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International names in retailing joined more than 300 attendees at the recent Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry (AIPI) World Congress, enough for 2016 to be marked a ‘breakthrough’ year for technologies putting new powers into the hands of brand owners, altering their perceptions of what packaging is and will become – an industry of tools for communication, quality control and shelf life extension.

Knowing the consumer
Knowledge is power, and smart packaging and smartphone together give brand owners a direct line to understanding what the consumer wants and how they behave. General Mills  brands have participated in a pilotQR digital labelling programme sponsored by the US grocery industry, and Kraft Heinz is exploring ‘frictionless’ tools to give mobile shoppers easier access to in-store promotions and improve customer insight data.

But the connected package and frictionless interaction comes at a high cost and, depending on the underlying job to be done, smart thinking might do the trick.

“Smart packaging can be zero-tech,” says Tom Lawrie-Fussey, Congress keynote speaker and leader of business development at Cambridge Design Partnership (CDP). For example, printing a picture of a flatscreen TV on a bicycle box saved a savvy Dutch company losses through damage in distribution of 70 to 80%. The boxes are similar in size and, as VanMoof predicted, shippers handle a TV with more care.

To view the full article in the latest issue of Packaging News click here

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