April 18, 2024

Revolutionizing Industries: Next Generation Packaging for Sustainable Future and Enhanced Consumer Experience

The packaging industry has seen tremendous innovations over the past decade to meet changing consumer demands and goals of sustainable development. As we step into the next decade, the industry experts are predicting a transition to next generation packaging solutions that are more eco-friendly, intelligent and customer-centric.

Sustainable and Eco-friendly Materials

As consumers become increasingly conscious about the environmental impact of packaging waste, packaging companies are shifting their focus on developing sustainable and eco-friendly materials. Some of the key trends in this area include:

Biodegradable and Compostable Materials: With concerns growing over plastic pollution, bioplastics which are derived from renewable plant-based sources like vegetables starch, cellulose or polylactic acid are gaining popularity. Major players are innovating packaging solutions using bioplastics which can completely break down and decompose without leaving toxic residues. Recently, a US-based company launched a range of compostable plastic bags, food containers and bottles made from plant-based bioplastics.

Recycled Content: There is a push to use recycled materials from post-consumer or post-industrial waste streams to produce new packaging. Coca Cola and PepsiCo have announced targets to use recycled PET in their plastic bottles. Packaging companies are coming up with innovative barrier technologies to use recycled plastics in food Next Generation Packaging applications.

Light-weighting: Reducing excess material use through light-weighting helps lower emissions from transportation and manufacturing. Packaging converters are redesigning structures, optimizing material layers and even switching to lighter materials like aluminum over plastic or glass to decrease packaging weight.

Intelligent and Interactive Packaging

Smart Labels and Tags: Digital printing technologies allow integration of electronics, sensors, RFID tags, barcodes and QR codes on packaging labels. These smart labels can provide information about product details, expiry dates, lot numbers right on the package using smartphone scans. Some markets are also pilot testing smart labels that can detect food spoilage.

Tamper Evidence and Freshness Indicators: Packaging films and labels are being enhanced with visual indicators that change color to warn consumers about potential tampering or compromised package integrity. Similar smart labels and tags integrates sensors for real-time monitoring of factors like temperature, humidity or oxygen levels and change color patterns to indicate food freshness.

Interactive and Connected Packaging: Augmented reality features allow packaging surfaces to come alive through smartphone displays. Major brands are experimenting with AR experiences right on product packaging that provide rich multimedia content, interactive gaming and virtual product sampling. Connected packaging tracks product data along the supply chain for traceability using IoT sensors.

Sustainable Delivery and Retail Ready Packaging

Advancements are also being made to enhance sustainability across the packaging value chain from delivery to retail shelf-life. Some key developments include:

Reusable and Returnable Transport Packaging: With the growth of e-commerce, there is a need for sturdy and reusable transport packaging solutions for safe delivery of goods. Companies provide deposit/rental models for returnable totes, crates and pallets to optimize logistics.

Extended Shelf-life Packaging: Innovations to barrier properties, active packaging technologies and controlled atmosphere packaging helps extend the shelf-life of perishables by preventing moisture, oxygen or ethylene gas intrusion. This reduces food waste at retail and consumer levels.

Smaller Pack Formats: Downsized packaging formats tailored for online retail and impulse buys at small stores help reduce excess material usage. Flexible packages, stackable trays and miniature boxes allow efficient space utilization on shelves and delivery trucks.

*Note:
1.      Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2.      We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it