A new association aims to speed the adoption of intelligent packaging in North America.
The Intellipack Leadership Council is a joint effort of the Packaging Association of Canada, the Packaging Consortium and the Canadian Printable Electronics Industry Association. The latter represents groups involved in printable, flexible and wearable electronics.
Intellipack aims “to educate and advance the technology,” said James Downham, president and CEO of PAC. Members include Molson Coors Brewing and Unilever.
Intelligent packaging (also known as active packaging or smart packaging) helps extend shelf life, monitor freshness, display information on quality and improve safety and convenience, Downham said. It can also help manage inventory, protect against product counterfeiting and tampering and do interactive marketing.
Intellipack will publish white papers, identify case studies and work with companies to find intelligent packaging solutions, he added.
Examples of intelligent packaging now being developed include a small plaster-style strip developed by U.K. firm It’s Fresh that increases the shelf life of strawberries.
Fresh strawberries release ethylene, a hormone that causes the fruit to turn mouldy. But the strip, which is added to the bottom of each strawberry container, absorbs ethylene and increases shelf life. Trials conducted by British retailer Marks & Spencer found a minimum waste savings of 4%.
Another company, Sensor Spot in the Netherlands, has developed a luminescent dot that, with the help of an electronic reader, can determine whether packaging is airtight. Currently, as much as 10% of packaged cold cuts, cheese and other chilled products are destroyed because they let in air.
Intellipack co-chair Christina Cvetan, of Unilever, believes intelligent packaging can improve the produce experience “from shopper engagement and consumer usage, to measuring and tracking performance across the end-to-end supply chain and unlocking new opportunities to drive significant advancements in sustainability.”