Could your packaging do more?

Phamaceuticals in active packaging

"Both active packaging and intelligent packaging involve functions going beyond the containment and protection of a product."

Imagine packaging doing more than holding a product. Packaging telling you how fresh your food is. Packaging indicating if medicine is being stored at a proper temperature. Packaging working to make food safer.

Both active packaging and intelligent packaging involve functions going beyond the containment and protection of a product.

Active packaging acts directly with a packaged product – by interacting with it.

  • Oxygen scavengers are the best known and most widely used active packaging. Designed to eliminate residual oxygen from the package’s headspace or to attain zero-permeation. An absorbent product is integrated into the packaging material or added inside the package with a sachet or a label. Oxygen scavenger packaging is commonly used for oxygen-sensitive beverages, fresh products, snacks, and ready-to-eat products.
  • Antimicrobial agents inhibit the growth of undesired micro-organisms on the food surface. The antimicrobial agents are either emitted directly onto the food or slowly diffuse themselves from the packaging material to the food.

Intelligent packaging detects and communicates information about the condition of the product, without taking a direct action. It can sense an attribute of the product and communicate this information to users or trigger active packaging functions. Its main purpose is to indicate whether or not the quality of the product has deteriorated. 

  • Time-temperature indicators are small measuring devices attached to the package surface that can indicate if a predetermined temperature threshold is exceeded. Such indicators have strong potential for pharmaceuticals, where high value, temperature sensitive biotechnology drugs are increasingly adopted.
  • Freshness indicators immediately display the quality of the packaged food. They detect volatile or non-volatile compounds or changes in the product itself and can be embedded via optical detectors, labels and tags.
  • Tracking services monitor the quality of perishable goods during transportation, storage and sale. For example, intelligent packaging can alert the end-user if the product has not been kept at an optimal temperature during the transport and storage phases.

This smarter packaging extends shelf life, monitors freshness and improves safety and convenience.