Food packaging makes consumables safe. Conventionally, the sole aim of packaging was to protect products during transit. However, with advances in technology, which include the rise of active & intelligent packaging and smart packaging systems, it helps to increase product’s shelf life, promote brands, and confirm to regulatory norms. Active and intelligent packaging is in stark contrast with conventional model. Food is the major end-user of active packing system, while drinks and beverages are the major end-user of intelligent packing system.

The purpose of Active & Intelligent Packaging

Active packing involves the introduction of components, which absorb or release certain additives/substances from or into the packaged product to maintain the increase in the shelf life of the product. Intelligent packing monitors the condition of packaged foods through time-temperature indicators, gas detectors, and freshness.

Application across Multiple Industries

Food: The food industry requires a different set of solutions to keep food fresh for a long period. The application of active packing is extensive in the food packaging industry as it increases the shelf-life and is inexpensive. Meat, poultry, and seafood are the major food products that are highly susceptible to microbial attack and have a low shelf life. The usage of active ingredients in these food products helps to reduce spoilage, make product tender, and extend the shelf life by delaying microbial growth. The demand for meat, poultry, and sea food packaging is expected to increase significantly in Europe and North America as they have the highest per capita consumption of such foods. The growth of e-commerce in China and India is likely to boost the demand for active packing. In APAC, the adoption is low among domestic brand owners. However, the demand is stemming from global brands as they strategize to increase consumer engagement at retail stores.

Beverages: Intelligent packing is highly prevalent in the beverage industry to tackle beverage counterfeiting. Product counterfeiting is rampant in APAC and Africa, which are negatively impacting the profit margins of the beverages industry. The solutions such as QR codes, barcodes, and RFID are expected to offset the impact of counterfeit products to a large extent. The European and US-based exporters of beverages are likely to utilize intelligent packing systems to reduce losses. Italy is a major wine exporter in Europe, which is likely to generate demand for intelligent packing systems. In Latin America, the adoption of intelligent packaging is high in imported beverages, which are expected to push domestic brands to adopt such systems.

Healthcare: In the US, vendors need to comply with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules with respect to packing materials. FDA regulations mandate the use of materials, which are made of high barrier power and resistance to chemical and heat, which is likely to drive the demand for active packing systems. Moreover, the industry is expected to drive the market for intelligent packing as there is an increasing demand for NFC, RFID authentications, and QR scanning to track retail and logistics aspects of pharmaceuticals. Countries such as Australia, Japan, China, Germany, France, the US, and Canada are expected to be major drivers for such systems as their spending on pharmaceuticals is relatively high.

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