Smart packaging expected to grow globally

Friday, 12 April, 2019

Smart packaging expected to grow globally

The electronic smart packaging market is expected to reach $1.8 billion in 2029, and almost 39 billion packages sold in 10 years’ time may be enhanced by an electronic feature, according to IDTechEx research.

The ‘Smart Packaging 2019–2029’ report noted that the ageing population, wealthier consumers, better product identification systems and increasing home delivery of groceries are some of the key drivers for smart packaging. It looks at how technologies related to packaging are being developed and used to grow brands and provide consumers with value-added benefits.

For example, there is increasing traction with RFID in packaging. The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has announced, alongside the leading Japanese retailers, that they seek to tag 100 billion retail items in Japan in 2025, provided the tag price point is appropriate. In part, this is driven by a lack of young people in the workforce in Japan, and they do not want those people deployed in unproductive roles, such as scanning products at a supermarket till. Several retailers are already trialling automated checkouts in stores in Japan and China using RFID tagged products. Others achieve the same with sensor fusion, combining RF location technologies with machine vision — enabled by inexpensive cameras developed for smartphones. Amazon has several such stores in the US which eliminate tills.

Payments are changing too, with the rapid rise of QR codes in China, bypassing the need for smaller retailers to have card processing machines and obtain credit merchant status. Apps such as WeChat and AliPay can send the money to the retailer immediately once the QR code has been read. However, the report said this success is localised.

Tagged items in stores are boosting sales by providing better stock control, and IDTechEx also sees a trend to dual-frequency RFID tags where consumers can use their NFC phone to interact with the product. New technologies have now come to market including flexible integrated circuits which will help to further reduce the cost of NFC labels, making it applicable to tagging more things.

The report also discusses chemical smart packaging technologies, including time temperature and freshness indicators.

The IDTechEx report can be accessed here.

Image credit: © Kneschke

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