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Smart Packaging: The Next Big Thing in the Pharma Industry

The growth in the global pharmaceutical industry will be driven by safety concerns and the ability of products to fit in the loop of connectivity and communication. Smart labels, QR scanning, brand protection, and identification are some of the aspects that indicate that smart packaging industry needs to evolve constantly to serve all product-shipping business verticals, including pharmaceuticals.

One of the key challenges faced by pharma companies today involves the increasing cost of bringing new formulas into the market. In the case of generic medicines, competition is becoming fierce. Furthermore, companies in the sector are increasingly experiencing pharmaceutical logistics challenges such as shortcoming relating to drug expiry date management, counterfeiting issues that jeopardize quality of care, and product degradation and recalls. A lot of effort is being put in by players in the sector to re-design pharma value chain and turning these roadblocks in opportunities. Among the several advanced techniques used by pharma companies for enhancing performance, smart packaging has been a breakthrough. Smart packaging is an advanced packaging system that can monitor changes in a product or its environment and help pharma companies to act upon these changes. Sensor-equipped smart packaging in the pharma industry can help track a product along the supply chain to the end-user.

There is no doubt these are exciting times in the pharmaceutical industry with advanced techniques such as smart packaging underway. But is your business prepared to accommodate these trends? Request a free proposal to know how our experts can help you best prepare for the changing market trends.

Benefits of smart packaging in the pharma industry

smart packagingTemperature control

If medicines are not stored at the right temperature, it can not only lead to product damage but can also prove to be dangerous for consumption. With smart packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical industry, it is now possible to create labels informing about a product’s temperature during the shipping process and storage. This helps doctors, pharmacists or patients to determine whether the drugs are safe to take or not.

Adhering to medication

Smart packaging for pharma products is a great way of reminding patients about adhering to the prescription. NFC tags used in smart packaging provide patients with enough information so that they know they are using the drug as intended. The information is often delivered in an interactive way on the patient’s smartphones, for instance via video.

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Stock control

Smart packaging will be beneficial for pharma companies to keep tabs on their stock and manage their inventory levels better. The sensors in smart packaging allows companies to check the stock level available with them and adjust the production and supply accordingly to prevent situations of understocking or overstocking.

Enhances clinical trials

Smart packaging solutions for clinical trials are largely focused on patient compliance and engagement. Sometimes, during a clinical trial, enrolled patients typically need to maintain records that document their drug administration. Many don’t take the time to do that real-time and, as a result, their data is subject to error. Smart packaging aims to avoid such errors by notifying the patients to take the medicine on time and recording the exact time that the medicine was consumed.

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Four Food Industry Trends to Expect in 2019

The food industry is rapidly evolving. Apart from staying on top of the emerging technologies and innovations, companies in the food industry must also keep a close watch on the changing consumer preferences and rising costs. Globally, the food industry in emerging markets including Philippines, China, and Malaysia are booming, while more established and mature market such as the US, Europe, and Canada are showing stagnant and slower levels of growth. There are similar macro trends that are driving growth and innovation across the globe despite varying economic and cultural differences. Infiniti Research reveals four food industry trends to expect in 2019 as this sector grapples with changing eating habits.

Food industry trends 2019      

Increasing demand for transparency

One of the biggest food industry trends this year is the rising consumer need for transparency. Modern consumers are well-informed and greatly interested in knowing the ingredients that go into the food products that they consume. Considering the rise of health and diet conscious customers, a greater number of consumers are reading the back of packages now more than ever.

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At-home meals

Recent research reveals food industry trends wherein a greater number of consumers prefer to have their meals delivered to their homes. This is primarily due to factors including streaming media, work from home, and rising need to stay away from the maddening crowd. Consequently, through the mid of 2018 to throughout 2019, the decline in dining at restaurants is expected to become one of the ongoing food industry trends.

