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Active, smart and intelligent packaging to grow amid demand for packaged food, increasing food safety concerns

Active, smart and intelligent packaging to grow amid demand for packaged food, increasing food safety concerns

Packaging of a product not only ensures a safe and secure reach to the end-user, but also significantly affects the way the product is presented to the consumers from the marketing perspective. New technologies such as intelligent packaging, active, smart packaging, and modified atmosphere packaging are replacing traditional methods such as canning. Advanced packaging interacts internally (active packaging) as well as externally (intelligent packaging) with the environment and enhances the visual appeal of the products. Besides this, smart and active packaging also ease the process of bulk transportation.  With the technological advancements, innovative packaging alternatives are now available for the manufacturers to innovate their consumer outreach and gain market share. The food industry in particular, which is currently at its peak, is the primary driver in the global active, smart, and intelligent packaging, besides the growing requirement of packaging that can more efficiently control gas and moisture. 
As per Transparency Market Research, active packaging, modified atmosphere, and intelligent packaging technology are of the technology segments of this market, whereas application segment can include seafood, meat and poultry, soup, confectionaries, dairy products, and fruits and vegetables. Some of the emerging packaging products are advanced time-temperature monitors, antimicrobial packaging, and smart phone-enabled interactive packaging products. Most of these products are anticipated to develop further during the forecast period and pave way for manufacturers to impress their consumers. Due to the escalating demand for packaged food, such as ready-to-cook, from the urban population across the globe, coupled with increasing food safety concerns that is quickly becoming a norm for several industries, the market for active, smart, and intelligent packaging is expected to stay in good stead. This market is also expected to grow on account of increasing need for to retain freshness and nutritional value of the products, at competitive prices.  In particular, the report anticipates intelligent packaging market to expand faster as products such as time-temperature indicators and smart labels become common. The report also suggests that active packaging demand will be driven by the growth in gas scavenger products, which are benefitting from the development of more advanced technology and growing preference toward foods with fewer additive. Currently, the region of North America serves the maximum demand for active, smart, and intelligent packaging, as far as geographical segmentation of this is concerned. Owing to factors such as stringent legislations regarding food and beverage packaging in the country-wide markets of the U.S., and Canada, the demand from North American region will sustain during the forecast period. However, the demand from the region of Asia Pacific which resides several emerging economies, is also expected to swell considerably in next few years. The key players in this market, such as Amcor Ltd., Graham Packaging Company Inc., Landec Corp., Ball Corp., Timestrip Plc, VIP Packaging, Sealed Air Corp., SYSCO Corp., Mitsubishi Gas Chemical, notice this requirement as are continuously investing on research and development to gain ground over their competitors.

As per TMR, ambient food packaging refers to packing a food product in pasteurised and sterilized packs to increase its shelf life. Ambient food packing has become a trend in the food packaging industry and ambient food products are preferred by majority of the consumers over others. Increasing demand for having more empty space in chill cabinets calls for the adoption of the food packaging methods that can offer a better shelf life to the product even without a refrigerator. Demand for sustainable packaging material has become a new trend in the ambient food packaging industry. Ambient food packaging bestows extended shelf life to the food product as compared to the usual packaging methods and, thus, enables storing the product at room temperature. Additionally, it also makes use of high barrier sheets, which assure that certain important aspects related to food storage, such as safety of food stored inside, consumer convenience, and attractive design, are taken care of. All these supporting factors have led to the increased demand for ambient food packaging among food manufacturers globally.  The ambient food packaging market can be classified on the basis of types of containers used, on the basis of food, and by packaging material. On the basis of containers used, the ambient food packaging is segmented into tray, pots, lids, cups, and bowls. On the basis of food, the ambient food packaging market is segmented into ready meals, baby foods, soups and sauces, seafood, fruits and vegetables, coffee, and pet food. On the supply side, major players in the market have started offering services, such as blow moulding, injection moulding, and thermoforming, which has been leading to the additional demand for the packaging type. However, high level of processing required in case of ambient food packaging ultimately adds to the overall cost of packaging product, which poses as a potential threat for growth of the global ambient food packaging market. Main market for ambient food packaging lies in Asia Pacific, as demand for packaged food is increasing along with the growing population and rising disposable income levels of consumers in the region. The Asia Pacific market is anticipated to be followed by North America and Western Europe, as these markets account for the largest share of canned foods consumption across the globe. The Western Europe market is expected to be followed by South America, Eastern Europe, and Middle East & Africa markets. However, the global ambient food packaging market is still expected to be dominated by the emerging economies.

As per Smithers Pira, the global smart packaging market value is forecast to grow during the five-year period to 2021 at an annual rate of 7.5% to US$7.6 bln. The global active packaging market value is forecast to grow during the five-year period to 2021 at an annual rate of 4.9% to US$5.6 bln, while intelligent packaging is forecast to grow 18% pa to almost US$2 bln. "The high cost of active and intelligent packaging has always been a factor restraining growth, particularly since cost-competitiveness is a key determinant of success in the retail industry. Smart packaging technology providers are however getting the unit cost of smart tags and labels down and raising their performance," according to David Platt, author of the report. Smithers Pira believes intelligent packaging is the dynamic and potentially high-growth market, with developments in printed electronics, Cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) driving the adoption of these technologies. Whereas active packaging is a relatively mature market in comparison, although 'there are good growth opportunities for several technologies in niche markets.' The growing consumer concern regarding food waste and food safety is being met by both active and intelligent components. Active technology can now routinely double the effective shelf life of many perishable products, while intelligent packs offer clear signals about the condition of the product, removing the need for arbitrary ‘best before’ labels.
Smithers’ research shows that brand owners now want usable products, not just a technology or component, that adds real value to their brand, rather than short-term marketing gimmicks. They also want to see active and intelligent packaging developers working together, and also collaborating with design houses and packaging manufacturers, to provide total finished solutions.

