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HomePressPress releasesPathway to Profits and Savings: Active and Intelligent Packaging
09 December, 2014

Pathway to Profits and Savings: Active and Intelligent Packaging

The clear message from the 3rd AIPIA Congress, which took place this November in Pack Expo Chicago, is that Active and Intelligent packaging technologies are already seen by many brands as a route to increasing profits or improving savings in the supply chain.
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The clear message from the 3rd AIPIA Congress, which took place this November in Chicago – alongside Pack Expo International and PharmaEXPO – is that Active and Intelligent packaging technologies are already seen by many brand owners and retailers as a route to increasing profits or improving the bottom line through savings in the supply chain.

A keynote presentation by Dr. Lee Nicholson of PepsiCo, which attracted the largest audience of the Congress, highlighted the company’s commitment to exploring how interactive packaging can enhance the consumer experience as well as providing useful insights into customer behavior. As a Director at PepsiCo’s corporate R&D he made a highly positive assessment of the trends towards uptake of these technologies by a number of major brand owners.

Commenting on the success of the event Eef de Ferrante, Executive Director of AIPIA said, “As we predicted, many companies have, or are about to implement Active and Intelligent packaging solutions. Several products discussed at the Congress are at pilot or trial with major brand owners and expect a full market roll out in 2015.”

“In addition we are seeing more and more investment in Active and Intelligent Packaging solutions right across the board. Smart money follows smart ideas and venture capital inflows into A&IP seem to be accelerating rapidly. Also companies such as Sealed Air, Avery Dennison and Eastman Kodak all demonstrated their commitment to the development of these technologies. So they are expecting it to be a profitable part of their business very soon,” he added.

More than 150 attendees were able to learn about a range of applications as diverse as patient compliance for medications, anti-counterfeiting, inventory management, shelf-life extension and condition monitoring from the 27 different presenters. The forum session enabled delegates to learn about some of the latest R&D ideas from a number of academic and research organizations.

Strategic developments in areas such as printed electronics and fighting food waste were topics addressed by the Organic and Electronic Printing Association O-EA, FlexTech Alliance and Spanish research institute ITENE. In particular growth of orders for printed electronic products is expected to grow by as much as 20 per cent in 2015, with 78 per cent of O-EA members increasing their investment in production capacity and taking on new staff.

“With such positive forecasts and outcomes for the Active and Intelligent Packaging sector going into 2015 we are already planning our fourth Congress, which will be Europe-based next autumn, with great confidence,” confirmed Mr de Ferrante.


Themes of reducing food waste and extending shelf life featured strongly, with a number of presenters highlighting the many different approaches to achieving these goals. One of the more novel solutions was offered by Will Wood of Cellresin who talked about SmartFresh™ which binds to plant ethylene receptors blocking the ethylene effect, thus delay ripening and extending storage life.

He explained that the active ethylene inhibitor can be introduced into a number of packaging formats at no extra cost in to the process, including multi-layer materials where it is placed in the middle ‘print’ layer,. It is released as a gas via the natural respiration of water vapour from the produce. With an estimated 30% of broccoli lost due to spoilage along the supply chain Wood estimates that, using the most recent figures available, the inhibitor technology could save as much as $240 million each year.


Another area highlighted in a number of presentations was the rapid development of Printed Electronics. Several products are ready for full market roll out, including Thin Film’s Smart Label, which can combine a temperature indicator, product authentication and expiration date trigger. An example is the MedTracker™ from TempTime, under joint development with Thin Film. While AdherTech is currently testing its Smart Pill Bottle, which can track and improve patient compliance, with three of the major pharmaceutical companies, as well as on-line pharmacies.


What if a products packaging could enable “Safe Heat Anytime, Anywhere™” without wires, batteries or a flame? That is the capability that RBC Technologies demonstrated,  having developed and recently commercialized it for use in the DJO Global thermo-formable Rapid Splint™ with Exothermix® product line.  Many other functional packaging enabled products are in the development pipeline for use in medical device, military and consumer packaged goods applications.  The uses for the technolgy range from heat-assisted drug delivery and customizable medical devices to self-heated meals and personal care products like wipes and lotions. 

The RBC self-heating technology is based on a derivative of hearing aid battery chemistry, which scavenges oxygen from the air to power the heating reaction.  As opposed to other ‘self-heating’ technologies, the reaction is air activated, making it inherently safe, but also very powerful.


SMARTRAC challenged delegates to look at RFID technology for use in a highly topical sector: The Games industry. Mikko Nikkanen pointed out a compelling range of opportunities for Games to interact with physical merchandise, based on Game characters, or add value to ordinary packaged products, such as cereals to include games or a range of downloadable features.

Opportunities for distribution charges to increase Game participation through the on pack promotions and access, measurable promotion campaigns, Freemium-to-Premium games, cross-licencing between brands and Game merchandise business are just the start.


Daniel Forte, Quantum Technology Group explained how quantum dots are chemically engineered nanoparticles that possess 20+ unique corresponding properties and characteristics. Their signatures may be detected in the field by the use of hand held devices and forensically with sophisticated laboratory equipment.

Quantum dots may be used as an overt or covert protection system and combined with other security technologies such as synthetic DNA, phosphors, holograms, security ink and more. They are suited for use on a wide variety of substrates including polymers, paper, metals and glass. He says the use of quantum dots as the next generation security technology represents overwhelming  challenges to counterfeiters.

About AIPIA: The Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association (AIPIA) is a worldwide association, with 650+ members, promoting high tech packaging solutions. AIPIA’s mission is to decimate supply chain costs, reduce waste and increase profitability by the implementation of high tech solutions in packaging. Each year it runs the AIPIA Congress, the world’s only event for ALL A&IP technologies.

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