Reflections of Smart Packaging on Consumer Habits

At a time when technology has come to us in the century, with the use of smart devices and increased engagement, a customer group has arisen that is more mindful of learning, asking, and consuming. Consumers have come to favor hygienic, reliable, and convenient goods across their product range. In this sense, the importance of packaging, which includes valuable details about the product and its content and is a crucial factor in the protection of the product, has also intensified for consumers.

With the emergence of diseases associated with product consumption on a global scale, the expectations of the conscientious customer population concerning the goods they have bought and the packaging that protects these items have shifted. Consumers have begun to be more cautious, particularly in the food industry and in items that could be allergenic. This sensitivity has entailed the development of a traceable system in other industries as well as in the ready-made food industry. As a result of all these advances and improvements, ‘smart packaging technology’ has evolved. With the smart packaging technology, also known as the ‘smart tag,’ it has become possible to track all the changes that the goods are subjected to during the process, from manufacturing to consumption and including the physical or chemical changes that exist in the products.

As if the packaging was originally designed to preserve the goods, the intended use and market purposes have evolved. Packaging has become a communication mechanism not only for the safety of the product but also in the cycle from the development of the product to its delivery to the end-user. The only unchangeable feature or intent of the packaging is to interact with the user.

Nowadays, smart packaging has found a role in the food field mainly to deliver practically all food items to end-users across broad markets and to avoid the harmful impact of any condition that could emerge in this phase on public health. Companies Fresh Check®, 3M Monitor Mark®, Vitsab®, PakSense®, and OnVu® produce smart packaging for food products in which time and temperature are critical. Smart packaging developed only by Fresh Check® is used successfully in more than 400 items.

It’s Fresh®, Fresh Tag® and Ripe Sense® produce smart packaging that warns customers about the freshness or maturity of the items. These connected packages were initially evaluated on pears, and when it was shown that they had successfully calculated and announced the degree of maturity, they continued to be tested on other products. Ageless-Eye®, Vitalon®, OxySense Inc.®, and Samso Chacker®, on the other hand, manufacture oxygen and carbon dioxide-sensitive packages and alert customers by adjusting color in the case of oxygen or carbon dioxide gasses found within the product. Again, these firms are making smart food packages. Also, smart packages are developed by Toxin GuardTM® and Food Sentinel SystemTM® companies to identify pathogens that may contaminate food items by external sources.

Changes in technology also introduced the use of the packaging as a quality management mechanism to the duties of securing the product, enabling its transportation, and interacting with the customer. The emergence and advancement of smart packaging technology with IoT on a day-to-day basis has been influential in shaping and gaining the value of this role. With the creation of indicators and sensors that give the packaging a smart function, information is gathered for all steps during production and connected packaging.