The global intelligent packaging market size accounted for USD 24.23 billion in the year 2023 and it is predicted to hit around USD 54.38 billion by 2032, registering at a CAGR of 9.4% from 2023 to 2032.
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Intelligent packaging is the vital element that detects and assesses the surrounding conditions within or near the packaging. On the other hand, active packaging offers advanced safeguards to preserve the integrity of the packaged food. Smart packaging, encompassing active and intelligent technologies, presents a comprehensive packaging solution that synergizes its advantages. Its primary objective is to elevate the quality of food products, ensure product safety, extend shelf life, and furnish comprehensive information to consumers.
Intelligent packaging encompasses a diverse range of technologies rather than a singular one, collectively capable of fulfilling specific functions and providing information to consumers regarding food products. Typically, three distinct types of intelligent packaging exist, distinguished by their primary functions. These technologies vary not only in their physical and chemical compositions but also in how they communicate detected changes and the quantity and nature of data they can transmit. Furthermore, they differ in their mechanisms for capturing and disseminating data.
Interactive packaging refers to devices that serve as data carriers, enabling the storage and retrieval of information related to food products' storage, distribution, and traceability. These devices, also known as automatic identification devices, facilitate the efficient flow of information within the food supply chain. The primary objectives of interactive packaging include ensuring traceability, preventing theft, and offering counterfeit protection. Among the commonly used technologies in this category are barcode labels, such as 2D codes and RFID tags, which fall under the umbrella of convenience-enhancing intelligent systems. Moreover, modern advancements enable using RFID technology to monitor storage conditions (e.g., temperature, humidity, and light) and food quality throughout the supply chain by employing sensor-enabled RFID tags.
Sensors play a crucial role in packaging by gathering information about the package and its contents. These sensors can detect changes in the environment, assessing the condition or operational history of the packaged material. They are designed to monitor specific functionalities such as pH levels, time, temperature, hydrogen sulfide, or carbon dioxide presence. In food packaging, sensors are utilized to ensure the quality and safety of food products, with the sensors attached to the packaging materials.
A sensor is a device that detects, locates, or quantifies energy or matter, responding to a measured signal of a chemical or physical property. It operates by providing a continuous signal and typically consists of two key components: a receptor and a transducer. Various types of sensors are available to cater to different applications and requirements.
In contrast to sensors, indicators cannot provide quantitative information such as concentrations or store measurement data and time. Indicators primarily offer visual or qualitative (sometimes semi-quantitative) information about the packaged food through colour changes. The colour change brought about by an indicator may involve different colour intensities or irreversible diffusion. Indicators are commonly employed to convey information related to temperature, the presence of gases and volatiles, pH changes, and microbiological contamination. Their main function is to provide visual cues regarding the packaged food's condition or environment.
Intelligent packaging technologies can be seamlessly integrated into packaging materials through various methods. These technologies can be applied to secondary and tertiary packaging if the objective is to obtain information regarding shipping or storage conditions. This is typically achieved through the utilization of interactive packaging solutions. On the other hand, if the focus is on gathering information about the food product itself, such as the release of ethylene or the presence of bacteria, or if it pertains to storage conditions like temperature monitoring, intelligent technologies are incorporated into the primary packaging. This ensures that the relevant data and functionalities are directly linked to the food characteristics or storage environment, enhancing the overall effectiveness of the packaging solution.
The appropriate intelligent packaging technology for a specific food product depends on the desired information. In today's market, numerous solutions are available, tailored to different applications and information requirements. To make an informed choice, it is essential to consider the key characteristics of the food product, the primary factors influencing food quality degradation, and the conditions throughout the supply chain, from production to the end consumer. These factors significantly influence the behaviour and effectiveness of intelligent packaging materials.
Interactive packaging is a suitable choice if the objective is to obtain storage information, facilitate distribution, and ensure traceability. This involves storing data within the packaging material, which can be read using an electronic device.
On the other hand, if the primary focus is to provide information about the shelf-life parameters of the food product, particularly for consumers, using sensors or indicators is recommended. Sensors enable quantitative measurement of specific parameters such as temperature, pH, or gas concentrations, providing detailed information. On the other hand, indicators offer visual cues through colour changes, allowing for qualitative or semi-quantitative assessment of the food product's shelf life.
By considering the desired information and aligning it with the characteristics of the food product and storage requirements, the most appropriate intelligent packaging technology can be selected to fulfil the specific objectives.
Retailers can leverage intelligent packaging to gather information about the quality of the food product and its packaging, ensuring consumer safety. This type of packaging can provide valuable data on temperature, headspace composition, pH levels, and spoilage indicator metabolites. These factors significantly influence the chemical, biochemical, physical, and microbiological characteristics of food products and, subsequently, the product's shelf life or lifespan. By understanding the specific spoilage mechanisms in a particular product, retailers can select the appropriate intelligent packaging technology.
To determine the suitable indicator and sensor, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the desired substance to be detected and the required detection timeframe. This knowledge allows precisely selecting the indicator or sensor technology that aligns with the specific detection requirements. This ensures that intelligent packaging effectively monitors the relevant parameters, enabling retailers to make informed product quality and shelf-life decisions.
