What Is Active Packaging?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2019
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Sometimes referred to as intelligent packaging or smart packaging, active packaging is an approach to developing packaging systems that help to protect the goods that are placed into the packages and offered to the public for sale. Generally, the process requires assessing and developing packaging that is designed to help protect the integrity of the products in terms of freshness while also providing basic information about the goods that are contained in the packaging. Typically, the process of active packaging will also focus on aspects such as the color, shape, and texture of the packaging, using these elements as a means of helping the package stand out to consumers as they shop.


The concept of intelligent of active packaging is employed with just about any type of good sold through a retailer. Pharmaceutical companies make use of this packaging approach as a means of using distinctive packaging that draws the attention of consumers. In addition to using package design and colors to attract attention, the packaging will often be designed so that consumers can readily determine if the product will meet their needs and expectations. In like manner, food items sold in supermarkets and similar venues often have packaging that consumers readily identify with a specific brand and product due to the design of labels or packaging. As with the pharmaceutical products, the detail on the packaging will also include basic information about the contents of the package, making it easier for consumers to discern if a given product is what they want.

Active packaging is more than simply the containers which are used to house individual product units that are sold to consumers. The packaging process will also extend to how groups of those units are packed for shipment to retailers and others who buy the products in bulk. This means that care is taken to use various aspects of the packing process to make sure the goods are protected while in transit from the manufacturer to the buyer. With this application, care is taken to make sure the goods do not shift during transit, damaging the packaging of the individual units or the contents of those units.

At its core, active packaging is all about protecting the contents of the package from harm and making sure they remain fresh and useful to consumers. At the same time, this type of packaging approach also makes it possible to comply with governmental regulations regarding disclosure of the ingredients and other attributes of the products. By designing packages that protect the freshness of the products and inform the public how to use those products properly, active packaging serves a purpose that ultimately benefits both the manufacturer and the consumer.


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