Future trends for active and intelligent packaging

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Intelligent packaging, Forecasting, Future

The focus of active and intelligent (A&I) packaging has shifted from manufacturer concerns such as shelf-life and spoilage to consumer concerns such as freshness, quality and information, according to recently published research.

The report - The Future of Active and Intelligent Packaging in Food and Drinks – said that industry leaders had identified freshness indicators as the most important innovations in the field over the next five years. A development on quality was listed as the next most important field followed by temperature and time indicators.

However, consumers ranked health, convenience, safety and enhancing product attributes as the most important attributes that would make them willing to pay more for A&I-packaged products. Longer shelf-life and packaging that communicates product information were also seen as important. The report found that although there was limited awareness over A&I packaging - with almost 60 per cent of consumers unaware or slightly aware of the technology – the industry remained convinced it would be play an important role in future.

The industry survey said giants such as Coca-Cola and Unilever were driving innovation in the A&I field.

Global market

Factors such as food safety, traceability, food wastage and sustainability concerns are also driving the take up of the technologies. The report predicted that the total global active and intelligent packaging market for the food and drinks industry was forecast to be $6.6bn (€5.3bn) by 2015. This will comprise of US$5.3bn for active packaging and $1.3bn for intelligent packaging. Growth in active packaging – at an average of 5.3 per cent a year - compared to just 3.7 per cent for intelligent packing because of the higher investment needed to develop the latter.

The growth of the A&I is being driven by developments in sensor technology including nanosensors and biosensors – with future growth potential highlighted for the drinks and ready meals segments. One emerging trend is the incorporation of scavenging functions into packaging with bottles, labels or films.

Delivery of efficiencies in the value chain, the opportunity for manufacturers to differentiate their products and boost their efficiency by reducing product losses were seen as the main benefits for the technology. High production costs, compliance with food safety regulations and consumer mistrusts were all found to be potential challenges.

While the current focus for A&I is on luxury goods, the report forecasts this move to lower end products as the technology becomes more widely available and costs fall.

The Future of Active and Intelligent Packaging in Food and Drinks is available from Business Insight Reports priced $2875

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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