A glimpse of the packaging industry’s future

Dekshitha Shridhar, a Rochester Institute of Technology graduate, shares her packaging favourites with Charmiane Alexander

27 Sep 2021 | By Charmiane Alexander

Shridhar: Connected packaging boosts track-and-trace operations at the end-of-line

Packaging concept for the future
Finding greener alternatives and designing packages while keeping the product’s end-of-life in mind.

A package that you fancy the most
The new Samsung TV packaging. Once you’ve assembled the TV, the box can be used to create a range of items such as a nightstand or even a cat house. The corrugated cardboard package comprises a die scoring for ease in cutting and folding. The package also provides an assembly guide for the set-up. 


Packaging factory that WOW-ed you
The United States Postal Service plant. Its automation and packaging lines made it a wonderland. 

Most exciting sustainable substrate
Biodegradable foam and peanuts. The substrate surprises you when measuring the cushion curve. I am a little guilty of eating some while doing the lab research (pun intended). Simply put, any packaging material that can be responsibly recycled, upcycled, refurbished and reused excites me.

Most anticipated packaging invention 
The world’s first recyclable retort pouch for pet food by Amcor and Nestle in Switzerland is going to be a breakthrough invention. It will showcase how packaging structures can be modified. It will set the tone for the future.

Thoughts on responsible recycling
This year’s Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 has provisioned beds made of cardboard for its athletes. These beds can be recycled into paper products later. Quintessential responsible recycling, may not be a packaging prototype, but it’s a beautiful idea. 

Mono-material package examples 
Aptar Group’s fully recyclable pump and Unilever Japan’s PET-based flexible pouch are great examples of mono-material products.

About paper-based packaging
Paper-based laundry detergent bottles have created quite a buzz in the packaging industry. However, the promising solution that I am looking forward to is L’Oréal and Albéa's collaboration for innovative paper-based cosmetic tubes.

Point of view - pandemic and packaging… 
As sanitation and ease of handling have become a top priority for a range of customers and market segments amid the pandemic, it has accelerated a new industry trend, hygienic packaging. The pandemic has also helped the eCommerce industry to grow. All these focus areas are here to stay along with a remodelled supply chain.

In terms of the shop floor, there will be more focus on AI as it helps to control the package quality and substantially increases input efficiency. Like, in the eCommerce companies, this technology will gain acceptance and popularity in other industries, too.

Say on connected packaging
The Tetra Pak smart package, in which consumers were able to participate in a scratch-and-win contest through a unique identification number, is a classic example of connected packaging. Many brands have come up with such contests, it’s a tried and tested method for consumer interaction. Connected packaging not only provides an interactive consumer experience but also boosts track-and-trace operations at the end-of-line. This tracking feature also contributes to a circular economy as it facilitates the extended producer responsibility agendas. 

The boom of eCommerce in India…
Increased media penetration through the internet and the growing Indian economy has boosted online spending. With over a billion parcels delivered every year, there will be innovations in the corrugated box standardisation segment with improved recycling strategies for packaging waste. However, there will be limited growth for plastic packaging in this space because of the single-use plastic ban in India. Hence, there’s a huge scope for innovation here.