Active packaging is also known as smart packaging or intelligent packaging and refers to the special packaging system used in packing food, pharmaceuticals and other goods. Active packaging is constantly substituting the traditional packaging system as it improves the overall appearance of the product by collaborating externally as well as internally with the external environment. Active packaging helps in extending the overall shelf life of the product and displays information based on quality, monitors freshness of the products packed in it, improves product safety and enhances convenience. Active packaging involves protection of the packed product and performing active functions beyond the inert passive containment. Active/intelligent packaging usually involves the capability to measure or sense shipping environment of the product, an attribute of the product or the inner atmosphere of the package. This data can trigger active packaging functions and can be communicated to respective users.
The term active packaging, smart packaging and intelligent packaging are often used with microelectronics, technologically advanced systems, nanotechnology, computer applications etc. and can be used interchangeably. Active packaging provides various advantages such as moisture control, corrosion control, atmospheric safety, oxygen control, temperature monitor, security etc. Desiccants are generally used to actively suppress water vapor present in a closed package. A desiccant is a hydroscopic material and is used to minimize corrosion of electronics and machinery. Moreover, it extends the overall shelf life of moisture sensitive drugs and foods. Also, volatile corrosion inhibitors are applied to the items to help prevent corrosion and rust. To control oxygen in active packaging, oxygen scavengers helps in absorbing oxygen from a closed package while to control temperature of temperature sensitive packages, temperature data loggers are also employed. Active packaging is defined as a group of intelligent, active and modified packaging techniques, generally crafted to increase the shelf life of a product or package. Active packaging refers to the protection of packed product, whereas intelligent packaging systems add information on the cover of the package in the form of electronic or non-electronic data.
With the increase in demand for ready-to-cook food items and packaged food products, the demand for active packaging is increasing significantly and the market is anticipated to witness a considerable growth rate over the forecast period. Moreover, increasing consumer confidence on packaged food safety is expected to help increase the need for active packaging materials in the foreseeable years. Active packaging market is further expected to be driven by increasing demand for safety of packaged products/goods, demand for improvement in health and rising need for product authenticity. Active packaging technology offers various advantages over their traditional counterparts such as reduced counterfeiting, increased shelf life, enhanced safety, easy implementation and low costs among others. Furthermore, growth in urban population coupled with changing lifestyles has emerged in increasing demand for frozen, ready-to-eat and packaged food. Demand for exotic meat, vegetables & fruits and other edible frozen products across the globe is another major factor fuelling the demand for active packaging. In addition, sophisticated transportation services are expected to propel the trade between countries which, in turn, are projected to boost the global active packaging market over the forecast period. Increasing cases of harmful effects caused by various packaging materials and increasing overall testing costs are some of the key factors hampering the growth of global active packaging market.
The global active packaging market can be segmented on the basis of type, application and geography. On the basis of type, the global active packaging market can be segmented into active packaging, intelligent packaging and modified atmosphere systems. By application, the global active packaging market is segmented into beverages, packaged food, frozen food, dairy and dried food. By region, the global active packaging market is segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Key players involved in the active packaging systems include Ball Corp., Sealed Air Corp., Mitsubishi Gas Chemical, SYSCO Corp., Graham Packaging Company, VIP Packaging, Amcor Ltd., Timestrip PLC. among others.