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medical packaging

Preparing Medical Packaging for the Circular Economy

Healthcare facilities usually generate about one million tons of clean, non-infectious healthcare plastics every year. This necessitates healthcare providers to find a way to minimize the waste stream and their consequent impact on the environment. Although challenging, a comparatively easy way for healthcare companies to achieve this is through design innovation, process improvement, and material optimization for medical packaging. Furthermore, increasing number of OEMs are expecting their partners to become environmentally responsible. Medical OEMs bidding for contracts must support responsible sourcing decisions, medical packaging recyclability, and identify the use of recycled materials in primary packaging. Some of the top medical device packaging companies are already aligning their operations to this agenda by increasing the emphasis on sustainability of their products. In this article, we have listed out some ways in which companies in the medical packaging industry can drive sustainability in their operations.

In the medical device packaging sector, the ability to innovate proactively with the changing demands is vital. Request a free proposal to know how we help companies in the sector to monitor market changes and undertake agile packaging decision-making.

Collaboration to develop circular economy products

Collaborating with a packaging partner at the earlier stages of the production process itself will help create innovative packaging that is both sustainable as well as serves the purpose of medical packaging. Designers in the medical packaging industry have already started working on ‘green designs’ that aims to reduce the energy use and materials required for production. Tools like design and package integrity simulation allows medical packaging companies to decide in the concept stage itself about the choice of design and how it will impact the performance of the package. This gives more confidence to medical packaging companies to go ahead with the prototyping and manufacturing stages.

Cost-saving transportation and logistics

Waste minimization in the medical packaging industry can not only be achieved by rethinking the packaging materials but also through planning the transportation costs and controlling CO2 emissions. Simulation tools can help medical packaging companies to lower their transportation and logistics costs.  By adopting strategies such as bulk freight shipment, medical packaging companies can reduce the impact of packaging on the environment and thereby reduces the transportation or inventory cost incurred by the company.

Want to know how your business can engage in sustainable practices while not hampering your profit margins? Get in touch with an expert for detailed insights.

Education and training on recycling programs

With the increased awareness around sustainability in medical packaging, there is a need for education and training programs to create awareness on reusing and recycling. Several medical packaging manufacturers are working with medical device OEMs to recover more plastic and divert it back into the circular economy. The rising concern over the environment necessitates medical packaging manufacturers to perform detailed assessments of healthcare plastics use through pilot programs and establish an appropriate recycling process for clinical settings.

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smart packaging

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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Industrial packaging

Using Smart Packaging to Tackle Business Challenges – How the Market Leaders Are Doing it

Smart packaging is still evolving, but we cannot completely ignore its importance. Agile businesses are looking at packaging as a possible holistic solution to transform the way they deliver, sell, and use products. Innovative smart packaging applications are being embraced by market leaders across industries who are trying to leverage the benefits of smart packaging solutions to enhance their operations and at the same time provide an unparalleled customer experience. In this blog, experts at Infiniti explore how top companies are using smart packaging to overcome some key business issues.

Our analysis of the packaging space suggests that the different applications are arriving in waves. Is your business prepared for such transformations? Request a free proposal to know how we can help you stay updated with the latest trends and innovations in your industry.

How businesses can benefit from smart packaging

smart packagingInventory and lifecycle management

Smart packaging can provide solutions to common supply chain challenges including sourcing raw materials from suppliers, managing the supply chain, and delivering products to the final customer. With smart packaging solutions, companies can gain real-time ability to track and trace the exact product location in the production and distribution cycle. It also offers benefits including agility, quality and safety, and sustainability.

Protection against internal and external threats

Packaging of a product often acts as a valuable layer of defense against both internal and external threats affecting the product integrity. In the food retail industry alone close to 30% of food products are known to be discarded due to spoilage. Smart packaging can help avoid such counterfeits and combat excessive losses for companies. By using advanced technologies such as blockchain, brands can create a secure, unalterable record of a product’s origin as well as the path to market.

Smart packaging offers significant opportunities and a real risk of disruption. Get in touch with our experts to know more about our solutions for more insights on what your business needs to know before implementing smart packaging solutions.

Enhance user experience

Using packaging, brands can enhance user satisfaction by making the use of the product more engaging, efficient, or informative, as well as by providing valuable consumer insights to brand owners and retailers. Companies can earn greater brand loyalty by using innovations in smart packaging to lure more customers. For instance, some brands are even using technologies such as AR-based apps to transform the customer experience through packaging.

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Packaging industry trends

Investing in the North American Packaging Market: Key Packaging Industry Trends Poised to Take Off

North America remains the global leader in the packaging industry right now. Although the North American packaging market faced a brief dip in 2009, the sector has seen steady growth over the past couple of years. However, new packaging industry trends such as the rising need for eco-friendly and sustainable solutions are posing new challenges for companies in the sector. Also, China is poised to become a packaging industry major by 2020, and together with other markets in Asia, it will remain the industry’s top growth engine alongside North America. While this shift is notable, North America’s relevance in the global packaging market remains substantial due to its size and rate of innovation. The largest end-user segment of the North American packaging sector is food, while the fastest is projected to come from healthcare and cosmetics, closely similar to the global packaging industry trends. This blog provides a packaging industry overview in North America, highlighting the key packaging industry trends that investor and companies can expect to see.

