Intelligent Packaging: A Hope for Future?

The main goal of intelligent packaging lies in sensing and providing information regarding the product quality. Hence, the technology is useful for consumers utilizing packaged goods, mainly perishable goods. Intelligent packaging indicates about the product storage, usage, and expiry.

This packaging contributes to facilitating the extension of product shelf life through incorporated unique features that include sensing, detecting, tracing, recording, and communicating. This is possible through the use of microsensors and indicators in the packaging system. The growing sensor technology is propelling the market growth during the forecast period. Sensors perform the following functions; the packaging contain microbial growth indicators where these are responsible for monitoring the microbial growth in packaged food items. The sensors sense the gas or other volatile substances that may be generated inside the package. The indicators also monitor the pH of the food product and in case of any modification due to product spoilage alert the customers or retailers regarding the food/product quality. In addition, the intelligent packaging also educates the end-consumer for taking appropriate action. During transportation, the sensors in intelligent packaging provide information regarding the product damage while onboard. The information may be useful in accountability measures in case of product mishandling and thus, can help in reducing costs.


intelligent packaging market


The growing pharmaceutical industry is also contributing to surging the intelligent packaging market growth during the forecast period. This is due to the fact that intelligent packaging notifies the patients to take medicine on time and also records the time at which the drug was consumed, further contributing to improving patient compliance. For manufacturers, smart or intelligent packaging will help pharmaceutical companies to keep a check on their stocks and will assist in managing the inventory labels in a better way. The sensors in the intelligent packaging allow the companies in checking the available stock and this will further help in adjusting their production and supply accordingly. Thus, helping them in dealing with understocking and overstocking situations. Furthermore, with increasing pharmaceutical spending, the market is poised to thrive during the course of the forecast period. In the United States, the per capita pharma spending grew from USD1176.7 in 2015 to reach USD1228.7 in 2018 (source: OECD).

intelligent packaging market

Source: OECD, United States Per Capita Pharmaceutical Spending, in US Dollars

Furthermore, with continuous innovations in pharma industry either to create a novel drug or to improve the existing medicine, the intelligent packaging is being offered. In addition, the growing research and development initiatives along with R&D investments is further supporting the innovations within the industry. Moreover, the growing pharmaceutical packaging industry is further providing an impetus in propelling the market growth in the forecast period.

With the growing trend of achieving sustainability, along with improved product safety and maintaining high-quality standards, intelligent packaging is finding immense growth potential in the food sector as well. The systems in the packaging are capable of constant monitoring of the quality status of a product and can also share the information to the user. In this way, the technology is helping customers to reduce food waste to a greater extent. However, at present, the market for intelligent packaging in the food and beverages sector is at a small-scale, but, due to its benefits offered to the busy consumers who are adopting packaged or convenience food consumption trend, the market is predicted to soar at a rapid pace over the next five years. Furthermore, with increasing urbanization and changing consumer living conditions, the market is estimated to thrive at a significant growth rate with the surging demand for smart and sustainable packaging products in the food industry. According to the United Nations World Urbanization Prospects 2018, the urban population rose from 3.81 billion in 2013 to achieve 4.13 billion by the end of 2017.

intelligent packaging market

Source: UN World Urbanization Prospects 2018, Global Urban Population, in billion

Like other industries, food and beverage products also pass through quality tests. Certain microbiological and chemical tests are regularly performed in companies at the time of production and it is assured that the food product is free from any harmful substance before being delivered. However, in most of the cases, it has been observed that after the delivery of product from the company to the retail stores has been made, there is no such indicator or testing processes that can provide assurance regarding the product quality. Hence, intelligent packaging can easily close this gap and is capable of providing quality status from the point of manufacturing to the end-customers.  Such packaging will not only help in reducing unnecessary wastage of food products but will also offer protection to consumers against food poisoning. Hence, the introduction of intelligent packaging in food industry will contribute to maximizing the efficiency of food industries and also encourages to improve the product traceability.

The growing transport and logistics activities due to the growing e-commerce retailing are further promoting the growth of the global intelligent packaging market in the forecast period. Intelligent packaging in the retail sector is projected to play a significant role in the management of the entire supply chain in much more transparent, efficient, and near real-time manner. The growing digitization has a crucial role to play in retail sector. The advent of intelligent packaging in this sector not only will contribute in meeting the basic functionalities like protection, storing and transport of goods, but will also provide relevant information as well. The sensors in the packaging will collect insights from the surrounding environment and will simultaneously help in describing the condition and state of the goods. Temperature and humidity patterns can be studied in order to assess whether the cold chain was maintained. Another aspect where intelligent packaging is useful involves localization. A package equipped with RFID or Auto-ID solutions, can provide information regarding the delivery routes and location of the vehicle.

The current novel coronavirus pandemic has created a significant impact on the packaging industry. The self-isolation measures led to supply shortages. Also, the manufacturing and production disruptions have affected the packaging industry in an adverse manner, further putting a negative impact on the global intelligent packaging industry as well.


Vibha Saklani is a Market Research Analyst at KSI, working on the estimates and global reports on multiple industries spanning from IoT to food and beverages, with a special knack for healthcare, medical devices, and related markets. With the addition of her formal education in Biotechnology and having a research background, she is able to shed more light on the detailed analysis of the story. To read more articles by her, and for more information regarding multiple global markets, visit