Made to order/ customization

This is one of the food industry trends that have been evolving for years due to the growing demand of consumers to personalize the meals that they eat. Furthermore, the dietary preferences, restrictions, and allergic reactions to certain food items are some of the main factors that are driving the popularity of customization in meals to suit the needs of individual consumers.

Channel blur

An increasingly diverse array of operators in the food industry are venturing into foodservice in order to compete for their “share of stomach”. Players in the food industry no longer compete with only counterparts offering similar products. Rather, they now have to compete with segments including food trucks, convenience stores, supermarkets, and other meal kits that provide innovative options for consumers who are looking for variety and flexibility.

What were the top food industry trends in 2018?

Infiniti’s solutions for the food industry

In a highly dynamic sector such as the food industry, it is essential to keep tabs on the food industry trends. Furthermore, the uncertainties in the global economy are expected to take the center-stage in the future of food industry. Infiniti Research adopts a holistic approach to market research and provides comprehensive insights into the food industry trends, challenges, and strategies to strive in the target market. With a team of highly skilled market research professionals, we offer advanced, customized solutions that will help food and beverage companies to magnify competitive advantage by improving speed-to-market and stay up-to-date with the latest food industry trends.

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The Future of Sustainable Food Packaging

Your food delivery arrives at your door! All the contents are in a huge plastic bag. Inside, there’s pizza packed using paperboard which is supported by plastic-made pizza tables. Also, there are noodles packed in a paper box. They have provided multiple mini ketchup sachets packed using plastic. Then, single-use plastic spoon and fork, which is wrapped in plastic. So much waste for a single delivery. Now imagine the amount of packaging waste produced all across the world. Estimates suggest that by 2050, our ocean will have more plastic than fishes. To avoid such a situation, numerous companies are working on a packaging solution which is sustainable or biodegradable and won’t end up in our ocean. The world has seen numerous innovations in terms of sustainable food packaging since most countries are now focusing more on sustainability to reduce their carbon footprint. Keeping this trend in mind, this blog shortlists some of the key developments that will have a huge impact on the future of sustainable food packaging? 

Future of sustainable and biodegradable food packaging

Algae water bottle

It may be surprising, but yes, the cost of the plastic used for packaging the water is costlier than the water itself. Even more surprising is that the bottles that cover the landfills take 1,000 years to decompose and half of it is only used once.  Icelandic product designer Ari Jónsson took the matter into his own hands and came up with a biodegradable water bottle made from algae. The wobbly jelly-like bottle retains its unique shape until its empty, after which it begins to break down. The good part is, consumers can even chew and eat the bottle. Additionally, the bottle also has the property to keep water cool, even in hot weather.Request Free Proposal

Oil package

Researchers are exploring the possibility of using a package made of caramelized sugar, coated with wax. It can be cracked open like an egg, after which the wax no longer protects the sugar and the package finally melts when it comes in contact with water. Such a packaging is useful for oil-based food.

Edible Films

An edible film is a thin layer, which acts as a barrier between food and the surrounding environment, and can be consumed. The edible film can be used to prolong the shelf life of the food and protect it from microorganisms. Such films are made from starch, and natural additives can be used to enhance the taste of the packaging. For instance, spicy curry or pepper can be added to enhance the flavor of the packaging material. Such films can come as a boon for sticky food such as toffee, which sticks to paper packaging. In such a case, edible films can be used to package the toffee. It can also be used to coat meat, fish, oily foods, and instant noodles.

Bioplastics

Sometimes, there isn’t any substitute as good as plastic for food packaging. Plastics are very useful for oily food or food that can spill. Bioplastics borrow similar properties of plastic and place a minimal strain on earth. Microorganisms in the environment can metabolize and break down the structure of the biodegradable plastic. Such plastics are made from all-natural plant materials such as corn oil, orange peels, starch, and plants. It does not contain any harmful chemical as traditional plastic. All plant based materials are melted down and poured into molds of various food packaging shapes.