Planning to invest in the packaging sector? Request a free proposal to gain insights into the key packaging industry trends, challenges, and opportunities in different markets.

North American Packaging industry trends

Impressive growth in Mexico

Mexico is predicted to have the highest packaging industry growth among the three North American countries. One of the key packaging industry segments that is expected to show positive growth in Mexico is the soft drink beverage packaging that meets the needs of customers seeking both versatility and sophistication from their packaging.

Success of rigid plastic packaging

Packaging industry trends such as rigid plastic packaging is forecasted to show steady growth in the North American packaging market and will experience the highest growth rates across plastics. Furthermore, PE and PET will remain the main plastics used for consumer manufacturing.

Paperboard to lead market share

Paperboard is one of the notable packaging industry trends that suffered a steeper decline than most other packaging materials during the recession, especially in the US. However, it has recovered quickly and returned to pre-crisis levels. In the North American packaging market, paperboard holds the largest share of packaging consumption. Corrugated packaging claims the largest share of the North American paperboard packaging sales.

Companies often tend to overlook the key packaging industry trends and challenges that can have a significant impact on their business. Get in touch with our experts to know how our solutions can help you stay updated and engage in making the right business decisions.

Recovery of industrial sectors

The North America economy is greatly affected by uncertainties. This also includes the impact of the European economic crisis and political uncertainty in oil-exporting countries. The US has also been significantly affected by falling real estate values and difficulties in securing financing for future investments. However, the industrial segments have been in recovery since a sharp downturn in demand a decade ago. Real estate values are now also starting to show recovery. The proliferation of several innovative packaging industry trends and growth of the packaging sector can be expected in the next few years.

Retail-ready packaging

Packaging industry trends such as retail-ready packaging provides an attractive structure as well as advertises a product. It refers to packaging in the form of a self-contained unit that is delivered to a retailer and is immediately ready for on-shelf product display without the need for assembling or unpacking. Such packaging industry trends significantly cuts down on operation costs as the shipping-package is shelf-ready. Retail ready packaging is continuously gaining popularity and traction in North America as a number of retailers consider its implementation and others expand their efforts in the area. This is due to an increased understanding of RRP, and the ever-growing penetration of RRP across categories.

Learn more about the key impact of packaging industry trends in North America on investors and businesses.

healthcare market research

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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Pharmaceutical packaging

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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5 Benefits Brands Can Gain from Smart Packaging

The smart packaging industry is estimated to reach nearly $40 billion by 2020.Thanks to modern companies looking for innovative and sustainable packaging, the demand in the smart packaging market is on the rise. Smart packaging involves a combination of specialized materials, science, and technology, and has the power to reduce food waste, enhance the shelf life of products, reduce loss, damage, waste, and cost in the supply chain. In the pharma industry, it can improve patient compliance and security, as well as help, improve anti-counterfeiting measures. The combination of several tools like brand protection, safety, convenience, and conveying product information, makes smart packaging a powerful tool in the packaging industry. It also has the potential to make a significant contribution towards enhancing the reach of a brand. Here are five ways in which smart packaging benefits companies:Request Free Proposal

Stay relevant

Smart packaging means improved customer interface. Tech-savvy customers use newer forms of media or technology platforms. When brands engage on these platforms, they stand a higher chance of staying relevant in the consumer’s life. Also, it gives the opportunity for companies to connect with their existing as well as potential customers. Brands which do not project themselves as technologically advanced often fail to grab customer attention and also end up being labeled as outdated.

Empowering customers

The smart codes that are embedded on to packages compile more information. This helps consumers in making informed purchase decisions. Additionally, manufacturers can supply information on sourcing, nutritional values, dietary concerns, etc. to the consumer through a QR (Quick Response) code. Advanced technologies in the packaging industry such as RFID (radio-frequency identification), NFC (near-field communication), and smart labels will further empower customers and help brands maintain a loyal customer base in the long run.

Quality control

One of the significant concerns of brands is to enhance the shelf-life of their products.  Smart packaging calibrates itself in accordance with the ambiance outside and inside the package. A popular example is that of color changing plastic that can detect food spoilage and communicate the same to the retailers and consumers. Also, Time Temperature Indicator Plastics help in detecting the loss of quality of the products packed.  Food labels that indicate the state of quality/freshness of the packaged products are the fast-movers from the retail shelves.

 Tracking products

 Several top organizations are leveraging intelligent packaging systems to track products in the supply chain. Smart packaging has made monitoring the quality and detecting loss of quality of the products packed a much simpler process. From tracking supply chains to monitoring customer behavior, smart packaging has now made it possible for the brands to connect, capture, monitor and receive business intelligence.

Increased sustainability

Smart packaging helps reduce the impact of packaging on the environment, opening more sustainable packaging options for brands. Furthermore, it has proven to be economical and cost-effective, giving companies a competitive edge by reduction at source and thereby leaving reduced carbon footprints.


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