Smart packaging and printed electronics aren’t strangers to the flexible packaging industry, but to say that they’ve become widely adopted technologies in the field is quite the overstatement. However, a recent study from Canadean states that the future of packaging won’t necessarily be driven by new packaging formats, but by the ability to create new experiences with consumers. That’s where smart packaging can help drive growth.

“Once you get to the shelf, you can talk directly to the consumer,” Peter Kallai, president and CEO of the Canadian Printed Electronics Industry Association (CPEIA), says of smart packaging. “(You can) influence product at the point of decision. (Communication) can also happen in the home of the consumer.

“Can you do something special? The interaction between the company and the consumer could create a great amount of insight.”

Noting the potential of smart packaging, the CPEIA and Packaging Consortium (PAC) recently launched intelliPACK, an initiative with a simple goal: Act as a smart packaging accelerator. Specifically, intelliPACK was developed by 16 industry organizations, originally beginning as an idea and transitioning into a vision to grow smart packaging throughout North America.

Both the PAC and CPEIA are inviting other organizations to participate in this initiative.

“The program will build the market and expand the technical capability of our firm at the same time,” Kallai says. “You can’t just build a technology and not build a market. The challenges of an individual firm is it can’t build the market. We together, as a group of organizations, we can build the market. That brings together the end users, the retailers, the packaging companies, the technology application developers. We have two very complementary ecosystems that we are joining together.”

While the added value of smart packaging and incorporation of printed electronics is beneficial for improving the consumer’s experience, Kallai notes several benefits to packaging companies and the partners involved in the packaging supply chain. For instance, smart packaging can help with tracking and tracing, can help prevent counterfeiting and can assist brands with inventory management.

Kallai says smart packaging also has end of lifecycle benefits.

“By adding an intelligent component in the packaging, it can be easily identified at the recycling facility for proper recycling,” he says. “It’s an area that we’re really looking at because it might help in future recycling initiatives.”

As Kallai notes, it’s not enough to just introduce a new, innovative technology to the market – there has to be the widespread adoption of it. That’s the goal of the intelliPACK initiative.

The Canadian Printable Electronics Industry Assoc.

(613) 795-8181;

Packaging Consortium

(416) 490-7860;