Smart Labels: How Packaging Design is Changing
Labels that light up when expired, labels that provide allergy information, labels that allow you to track your package through the entire supply chain, these are just a few examples of how smart labeling is rising in popularity and therefore something you should be considering when designing new packaging.
Consumers and Smart Labels
Smart labels put consumers in the driver's seat. Today's shoppers want instant access to information they deem important before purchasing a product. Smart labels in the form of QR codes, invisible barcodes like in the Digimarc video below or specially configured tags are just a few examples of technology that is providing this level of detail. Brands that provide ingredients lists, traceability, nutritional details and key information such as the 'best before' date are going to build consumer trust and engage new customers on an entirely new level.
Tracking RFID Tag
Invisible Bar Codes
Consumers are asking for increased traceability, package trackers, delivery times and a unified brand experience both at physical points of sale and when unboxing at home. Smart product labeling can deliver this.
Invisible Bar Codes
The Supply Chain and Smart Labels
Smart labels like printed sensors, provide real-time data about temperature and freshness. In the area of logistics, companies are tracking shipping crates with RFID tags or down to the level of the individual product with printed sensors on each item. Robotics for picking, packing and tracking are being integrated at an increasing rate. Ocado, Britain's largest online supermarket, processes 3.5 million items a week, with the help of over a thousand robots that are "lifting", "moving", and "sorting" products.
What This Means For Your Food Brand
According to research done by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute, 7 out of 10 consumers want to know more about the product than just what is found on the label. GMA goes on to predict that 80% of food and beverage, pet care and personal care products will have a smart label in the next five years. This demand by savvy consumers for more product information through smart devices is what is driving the adoption of smart labels in the food and beverage industry.
80% of food and beverage, pet care and personal care products will have a smart label in the next five years
Include Smart Labels in Your Business Strategy
As your business evolves include conversation around how to incorporate smart labeling solutions into your new packaging. Ask your current printer what they have for capability. Will they be ready to move when you are? What are the best materials to use? What does it cost and how do you build that into your pricing? Conduct market research around your target audience and their smart device use. Look into how your local retailers are incorporating smart labeling into their product offering. Is there an opportunity for your company to gain a competitive edge?
Smart labels help consumers and they work for logistics and warehouses. This new technology has the potential to transform the way we purchase food and beverage by increasing information transfer, transparency, and decreasing waste. Sounds like win/win situation.