ProSweets 2017 preview

Intelligent packaging is a great idea but can manufacturers justify the cost?

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Hershey's Kisses now carry SmartLabels that give consumers information about their purchase. Picture: Hershey
Hershey's Kisses now carry SmartLabels that give consumers information about their purchase. Picture: Hershey
ConfectioneryNews will dive into the topic of active and intelligent packaging at ProSweets Cologne, (January 29-February 1) in a panel discussion with four experts.

Tom Lawrie-Fussey, business developer and entrepreneur, Cambridge Design Partnership; Richard Burhouse, commercial director, API Group; Bill Simcox senior VP, EVRYTHNG; and Arnaud Bansard, trademark protection EMEA, Asia & South America, Surys and founding member, International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA), will talk about the future of confectionery packaging, ​the practicalities, costs and potential opportunities for commercialization.

'Device connectivity'

The session entitled ‘Edible, active & intelligent packaging: Engaging confectionery consumers’, will be held on Monday, January 30, from 10.30-12pm at Speaker’s Corner​ Hall 10.1 F-008.

Active, intelligent packaging is the implementation of smart technology in packaging such as bottles that light up​, temperature sensors​, NFC​ (Near-Field Communication)​, and QR-codes​ (Quick Response) and in the future consumers will see more products with ‘device connectivity’.

According to Lawrie-Fussey, it will be as if the product itself becomes a trusted companion it ‘knows’ and consumers will be left wondering how did they ever live without it.

But moving into the ‘disruptive packaging’ market is a significant investment and manufacturers will want to understand as much as they can about a product before committing to that investment.

Initial thoughts are smart, intelligent packaging is all well and good but how do you get the right mix of cost versus the features. Can manufacturers justify the cost?​” he said.

For the foreseeable future there is an intrinsic limit on how connected and smart packaging can be and how can it think for itself to provide value-added feedback​.

How can manufacturers justify the pricing and cost to consumers, there is no simple answer, it is not comparable to a few cents, which is why NFC and QR, which is ‘almost free to install’ is the most popular at the moment and why it’s been the first to be adopted​.

Packaging opportunities for the future include technology that can break those rules (of easily adopted, free to install technology), there are no shortcuts but we can bend them, for example partnering with retailers to provide a technical in-store experience, with 100-themed chocolate boxes​.

Future technology will 'blur the lines'

“In the next five years manufacturers will blur the lines, to look beyond existing technology – they won’t be able to justify multiple electronics per box for an end-user experience, they will look for other ways to implement technology so it doesn’t have to be installed per item, even bottles of champagne.

“There will be more opportunities for refiller packs, to save on packaging waste and electronic tags which tell you when a product is about to expire​.

As manufacturers understand how a consumer is using their product the data can work as a service model with recommendations to buy similar products they can enjoy.”

Wading into the debate will be Burhouse of API Group and Simcox from EVRYTHNG.

API manufactures and distributes foils, laminates and holographic materials globally. Burhouse will tell the audience what new projects his team is working on, what has been done in the past, trends and premiumization of brands trying to do different things.

Burhouse said he has seen a number of well-known consumer brands take this route, of finding ways to turn a standard product and ‘premiumizing it’.

Simox has over 25 years of experience in consumer products. He built his career at Unilever in sales and brand management across each of their Household & Personal Care, Foods and Beverages businesses before moving to Molson Coors as a business unit director, then eCommerce director and director of marketing for its European Business.

He said he was working at a time when the new impact of digital marketing added agility, personalization and measurement to the more traditional elements of the marketing mix to manage brand equity.

He eventually moved to Kodak as part of a strategic turnaround to develop a new incubator division that launched a digital imaging businesses that could transform consumer goods companies in the digital imaging, automated marketing, content management and anti-counterfeiting spaces.

Simcox is a strong advocate of technology and believes it has the ability to unlock new enterprise value for corporations across many areas such as eCommerce, Consumer Engagement, Brand Protection and Supply Chain Optimization and Bansard looks after trademark protection EMEA, Asia & South America, including optical and digital security to protect products against counterfeiting and traceability.

ProSweets is held in conjunction with ISM sweets & snacks international tradeshow organized by Koelnmesse.

jenny session


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