If you make consumer products, then you already know the importance of
compelling package design. The color of a box, the shape of a bottle, the
lettering on a label – even subtle changes can influence perceptions of
quality and value and consumer buying decisions.
Smart packages connect to digital information
How a product is packaged is so important, in fact, that the
packaging sector is valued
at more than $800 billion a year. And now, with the arrival of RFID-NFC
electronics, the smart-packaging industry rivals high tech companies in
Silicon Valley in terms of innovation and connectivity. According to
researchers Markets and Markets, the smart-packaging sector will be worth
$39.7 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of about 5% and connecting around
four billion people.
Further fueling smart package growth is the rising number of consumers who
carry smartphones equipped with NFC technology. Marketing intelligence firm
recently listed “apps that support mobile-engaged packaging” as
a top trend set to impact the global packaging industry.
Smart packages with RFID-NFC are unlike other packages
Smart packages have an identity, can speak for themselves, and can connect
with consumers like never before. Smart packages increase efficiency within
the supply chain, offer a trusted way to authenticate products and provide
better consumer experiences at the point-of-sale and use. In fact, with smart
RFID-NFC packaging, products can follow their full product lifecycle –
from source to sale – and even through the last mile, to the consumer.
RFID-NFC electronics is a secure, non-intrusive connectivity technology that
enables new kinds of identification, traceability and interaction. The tags
are small, thin, flexible and battery-free. They can go just about anywhere
on the package as part of the container, label, closure or even the product
By adding an RFID or NFC tag to the package, a product package become part of
the connected age, able to interact with mobile devices, connected readers and cloud services.
Benefits of smart packages
Self-aware. Smart packages are provisioned with a unique
identifier (NFC) or EPC code (RFID), so they know who they are and can
identify themselves, for enhanced control and more efficient management from
source to sale. Smart packages can be tracked precisely, with help from
connected readers and the cloud. At any point in the distribution chain, smart
products can report where they are, where they’ve been, and where
Trusted. A smart package can verify the authenticity of its
contents, so consumers can be sure what they’re buying is genuine.
Packages can also be equipped with sensors to monitor environmental factors,
such as temperature, so people can be confident that products that require
special handling, including foods and pharmaceuticals, are safe to use.
Interactive. Smart packages can also respond to questions,
providing valuable information and interactions when asked. The package tag
can share information that’s stored locally, or can leverage the cloud
to extend the conversation and offer follow-on options. On a small package,
the tag can convey or give access to extra information that wouldn’t
otherwise fit in the space available. Tags can also link to more information
about ingredients – where they’re from, how they’re
produced – to motivate on-spot purchases, or connect users to
installation instructions or service guides at the point of use. Smart
packages can also create a stronger bond with the purchaser, linking to
special offers, invitations to brand-related social communities and rewarding
Insightful. Every tag interaction can be captured by a
tracking platform in the cloud, providing new market intelligence.
Working within the legal guidelines and respecting privacy, marketing and
operations teams can acquire greater insight into customer interests and
NXP and our partners are paving the way
As the identification industry’s number-one supplier for smart, secure
RFID-NFC technology, NXP and its value chain partners are at the forefront of
smart packaging. Our solutions enable new kinds of business-to-business (B2B)
and business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions, creating new consumer
experiences. We offer the industry’s broadest microchip portfolio, are
on the board of the Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association
(AIPIA), and have several customers who’ve already launched smart packages of
Here are some interesting examples of companies that are already using
RFID-NFC technology to create smart packages.
Barilla Foods: Meals that Prepare Themselves
The Italian food manufacturer has used RFID technology as the basis for a
whole new line of products. Working with appliance-manufacturer Whirlpool,
they’ve developed an RFID-enabled oven that captures instructions from
a passive tag, embedded in the meal’s package, then automatically mixes
and cooks the ingredients. A delay function lets you schedule when cooking
will take place, so you can come home from work to a fully prepared dinner, or
wake up to the aroma of freshly baked bread. Barilla’s dedicated
gives details, and the NXP ICODE chips used in
tags for the packaging are described
GLOV: Modern Make-up Removal GLOV
is a new fiber, consisting of polyamide and polyester, designed to remove
make-up more effectively while being gentler on your skin. Developed by the
Polish company Phenicoptere, GLOV Hydro Demaquillage cloths are sold in a
carton equipped with
and software from
Origintag. The smart NFC tag works with a brand app and a secure cloud service to
verify authenticity, and then gives you access to extras like additional
product details, a how-to video, product ratings and social-media pages.
There’s even opportunities for cross-selling via opt-in push
Stora Enso: Premium Chocolates with a Tech Twist The
Stora Enso, a leader in innovative and sustainable paper packaging, offers smart boxes
for chocolate. Equipped with
technology from NXP, the boxes let you use an NFC phone and a brand app to
access extra product information, storage recommendations and social media.
Outer boxes are also available with tamper-evidence seals and monitoring
sensors that log ambient temperature and check for boundary excursions from
source to usage, so anyone – inspectors and consumers alike –
can scan the tag and confirm that the chocolates inside have been properly
handled and offer optimal quality.
MouTai Liquor: Ensuring Authenticity MouTai
liquor, which is named for the town where it was originally distilled, has a
very long history in China. It’s usually saved for special occasions
and often given as gifts, and, because of its unique reputation and higher
price, is a target for counterfeiters and illicit trade. The bottles now come
with RFID (HF)-tagged closures, which serve to verify authenticity and provide
traceability from source to sale along the supply chain. In stores, consumers
can also tap their NFC phone against the bottle to make sure the product is
genuine, and gain access to extra product information. The RFID tags are
supplied by NXP’s integration partner
Techsun Group, and built using
chips, which offer a read range from a few centimeters up to one meter.
Join the conversation
Have you used a smartphone to interact with a smart package? How do you think
smart packages will make life different? Will they influence your buying
decisions or make you a more savvy consumer?
Global Marketing Management - Smart Products & Services, NXP Semiconductors
A marketing professional with over 20 years of experience working across diverse markets, including technology, consumer goods, healthcare and risk protection, Sylvia Kaiser-Kershaw is an expert in the definition and implementation of brand strategies and cross-channel marketing solutions. At NXP, she's driving NFC IoT applications that increase engagement between brands and consumers by adding digital connectivity, security and intelligence to physical products.