Stratcom Branding recently hosted the 9th Packaging Conference on Consumer Insights and Packaging Trends in Johannesburg. It brought together important local and international packaging specialists with the aim of examining the latest emerging trends and new technologies affecting the packaging world. One of the main focuses of the conference was to identify and leverage ways in which we can use packaging to help products stand out in a highly competitive market. A key take-out was the growing need to find practical ways to incorporate connected packaging into consumers’ everyday lives.
Packaging today has to wear many hats. It’s no longer enough for it to simply protect products – it also has to look good, be practical and be kind to the environment. But even all those criteria still don’t satisfy today’s demanding consumers. They also want their packaging to be informative, and to offer value added benefits. This is where connected packaging comes in.
What Is Connected Packaging?
Also referred to as intelligent packaging, connected packaging aims to meet the high expectations of hyper-connected consumers. This means it has to be digitalised, offering an interactive consumer experience through their smartphones or tablets, and providing detailed product information.
Heinz, for example, leveraged this technology to allow consumers to access a wide range of App-based recipe ideas – simply by pointing their smartphone camera at a tomato sauce bottle. The idea is genius, incurring no increased packaging costs and creating zero environmental impact.
Previously, this kind of information was available through the QR code on the label. But recently, newer and more exciting ways to communicate with consumers have emerged. Today’s consumers – Milennials in particular – love novelty and convenience. They also want total honesty and transparency from the products they purchase.
In Australia, fast-food giant McDonalds took connected packaging to a whole new level with their “Track My Macca” campaign. They realised that consumers didn’t fully understand the origins of the ingredients in McDonalds food, and this was adversely affecting their decision to support the brand. So McDonald’s created an immersive App that enabled their customers to find out the origin of the food they were eating – simply by pointing their smartphone at the packaging. Using GPS and image recognition technology, the App invites consumers into a semi-animated world, where they can enjoy insights from local farmers and producers – all based on what food is on their tray.
Connected packaging can also have a significant impact on reducing waste. Consumers can, for example, scan a code to know how fresh a product is. Some intelligent labels even change colour as the product approaches its expiration date.
Consumers are definitely keeping the packaging world on its toes! Mapflex packaging is backed up by the latest scientific research from our European laboratories, so you know we have our finger on the pulse of all the exciting innovations happening in the dynamic world of food packaging. To find out more, contact us today.