Welcome to the Future: Smart Packaging

Blog | by Linda Arcadipane | 10.01.2020

The physical and digital worlds are now linked together by Smart Packaging, forming a connection between manufacturers, retailers, consumers and social media channels. Smart Packaging uses advanced technology to expand functionality and create an interactive experience, enabling the packaging to become more individual, personal and communicative.


Smart packaging is the combination of two types of systems, active and intelligent packaging:

  • Active packaging is packaging that interacts with the contents and thus improves the shelf life or quality of the contents. 
  • Intelligent packaging is packaging that offers an additional benefit that goes beyond the mere package. The “intelligence” of packaging essentially results from “communication” with the outside world.

Intelligent packaging does not refer to a single technology, but to a variety of technologies that together are able to perform specific functions and thus inform the consumer about the product. One method of intelligent packaging is by embedding a quick scan capability, NFC or QR code, into a product’s packaging.  The scan is activated through a mobile device and can instantly display the brand’s content of choice (usually via app or video). It also offers trackability features to help brand owners accurately measure user engagement. The brand can provide a wealth of product-specific information and interactive content to their consumer – building trust and rapport while making products more attractive to consumers.

IBC Shell has been at the forefront of smart packaging for several years now.   They released NFC packaging capabilities including embedding custom NFC chips within both primary and secondary packaging. IBC Shell also patented and released the world’s first ‘smart stir rod’ and ‘muddler with a brain’.  These tools are utilized for mixing cocktails at a bar or home setting, and can be programmed with marketing content including tutorial videos, demonstrations, social media platforms, events, etc. https://ibcshell.com/product-incubator/

IBC Shell also took smart technology another leap further with their 2020 release of “Emma”, a customizable, interactive augmented reality avatar.  Emma has the ability to physically appear in multiple environments: Company presentations, home outreach, e-commerce, demonstrations, and indoor or outside events. For example, for the spirits industry, via a scanned NFC chip, Emma can instantly appear as a professional mixologist on consumers’ mobile devices. She asks tailored questions and is capable of having two-way conversations. https://ibcshell.com/customavatars/

Smart packaging has opened up an entire new world of possibilities for brand owners. According to this latest publication from Meticulous Research, the global smart packaging market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% from 2020 to 2027 to reach $43.6 billion by 2027. The growth of this market is mainly attributed to the increasing demand for advanced packaging solutions and rising demand for smart & functional packaging. Smart packaging is still in its infancy but clearly here to stay as more and more companies begin to uncover the significant opportunities and disruptive benefits that smart packaging can deliver.

To find out more about smart packaging, contact IBC Shell www.ibcshell.com