Intelligent packaging systems have gained popularity due to the increased utilization of active components in food packaging. As the inclusion of these active devices becomes more common, a need arises to monitor both the performance of these active components and the overall conditions of the packaging. Intelligent packaging systems provide a solution by integrating sensors, indicators, or other monitoring technologies that enable real-time tracking and assessment of the active devices and the packaging environment. This ensures the effectiveness and reliability of the active components while maintaining optimal packaging conditions to preserve the quality and safety of the food products.
Intelligent packaging systems are crucial in addressing several vital aspects across the food supply chain. By incorporating advanced technologies and features, these systems reduce food waste, enhance food safety, improve consumer convenience, and enable effective management throughout the entire supply chain.
The demand for intelligent packaging has been driven by various factors, including demographic and economic changes, evolving lifestyles, increased demand for processed foods, the need for a longer shelf life of packaged products, and growing concerns regarding food safety and health awareness.
In addition to its functional benefits, intelligent packaging offers significant potential as a marketing tool and a means to establish brand differentiation. It can attract consumers, build trust, and create a positive perception of the brand by showcasing its commitment to quality, safety, and innovation. By addressing key aspects such as quality, safety, distribution, and marketing, intelligent packaging systems can transform the food industry and contribute to a more sustainable and consumer-centric approach to food packaging and consumption.
Current temperature or humidity conditions inside the package indicate if the product has been tampered with or provide other relevant information to the stakeholders in the food supply chain.
By incorporating a switching function, intelligent packaging can react to external or internal stimuli, such as temperature, pressure, light, or moisture. This allows the package to dynamically display the product's status, ensuring transparency and timely information for stakeholders.
Instance, an intelligent packaging system can visually indicate whether the packaged food is fresh and safe for consumption, using color changes or indicators that show the product's freshness level. It can also display the expiration date or provide real-time updates on the current storage conditions, such as temperature or humidity, ensuring the product remains within the optimal range.
Moreover, intelligent packaging systems can include features that detect any tampering or unauthorized package opening. This helps to maintain product integrity and enhances consumer trust by assuring them that the product has not been compromised.
By providing such vital information and functionality, intelligent packaging systems contribute to improved product quality, safety, and overall supply chain management. They empower stakeholders to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions, ultimately enhancing the food supply chain's efficiency, transparency, and reliability. Manufacturers and retailers are significant drivers of innovation in intelligent packaging as they seek to obtain valuable information about food products throughout the storage and shipping processes. They recognize the importance of monitoring and ensuring the quality of products and the benefits of accessing specific information about the food, such as its country of origin or the month of harvest.
Furthermore, consumers are increasingly interested in these applications to guarantee the quality of the products they purchase and gain more insights and transparency regarding the food they consume. They value access to information that allows them to make informed choices, align with their preferences, and meet their health and sustainability concerns.
Forecasts indicate that the intelligent packaging segment will experience significant growth within the broader smart packaging industry. This growth can be attributed to the increasing use of indicators, particularly time-temperature indicators, and the availability of intelligent systems that offer features like product differentiation, traceability, and interactive elements at more affordable prices. These advancements make intelligent packaging more accessible and appealing to a wider range of stakeholders, further driving its adoption and market expansion.
The Asia-Pacific region is projected to experience the highest growth rate in the intelligent packaging market. This can be attributed to several factors:
For the specified timeframe, the North American region is expected to hold the largest market share in intelligent packaging. One contributing factor to this is the concern over food waste. Many Americans are conscious of minimizing food wastage, mainly due to the increasing issue of hunger in the country. Properly packaged food that can stay fresh for extended periods helps achieve this goal.
Instance, July 20, 2022, Identiv, a digital security and identification company headquartered in the United States, has successfully concluded the initial implementation phase of its intelligent packaging solution equipped with near-field communication (NFC) technology. This innovative packaging solution was developed explicitly for OTACA Tequila, a prominent spirit brand.
Major players in the intelligent packaging market are heavily investing in research and development (R&D) to broaden their product portfolios, thereby driving further market expansion. These market participants also implement various strategic initiatives to enhance their global presence. These initiatives include launching new products, engaging in mergers and acquisitions, entering contractual agreements, increasing investments, and collaborating with other organizations. In an increasingly competitive and growing market environment, competitors in the intelligent packaging industry must offer cost-effective solutions to expand and thrive.
One of the key business tactics manufacturers employ in the intelligent packaging industry is local manufacturing, aimed at reducing operational costs. By manufacturing products locally, companies can achieve cost efficiencies, benefit customers with competitive pricing, and contribute to the overall expansion of the market segment.
Major Intelligent packaging market players include: Amcor plc., Crown Holding Inc., 3M Company, CCL Industries Inc., Huhtamaki Global, DS Smith, Avery Dennision Corporation, Honeywell Internatioanl Inc., Sealed Air Corporation, Tetra Pak International S.A., Stora Enso Oyj, WestRock Company, Ball Corporation, Mondi Plc., International Paper Company, Georgia-Pacific LLC, UPM-Kymmene Oyj, Coveris Holdings S.A., DuPont Teijin Films US, Sigma Plastics Group, Timestrip UK Ltd., Varcode,Ltd., Temptime Corporation, DeltaTrak Inc., EVIGENCE SENSORS, JRI Company, Vitsab International AB, LAXCEN TECHNOLOGY INC., APK-ID, STARNFC Technologies Ltd.
Segments covered in the report:
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