• Source: Trust Codes.
    Source: Trust Codes.
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Smart packaging builds better connection with consumers while also driving greater innovation. Trust Codes head of strategy Emma Wheeler explains. This story was first published in Food & Drink Business April 2020.

Consumers want richer information about the food and beverages they are consuming.

Not only do they want to know the ingredients, they want access to a plethora of other information including the supply chain it passed through; the impact on the planet and their health; the treatment of workers; and product safety.

Today, the packaging for those products offers more than just protection and branding. Digitisation and smart packaging mean companies can educate and connect directly with their consumers.

With the sustainability conversation consistently being pushed to the forefront, we are redesigning and adapting to an environment that fosters innovation to help solve the problem.

An optimal concept is that our supply chains continuously cycle old materials back into the ecosystem, but with emphasis on designs that can be long-lasting, re-manufactured and reused.

This is the circular economy concept most are trying to break through today.

Materials being utilised are pushing the boundaries of innovation, but it isn’t quite so simple with challenges  such as food safety and anti-counterfeit/tampering, and requires careful thought and consideration.

Innovative materials solutions such as APEEL utilise plant-based preservatives to form a clear film around fresh produce, keeping it fresh, lasting longer and encapsulating the nutrients.

Other organisations are looking to plant-based options such as seaweed and algae to reinvent packaging.

Much focus and development needs to go into the food safety component of these solutions, as the safety of the population ultimately takes priority.

Mapping and tracking

Packaging has moved past purely being a means to wrap food and display ingredients and nutritional information.

New forms of packaging are being reimagined with technology amplifying the way we interact and engage with packaging. Transparency has driven innovation in digitisation and the ability to connect into a digitised supply chain.

The ability to track a product from conception through to the consumer experience is available for brands to not only map steps, but pull through data and create a meaningful experience for consumers. The ability to map the lifecycle of a product increases transparency for all parties involved and streamlines processes. Connected packaging offers a direct channel of communication to the consumer, with an opportunity to be innovative with how this content is displaced.

With retailer competition becoming increasingly fierce, transparency builds consumer trust and loyalty, creating more value for those involved throughout.

Opening the curtains

The ability to create a direct connection with those purchasing product enables a tailored experience, leveraging data and information in a meaningful way.

Labelling is no longer restricted to the physical outer package, but the ability to have a code that can be scanned via a camera as a bridge to more information opens a plethora of opportunity for transparency and shared information.

Consumers are curious about their products and they are becoming increasingly educated and in search of transparency from brands. Capturing value for products relies on story telling that underlies the products we grow.

Evidence and data-based storytelling is what consumers are demanding, and the storytelling must be substantive in authentication.

Leveraging a digitised supply chain ensures a true and valid provenance story, which is a key differentiator for both domestic and international consumers.

Having smart and connected packaging with traceability back to the grower right  through the supply chain underpins an important attribute in story-telling. Traceability enables transparency, and transparency enables trust.

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