The Global Smart Packaging market is accounted for US$27.2 bln in 2014 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.5% to reach US$45.03 bln by 2022, as per Wise Guy Reports. The challenge of the market includes High R&D costs and lack of sustainable E-Packaging products. Advancement in printed technology is the opportunity that reside the market growth. Limited user awareness, High rate and accessibility are the restraint factors for Smart Packaging. The key drivers include change in consumer lifestyle, Food consumption and demand for Smart Packaging.

The global smart packaging market is expected to reach US$26.7 bln by 2024, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. Rising need for smart packaging products owing to increasing usage in the end use industries such as electronics and automotive on account of its superior protection properties is expected to fuel the growth over the forecast period. Rising industrialization in emerging regions including Asia Pacific and the Middle East is expected to drive the industry over the next eight years. Increasing application scope in the logistics industry pertaining to the surging use of RFID tags at multiple levels to speed up locating products, and to improve the availability of real-time information coupled with the elimination of record loss is expected to drive the demand over the next eight years. Moreover, rising investment to improve the logistics industry within emerging economies such as China and India are projected to propel the industry growth. Active Packaging accounted for over 70% of the market in terms of revenue on account of superior corrosion and moisture control properties. Growing use of the product in the automotive sector is likely to drive the demand over the forecast period. Further key findings from the report suggest:
* The global smart packaging industry in terms of revenue was US$10.8 bln in 2015 and is expected to reach US$26.7 bln by 2024, recording a CAGR of 10.6% from 2016 to 2024.
* NFC (near field communication) is projected to be the fastest growing segment within intelligent packaging registering a CAGR of over 12% from 2016 to 2024. Usage of NFC in the telecom industries is rising exponentially. Smartphones equipped with NFC which can be paired with NFC tags or stickers, programmed by NFC apps to automate tasks and hence, is likely to fuel the growth of smart packaging market over the forecast period.
* Personal care sector is expected to register a CAGR of over 10% from 2016 to 2024 accounting for about 9% of the total market in 2015. Growing demand for personal care products particularly organic products on account of rising awareness about various health benefits over their synthetic counterparts is likely to fuel the industry over the forecast period.
* Automotive segment held a significant share of over 10% in 2015. The industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 12% from 2016 to 2024. Growing use of RFID tags in the automotive industry to improve the production efficiency is expected to drive the demand over the forecast period. Also, rising use of RFID tags in the automotive industry for asset tracking and supply chain management is expected to propel the industry growth.
* Asia Pacific accounted for a significant share of over 11% in 2015. The ready availability of raw materials coupled with cheaper manufacturing costs is expected to drive the growth. The region is also projected to witness growth of over 14% from 2016 to 2024.
* The industry is moderately fragmented with the presence of a large number of prominent participants across the globe. Some leading companies operating in the global market include 3M, BASF, Du Pont, Avery Dennison Corp., Amcor Limited, Sealed Air Corporation and International Paper. 3M is an American company involved in product development, manufacturing, and marketing for businesses including industrial, safety & graphics, electronics & energy, healthcare, and consumer. The company manufactures a wide range of products which includes abrasives, maintenance, automotive, materials, films, hand hygiene, home improvement, components, patient monitoring, personal safety, signs & displays, filtration, surgical solutions, wire & cable and tapes & adhesives. 

Demand for active and intelligent packaging in the US is forecast to expand 7.3% pa to US$4 bln in 2019, according to Freedonia, with intelligent packaging to record the fastest growth as products such as smart labels and tags become more common. Intelligent packaging, which incorporates features that indicate status or communicate product changes and other information, will advance at a double-digit rate, 11.1% pa to 2019 to a value of US$1.5 bln. ‘Although many of these products have been seen as unnecessary or cost prohibitive in the past, the development of technology which allows for low cost production of printed electronics and the elimination of specialized electronic readers in favor of smartphones will allow them to enter the mainstream,’ said Freedonia analyst Katie Wieser. Rapid adoption of tracking-enabled or interactive packaging components will further be driven by recent legislation in the pharmaceutical and food markets which requires producers to take steps to make products safer and easier to recall.
Active packaging provides functions beyond product protection and identification, such as moisture control. Active packaging demand is forecast to grow 5.4% pa to US$2.5 bln in 2019. Demand will be driven by growth in gas scavenger products which are benefiting from the development of more advanced technology and the growing preference for foods with fewer additives. Growth in demand for corrosion control packaging, desiccants, and microwave susceptors will register more moderate gains due to market maturity. However, according to the Freedonia report, healthy gains will still be observed as products are introduced to perform these standard functions more efficiently. For example, new environmentally friendly corrosion control scavengers have been developed, and desiccants are now being embedded in bottles or caps to provide moisture control for pharmaceuticals.

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