Active/intelligent packaging capturing global attention

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Supply chain management

Demand for active and intelligent packaging is increasing around the globel.
Demand for active and intelligent packaging is increasing around the globel.
US demand for active and intelligent packaging technology will hit $3.5bn by 2017; one expert outlines advancements and what’s behind the increased demand.

Advances in active and intelligent packaging (A&IP) are on the rise, and demand for such packaging is surging with it. CPGs around the globe are making use of packs with moisture-sensing capabilities, oxygen control, RFID and other features to expand shelf life, increase consumer engagement and add other capabilities.

Eef de Ferrante, managing director of the AIPIA, discussed with FoodProductionDaily the state of the global A&IP market, and what lies ahead.

FPD: Visiongain reports US demand for A&IP will reach $3.5bn by 2017; where does the rest of the world stand?

de Ferrante: Visiongain estimates A&IP will be worth some $17.3bn USD by 2016, out of a global packaging market worth more than $800bn. It sees the sector growing by compound 7.7% annually, valuing it at over $60bn by 2021.

I do think this could be a bit simplistic, given the spread of multinational brands such as Nestle, Diageo, P&G, Unilever, etc. If they decide to adopt A&IP for a brand, then it could roll out across all markets, or regions where that brand is particularly strong.

In addition, local conditions and/or regulations can drive A&IP investment. This is likely to happen mostly in developed economies, although not exclusively (China is more and more regulated).

In broad terms, as you would expect, the BRIC economies are likely to be focused on other areas of packaging development. This is partly due to the priorities in developing supply chains and basic packaging standards, and partly due to cost factors (ie the consumer base is less sophisticated so less able to pay for A&IP).

Which regions are lagging in demand?

I think the EU would be quicker to adopt some of the A&IP technologies if the recovery was faster. In relative terms, due to the level of sophistication in the market and legislative and consumer demands for reduced waste, anti-counterfeiting and traceability investment is bound to be huge, particularly as new regulations come into force or major campaigns such as SAVE FOOD grow.

Emerging economies are bound to be focused on other priorities, but it does not mean they are all ignoring A&IP. If l were them l’d be focusing on more effective and better packaging standards too.

Other stuff like A&IP will follow, and a lot of the hard work will have been done.

Are there any notable barriers to companies looking to incorporate A&IP technology?

Like any new technologies there are development issues (for example the speed of printing printed electronics). It is never a straight line-up, but work is underway in every aspect of A&IP to improve performance and reduce costs (a PE tag will be 100 times less expensive than an existing RFID tag, as well as being more robust and higher performance).

There is always going to be a tipping point for some A&IP. We are already seeing more and more retailers adopting tagging and time/temp indicators. Savings in the supply chain and through reduced shrinkage are already seen as major benefits in some sectors.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the barriers will fall, and are falling already; not only for the reasons stated above but because by adopting A&IP you are adding a completely new tool to your marketing.

The information you can deliver to and learn from the consumer is just astounding. A&IP has the potential to change the product/consumer relationship, make it much more interactive, even customized, and empowers the consumer in exciting and highly entertaining ways.

The next two to five years will be very exciting.

Related topics Food Safety & Quality

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