Packaging is the layer that protects the product, but it’s also a fantastic communication and marketing platform. Plus, in an effort to keep costs and material waste down, the packaging industry is constantly on the lookout for sustainable and environmentally-friendly solutions.
As a result, today’s packaging industry is not just about design and shape; it’s also about the materials used, technology, and resources required. And they do all this while keeping the customers and brands in mind.
This led to a series of innovations driven by technological advancements. Moving forward, we’ll discuss some of the most impressive ones based on the level of technology involved and how cost-efficient and environmentally friendly they are.
Smart packaging is still in its incipient phase, but even so, the market revenues are expected to reach $26.7 billion by 2024, according to Grand View Research. That’s because, due to various technologies, smart packaging has huge marketing and commercial potential.
While it may be a bit difficult to define and imagine (if you hadn’t interacted with it before), smart packaging is the natural next step in this industry. In a nutshell, packaging that is considered smart is a packaging system that includes sensors that can track the state of the content and make sure the product is kept in optimum conditions.
Also, some sensors can track its journey from producer to the customer, how the packaging is handled, and more. Plus, the packaging can display useful information such as the product’s point of origin, freshness, expiration dates, and more.
Small Print Runs of Fully Customizable Packaging
Small and medium-sized businesses don’t have large orders when it comes to packaging. However, this can easily drive up the price, especially if you’re looking for something custom-made.
But if you use short-run packaging, business owners can play with fully-custom designs regardless of the size of their order. Plus, short-run printed packaging can be applied to a range of finishes and board weights, so you can have fun with the design.
For instance, if you want to create custom pouches for your limited-edition products, short-run packaging makes the most sense cost-wise.
Zero Waste Packaging
Waste resulting from neglectful packaging is a big concern nowadays, especially concerning plastics. In an effort to cut down on waste, some companies experiment with different materials to create durable and more eco-friendly packaging solutions.
One such company is Universal Biopack, and they managed to create bamboo and cassava packaging made with leftover scraps after the chopstick manufacturing process. This packaging technology took around five years to develop and is zero waste.
However, because the cost of packaging is higher than the standard solutions (plastic bags, styrofoam, or cardboard), the company is still struggling to bring their packaging technology to the market.
Augmented Reality (AR)
AR used to be on the news rather often (remember the Pokemon Go mobile game?), but it recently lost popularity. Still, the technology is continuously developing, and it has reached the packaging industry.
AR offers the chance for fresh, interactive designs that will keep the customers excited about your products by uplifting the unboxing experience to the next level. As the industry evolves, consumers will get to see better packaging designs and companies will be able to extend their marketing campaigns to new platforms.
The entanglement between the packaging industry and technology is a wonderful thing for everyone involved in the shopping process. Plus, as new technologies emerge, we have the chance to see more environmentally-friendly packaging solutions that focus more on sustainability while also delivering a cost-effective final product.
Also, now that technology is involved, chances are we’ll see completely new solutions in the years to come!