Beverage producers were making liberal use of the marketing potential of packaging innovations, he said.

He cited as one illustration Heineken's introduction of its Ignite bottle, containing eight LED lights that activate when, for example, the consumer is dancing.

Rexam had officially launched a range of both Thermochromic and Photochromic inks for cans and can ends which changed colour according to the temperature, he added. Meanwhile, Checkpoint Systems had created an innovative tag solution, which allow high value wines to be openly displayed on retail shelves without affecting the bottle's appearance and sound an alarm if removed from stores.

Logistics solutions

Finally, there had been many developments in the field of logistics solutions, said Ferrante.

For instance, CSL Convergence Systems now offered the CS8300 Battery-Assisted Passive (BAP) tag designed for temperature sensing and history of temperature violations.

With the assistance of an internal battery, the data capture could be significantly improved under difficult cold chain conditions, such as wet environments.


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