Biodegradable take-out food containers

Styrofoam and polystyrene are the most commonly used material for take-out containers. However, it is possible that chemicals in the polystyrene can actually leak into the food. Millions of such containers are thrown away every year. A company named Styrophobia makes compostable and biodegradable containers that can be used for food packaging in an environmentally friendly manner.


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Are you Overspending on Your Packaging? Know the Factors That Affect Packaging Costs

Packaging has become an indispensable part of product marketing. For some products, packaging just steals the limelight away from the product; whereas, for others, it adds to the user experience. Packaging for business purpose serves different functionality, where it is more about preserving the content for throughout the supply chain rather than attracting the customer. With a lot of emphases placed on the main product itself, one can easily ignore the packaging costs. People may often feel that the packaging cost is insignificant. Although sometimes, the cost can well exceed the price of the product itself. For instance, a shower gel can cost about 10p to manufacture with the bottle itself costing three times more at around 30p. It is important to control such wasteful packaging, as it not only increases the overall price but also burdens the environment by creating waste. So it is important to be well-versed Request Free Proposalwith the cost of packaging and what factors affect the final price.

Factors affecting the packaging costs

Product sensitivity and specification

It is perhaps one of the most obvious factors affecting the cost of packaging. The more sensitive the product is, the more manufacturers have to spend on packaging. There’s a direct correlation between the fragility of the product and the final packaging price. For instance, fragile products will have to be wrapped in bubble wrap, padded with thermocol, and finally be sealed inside the corrugated boxes. As a result, the packaging cost can skyrocket. Additionally, larger product will also require more packaging materials and consequently impose a higher packaging cost.

Role in supply chain

Apart from the sensitivity of the product, the packaging cost also depends on its role in the supply chain. It is essential to consider how the product moves through the supply chain, what kind of environment it will face, and the type of handling it will experience. For instance, products that go through courier networks will change hands multiple times, and it will go through numerous distribution centers, vans, and lorries. The product might be exposed to different settings and forces including impact and vibration. If the product is shipped directly to the customer, then it can do away with all those extra packagings, where primary packaging itself might be sufficient.

Packaging complexity

Apart from the materials used in the packaging to protect the items, several other factors may complicate the packaging. For instance, a simple cardboard box may have different die cut inside, which requires complicated assembly. Sometimes such elaborate packaging needs humans to fix the packaging as packaging machines might only be capable of performing simple cuts. Although complex packaging wows the consumers, it does add to the packaging cost as it requires more manual hand work. Take beer case packaging, for example, a simple beer box case is easy to package and can be done by machines itself. But for wrapping a six-pack with the handle it requires manual work which not only consumes time but also drives up the cost.

Order volumes

Its common sense by now that whenever items are bought in bulk, the cost per item will lower significantly. The same principle applies to packaging while ordering in large volumes as well. The reduction in cost is realized due to multiple factors such as lower machine setup time, seamless manufacturing process, less manual tasks, and ease in storage and shipping needs.

Marketing costs

Finally, companies need to consider the role of packaging in the product’s marketing. For economical products, price may be the selling point, but for luxury products packaging needs to be elaborate. For instance, the cost will significantly increase when using multi-color print in the corrugated boxes instead of single-color black print. Additionally, using matte plastic over shiny ones will also incur extra cost.

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Top Trends in the Industrial Packaging Market

Industrial packaging widely differs from consumer packaging in terms of shape, size, and functionality. The global industrial packaging market is a multi-billion-dollar market, driven by key industries such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, lubricants, food and beverages, and construction industries. Industrial packaging often includes packaging to protect large parts or machinery, big cartons, corrugated boxes, plastic or fiber drums, protective films, wooden boxes, and specialized pallets. Industrial packaging functions as a protective barrier, controls release ofIR_Brochure hazardous materials, and provides information of content inside. It is essential that industrial packaging material be as lightweight as possible because any additional weight will add to the shipping, moving, and transportation costs.

