Internet of Things
Top 10 Revolutionary Changes in the Packaging Industry
By Jordan Mirchev | Published on May 17 | 4 Minute Read
Are you curious about what packaging industry trends and revolutions will impact your business? Explore the article in-depth and get data-driven insight into the packaging technological advancements in 2023.
The packaging industry continues to advance as we adopt intelligent and sustainable solutions to establish visionary products, materials, and designs. Packaging plays a vital role in maintaining the shelf-life of the product and protecting it from damage during transportation. As technology advances, sustainable packaging innovations are being incorporated by industries to make product packaging more brand and consumer-friendly.
This article will discuss in detail the top 10 revolutionary changes and trends in the packaging industry.
Internet of Packaging (IoP), also known as intelligent packaging, is a distinctive packaging solution that monitors and measures the quality and safety of the product. Its cloud-based SaaS technology authorizes a two-way connection between the package and the product; the package and the consumer. This enables an exchange of information with the outside world via scanners and mobile devices - thus, connecting packages and products to the internet.
As of 2023, IoP is one of the most prominent revolutionary changes in the packaging industry, as it allows real-time product tracking, authentication, and tamper-proofing - thus, accounting for greater transparency and efficient recalls in case of a product issue. As this technology is adopted by more companies, it will indeed render a significant impact on the packaging business.
Over the past decade, sustainable packaging solutions that reduce environmental impact are much focused on and opted for. Brands choose biodegradable packaging as a medium to express their responsibility towards the environment. As consumers are becoming more apprehensive about nature, biodegradable packaging is gaining traction.
By reducing waste without compromising on quality, biodegradable packaging has become an optimistic trend in this area. Its packaging materials include paperboard and plant-based plastics, manufactured from responsibly-sourced materials. With these materials, strong and durable packaging can be formulated, which would still be recycled and composted.
With technology that enhances accuracy and efficiency while reducing labor expenses, Packaging Automation is another revolutionary change in the packaging industry. This technology is highly effective for businesses that produce massive quantities of packaging. By automating the entire process, such as depanning, filling, packing, and palletizing, brands can boost efficiency and cut down costs.
Additionally, packaging automation using vision-assisted robotic arms and grippers eliminates human errors by automating hectic processes of product sorting, quality checking, and inspection. It also ensures the safe handling of delicate products. As the demand for more systematic and reliable packing solutions continues to grow, we will witness the adoption of packaging automation in the industry.
The use of recyclable and edible materials in product packaging ensures sustainability and zero-waste living. With countries banning single-use plastic, businesses are opting for recyclable mono-material packaging - instead of multi-layer packaging. For instance, post-consumer resins (PCR) are recyclable packaging materials derived from post-consumer waste. This incorporates paper, PLA, glass, paperboard, plastic, metal, and even fruit leather.
Today, consumers increasingly seek brands that provide recyclable and edible packaging as they become more aware of the potential environmental risks. Thus, recyclable and edible packaging has become one of the top revolutionary changes in the packaging industry.
Stocking and shipping enormous amounts of packages are also considered less eco-friendly as trucks, boats, and planes transport them to mass warehouses, which are either sold or stacked up. Especially in the food and beverage packaging industries, there’s a landfill of waste. This is where space-saving packaging comes in handy as it eliminates waste, mass transport, and storage concerns.
By rationalizing the packaging inventory and reducing the amount of void, space-saving technology provides functionality and clarity of rigid packaging most efficiently. For instance, bottle designs take up more space, and are difficult to stack up - whereas, square or rectangular packaging is perfect for storage and transport.
Combining structural rigidity with cushioning characteristics, corrugated packaging protects heavy or delicate contents from damage, making it another top trend in the packaging industry. Corrugated packaging solutions are cyclable, robust, and cost-effective, resulting in an increase in disposable income and savvy consumers who expect quality box packaging.
Looking to empower on this opportunity, companies such as Biome3D, Aeroclay, and UFP Technologies are formulating creative and biodegradable materials to reinforce and make corrugated packaging more flexible to our future of sustainability.
3D digital printing is one of the hottest trends in the packaging landscape right now, as it allows businesses to create personalized packaging that tailors to specific consumer needs. Delivering an impressive degree of flexibility that traditional packaging cannot match, 3D printing produces innovative and premium-quality packaging. This technology authorizes companies to manufacture different prototypes that further modify their packaging line in real time. Additionally, 3D printing is much faster and less expensive.
Brands often experiment with packaging designs, which can be an expensive and time-consuming process. To mitigate these concerns and promote personalized packaging, 3D printing technology comes in handy, offering great design freedom and producing high-quality products. The best aspect of this approach is zero contribution toward plastic waste, which also makes it environment-friendly.
Augmented Reality (AR) has taken the entire packaging world by storm! With the emergence of AR, consumers can virtually test-drive their products, scrutinizing the packaging options and interacting with game elements, as companies build brand awareness by providing new entertainment forms through packaging and products. Further, with the use of AR, packaging companies can allow concerning problems to be solved faster and more efficiently, while reducing the time taken to identify malfunctions and repair them.
While traditional packaging is limited as to how much data it provides, Augmented Reality enhances consumers’ experience by offering packaging information via a 3D display. In addition, it aids in the process of packaging waste reduction and packaging cost reduction.
One of the most exciting trends in the packaging landscape today is nanotechnology, as it incorporates the use of extremely tiny particles to manufacture new materials. For instance, nanoparticles can be employed to produce packaging that is impermeable to air and water, rendering it ideal for packaging sensitive items such as electronics or food. Additionally, nanotechnology can be used to develop self-healing packages, which helps improve sustainability and reduce waste.
From product safety to tracking, authentication, and anti-counterfeiting, nanotech has a massive impact on the packaging industry. Further, by addressing the rising concern of product safety, it has applications at several phases of the packaging supply chain. Applying nanocoatings on the packaging surface makes it dust and stain resistant. Lastly, numerous types of nanosensors are beneficial to regulate the freshness of the food and inspecting any chemical changes.
Blockchain technology might be closely associated with cryptocurrencies, but it has a fundamental impact on the packaging industry as well. It is a decentralized distributed ledger technology that uses a P2P (peer-to-peer) network, allowing businesses to enhance package tracking - thus, boosting security and better accommodating the call for supply chain transparency.
Additionally, blockchain alters the paradigm, allowing efficient traceability of packaging and communication with the web, end-users, and the supply chain itself. In supply chain applications, blockchain technology allows improved authenticity by providing serial numbers, RFID, barcodes, and other additional security measures. Since checkpoints become paperless with this technology, any product-related information can be accessed on the spot.
Major packaging industry trends were analyzed in this article. The packaging industry is adopting intelligent and creative measures to accelerate innovations around biodegradable and sustainable packaging solutions. In addition, the deployment of 3D digital printing, nanotechnology, and blockchain technologies simplifies the packaging process. Thus, observing fresh opportunities and evolving technologies can significantly benefit any business, allowing a competitive advantage.
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