Five Design Innovations that are Reshaping the Packaging Industry

Today, the world of packaging innovation is focused on making our experiences as consumers easier and more enjoyable, as well as ensuring our safety. These 5 innovations are reshaping the packaging industry by changing the way we understand and interact with packaging for the better.

1. Intelligent Packaging

Buying meat at a supermarket.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that in America alone, over 48 million people a year become sick from foodborne illnesses. Until now, food packaging has played a passive role in covering or marketing a food product. Intelligent Packaging is increasingly being offered as a solution to extend shelf-life or to maintain, improve or monitor food quality and safety.

Intelligent packaging uses sensors, indicators, or data carriers that are integrated into the packaging to monitor a product’s condition, such as a change in environmental conditions that may cause the product’s consumption to be harmful, and communicate that information to the consumers. The intelligent packaging also helps protect against theft or tamper.

As countries continue to export food products worldwide, intelligent packaging will begin to play a bigger role in the preservation and integrity of food. The value of the active and intelligent packaging industry is expected to reach USD 25.66 billion by the end of 2022.

2. Active Packaging

(Johnnie Walker NFC Tag)

Appropriately called ‘Active Packaging,’ NFC (Near-field communication) tags are enabling consumers to engage with the brand throughout all stages on the path to purchase. Brands are increasingly implementing inlays for NFC tags to create an augmented consumer brand experience.

NFC tags can be used to direct the consumer to a brand website or promotional video to increase knowledge about the product and unique links on NFC tags allow brands to reward customers with coupons and loyalty benefits. A fantastic example of this is Astral Tequila who housed a video of their spokesperson endorsing the tequila in the NFC chip. With a simple tap of their smartphone, consumers are able to watch the video.

As brands begin to take interest in Active Packaging to create excitement and buzz around their product, there is enormous potential for packaging companies to offer NFC tag integrations.

3. A Superior Sports Cap

(Caps & Closures Secure Flip Sports Cap)

Until now, consumers have had to choose between two subpar options with sports caps- unattached caps which are often lost, or flimsily attached caps with a thin strip of plastic that once removed, creates unnecessary and harmful environmental waste. Caps and Closures presents an innovative solution to the current sports cap which greatly improves consumers’ ease of use and hygiene.

The Secure Flip ensures a secure, hygienic drink solution with its high-level of sealing and sustainable tamper-evident band. Because there are no detachable parts, it also means an end to lost lids and annoying plastic strips. The future of the Secure Flip cap is filled with endless possibilities in healthcare, childcare and other industries where hygiene is of utmost importance. Consumers can look forward to a superior hydration experience and an environmentally friendly cap as brands continue to opt for the Secure Flip.

4. Medical Monitoring

(Ecoslide RX Med-ic Wallet Electronic Compliance Blister Pack)

The medical and pharmaceutical industry have led an incredible innovation in trying to solve a problem as old at the industry itself- how to monitor and motivate patients to take their medications, particularly when compliance is critical.

The Med-iC Electronic Compliance Monitor (ECM) is a patented sensory grid printed with non-toxic ink and applied directly to the blister substrates, creating a real-time monitoring system. Each time a tablet is removed from the package, the time and date are recorded on the ECM RFID tag and the data fed back to the clinician or doctor.

While this is still in the trial phase, it’s likely that pharmaceutical brands will begin to expect sophisticated integrations like this into their packaging to solve greater problems like tampering, fraud, temperature-sensitive medications, and so on.

5. Materials from an Unlikely Source

One of the most ubiquitous packaging trends is the lean towards environmentally friendly and sustainable packaging, with perhaps the biggest disruption being compostable materials. The latest developments in compostable materials come from Georgia Institute of Technology researchers who have created film material from crab shells and cellulose from trees.

This flexible film acts like plastic packaging film and is strong, transparent, and compostable. It also has qualities which researchers believe in theory has the ability to keep food fresher for longer.

With cellulose already being produced in mass quantities and the ready supply of by-products available from the shellfish industry, it’s hard not to imagine this discovery being a major disrupter in the flexible packaging industry.

Find out how innovative manufacturing can improve your products

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