Packaging has always served an important role in the food supply chain. In mature countries around the world, the majority of foodstuffs are packaged—approximately 90%, and food packaging is a major growth area in emerging nations. Packaging provides protection for products (a barrier against humidity, gases, a protection against flavors/odors or light), it also provides product information for the consumer and helps to establish brand identity. In these tough economic times, the food packaging market is one of the few growth areas. However, it is not without its challenges.
“In a few decades time, computers will be interwoven into almost every industrial product.,” said Karl Steinbuch, German computer science pioneer in 1966.
Over the next 5-10 years printed electronics will present the printing and the electronics industries with multiple multi-billion dollar opportunities to address essential unmet needs related to healthcare, security, logistics, food safety, communication and sustainability. For example, there has never been a greater need to develop new ways to support the sustainable distribution and use of pharmaceuticals or consumer packaged goods. The world’s population is on a steady track to more than nine billion people by 2050, and as it grows, the nature and functions of packaging will need to expand and change dramatically.
Packaging has traditionally played two roles: it has served as protection for the product contents and assisted in establishing brand identity and attracting consumer attention. In recent years, since so many buying decisions are made in the retail store itself, that second role has taken on increasing significance. Packaging companies have used bold colors, specialized inks and complex graphics to grab consumer attention for their product and away from the competition.
Today, package designers have an additional toolinteractive printed media (IPM). According to Kate Stone, founder of Novalia, “Interactive printed media is a simple but very powerful and enabling concept; it means to add real- time interactivity to potentially any item that is printed.”