Thursday, October 11, 2012

Smart Interactive Packaging – Packaging that Breaks Boundaries

If you’ve been following packaging technologies, then you’re probably already aware of just how far they’ve come. But if you haven’t, then you’ll be surprised that it’s no longer just about the fastest and most advanced taping machines and case erectors. These days, we’ve come as far as interactive packaging – or packaging that is ‘alive’, for lack of a better term.
Perhaps the race to attract the consumer faster through innovative packaging has become so competitive that the packaging industry is now breaking boundaries in terms of packaging design. And this has led them to the creation of interactive packaging options.
Pioneers of Interactive Packaging
One packaging technology innovator has recently come up with a special coating that, when added to the packaging of a product, can deliver a certain scent upon handling. This opens up many possibilities for food packaging. Imagine how the supermarket would smell like once this new packaging breakthrough makes it to the mainstream market.
Then there’s liquor brand Coors, who began using thermochromic inks that told consumers when the beer is still cold. Since coolness is key to the beer drinking experience, this packaging technology definitely gave Coors a unique advantage in the market.
Other liquor brands such as Smirnoff and Bailey’s have also joined the bandwagon and have begun using electroluminescent labels complete with a graphic equalizer display.
And in yet another display of packaging prowess, vodka brand Medea has come out with limited-edition bottles equipped with a programmable scrolling LED. This allowed consumers to display personal characters on the bottles as long as they use 255 characters or less.
In the UK, one store has come up with a smart packaging technology that tells consumers whether avocados and other fruits are already ripe. In fact, the package changes color gradually from pink to green to show the level of ripeness of the fruits. Since the skin of avocados is quite thick, it is quite difficult to tell whether they are ready for consumption. This smart new packaging technology, however, provides the perfect solution to this problem.
In another milestone in fruit packaging technology, a special packaging for bananas have been designed to help slow down the ripening process of bananas. Bananas are some of the fastest fruits to ripen, and when stores are unable to sell all their stocks in time, this leads to a lot of food waste and trash, not to mention a lot of wasted money. But this new technology can help minimize the amount of over-ripe bananas that get thrown away rather wastefully.
QR Codes and More
Before all these new technologies came about, packaging experts mostly relied on QR or ‘Quick Response’ codes to interact with packaging. These are still in use, although their effectiveness and usefulness in packaging has not been maximized.
Manufacturers have mostly used QR codes as a marketing medium that leads consumers to their contact information or to their websites. But there are still so many more useful ways to make use of these codes that have not been unearthed yet.
Clearly, the packaging technology still has a long way to go. As technology continues to advance, it becomes more and more important for entrepreneurs like you to start investing in automated packaging systems and start thinking of ways to make your packaging more in tune with the times.

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