Trends in the industrial packaging market

Recycling

A majority of the manufacturing companies generate huge amounts of toxic and non-toxic waste. A significant part of such waste is composed of packaging waste. Such packaging waste can be easily avoided by using materials that are biodegradable or recyclable. Numerous legislations have called for increasing the 3Rs principle – reduce, reuse, and recycle in the industrial packaging market. Reusing the packaging material prolongs not only the product lifecycle but also decreases the overall packaging cost. Many industrial packaging items such as wooden boxes, fiber drums, and specialized pallets can easily be reused. Also, the recycling trend has been on the rise mostly in the steel industry, as many studies have proven the process to have a minimal environmental impact. The metal packaging industry is also increasing its effort to recycle the packaging material as metals can maintain strength through successive stages of recycling.

Optimal pack shape

The shape of the pack also plays a crucial role in determining the total logistics and distribution cost, as most freight companies calculate the shipping cost based on volumetric weight. Optimizing the pack shape to occupy minimal shape can save considerable costs in the volumetric weight calculation process. For instance, manufacturers are favoring the cubic shape instead of the cylindrical shape of steel or plastic drum due to savings in space. Also, rectangular-shaped rigid IBCs enables the containers to be packed closely together leaving fewer gaps and increasing the total amount of cargo that can be transported in a single trip.

Downgauging

Players in the industrial packaging market have been increasing their sustainability efforts to focus on downgauging or material reduction. Research teams have been continually improving the packaging performance despite using fewer materials. For instance, engineers have been able to reduce the overall weight of a plastic drum by about 70% compared to 1970s. Engineers have also been able to replicate similar weight reductions in steel drums. Also, advancements in technology have reduced the average weight of multiwall paper sacks used in construction industry without sacrificing performance or strength. Such act reduces the transportation and logistics cost and eases material handling as well.

Safety

The players in the industrial packaging market are continually struggling to maintain a balance between controlling packaging waste and creating packaging material that provide the required strength and performance. Such decision making becomes even more critical when they are dealing with hazardous materials. To ensure minimal waste, international bodies such as the United Nations are taking the matter into their own hands by publishing an Orange book on the transport of dangerous goods.

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Watch Out for These Challenges While Making Food Packaging Decisions

Many companies are giving extra emphasis on procuring better food packaging supplies since it is one of the most important factors that initially attracts a customer towards the product. This is one of the major reasons why food packaging companies must take into account these key food packaging challenges while takiIR_Brochureng packaging decisions.

Let’s take a look at some of the major food packaging challenges: faced by food suppliers globally:

 

One Touch Access to Information

The Internet has made the world smarter by making information available at the click of a button.However, this can pose a serious challenge for food packaging manufacturers because the customers can easily research on factors such as different types of packaging, the ingredient information of any item, the quality standards, etc. This makes it important for food packaging companies to provide accurate information to customers and the best quality of products to retain a customer’s faith in the brand.

One World One Food

Food products are no longer restricted to a single country or community. Today, most of the people eat food products that have been grown or processed in different parts of the world. The idea of trying out various types of food from different parts of the globe has become highly popular especially among the millennials. Thus, food packaging companies must ensure that they are equipped with sturdy food packaging supplies that prevent the food from any damage or loss of freshness during its transportation.

An Eye for Aesthetics

Take any industry for instance; one common thing is that there is no shortage of competition. This rising competition gives the customers ample options to choose from. One of the major food packaging challenges faced by companies is to differentiate themselves from their competitors. This can be attained with the aid of unique and attractive packaging designs, which help a customer to relate to the brand easily. Companies can also resort to procuring hybrid food packaging supplies that are highly beneficial in terms of shelf-presence, functionality, and environmental benefits.

The “Go-Green” Revolution

Humanity is becoming more concerned about the planet’s depleting resources, which has called for collective awareness and action toward being environment-friendly. The packaging companies are now expected to use “green” food packaging supplies that can be easily decomposed or recycled. This could be one of the serious food packaging challenges for companies because they have to ensure that the eco-friendly packaging does not get compromised while protecting food items.

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