Four ways innovation is driving change in the packaging world

Innovation is the process of translating an idea of invention into a process, good or service that creates value for which customers will pay. Innovation is important in manufacturing because it is the bridge to deliver more effective solutions to satisfy your customers needs and wants. To be innovative, businesses need to understand and adopt an innovative mindset and culture. A company’s culture is created daily by what, they themselves as leaders, punish, recognize, celebrate and reward. Innovation starts with the strategic decision to pursue specific types of ideas. (Forbes)

Here are four ways innovation is driving change in the packaging world.

1. Innovation in microelectronics

“Microelectronics packaging involves the use of various engineering and other technologies to incorporate protective features and in built security in the packaging of products… The microelectronics packaging market is gaining importance as it reduces wastage and enhances safety and security, convenience and product differentiation” – Abhishek Budholiya, SatPrNews, October 2017

In May 2015, the Australian sector of a large multi-national pharmaceutical
company was forced to issue a nationwide recall due to evidence that pills had been tampered with and swapped out with other medications. The drug that was swapped out is a brand of diazepam, a strong drug that – without proper education – can be abused and lead to drug dependency. In the future, microelectronics can help ensure the integrity of pharmaceutical and supplement products and protect consumers through tamper-proof and tamper-alert technology.


2. Innovations in personalisation

In a time where everyone wants to be acknowledged for who they are, what they need and what they desire, partnerships like Smart Design Worldwide and Gatorade are taking personalisation to the next level. Gatorade created the smart cap which brings technology and personalisation to bottle caps. “The next frontier of performance is personalised nutrition and integrating technology in sports,” Xavi Cortadellas, Gatorade’s senior director of global innovation and design. (Business Insider)

In the world of professional sports science, analytical measures are important to evaluate outputs and inputs to achieve peak physical performance. The Gatorade bottle, paired with a sweat patch tracks an athletes’ fluid composition by giving direct feedback through lighting on the bottle. It also provides athletes with a new system to customise their fuel. Gatorade also personalises the bottle with custom naming and an athlete number, creating a greater emotional attachment to the product and brand through “self-expression.”

See the full video delivered by Smart Design to understand the innovation behind their Smart Cap:


3. Innovative packaging accessibility

“We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability.” –  Stevie Wonder

A large population of Australians are living with a disability. 3.85 million Australians, or 18% of the total population, are struggling with arthritis. (Source: The Australian Bureau of Statistics) Modern consumers are looking for products that are easy to use and resuse that won’t impede their lifestyle. Easy open packaging is valuable to the flexible packaging industry due to its ease-of-use capabilities and convenience that enables the way the consumer can access the product. (Future Market Insights)

Accessible packaging is not just about innovative technological advancements, but also innovative ideas and solutions to make packaging more efficient. One great example of easy open packaging is the “Universal Plus Bin Liners,” winner of the Pack the Future 2017 Social Benefit award. The bin liners feature a easy opening function that prevents the layers from sticking to one another, as well as tabs that allow consumers to tear off each liner with ease and efficiency.


4. More sustainable materials and manufacturing techniques

There is an increasing demand for light and sustainable packaging solutions that reduce the pressure on the environment and on natural resources. Another packaging design recognised at Pack of the Future 2017 is the Thin Wall Tube by The Albéa Group. The Thin Wall Tube is a tube pack form used primarily in the beauty, personal care, and Over the Counter sectors. The innovative ‘Thin Wall technology’ reduces the sleeve thickness to 350 µm, compared to 500µm standard of the market, and is a more feasible packaging solution due to its reduced thickness. The Thin Wall tube also has a lower weight and therefore, lower carbon footprint compared to a standard tube. All these savings are possible without compromising the quality of the product and the expected use by the final consumer. The final consumer experiences the same use while reducing the pressure on the environment and on natural resources. This is achieved due to innovative advancements in manufacturing processes. (Pack The Future 2017 Report)


As innovations in technology and manufacturing continue to develop, the economic effectiveness becomes more feasible to mass produce for the consumer. Innovation ultimately allows companies to deliver more effective, interesting, sustainable solutions for both retailers, manufacturers and consumers alike. 


Article written in partnership with Caps & Closures. 

Written by Daniel Cheong
Dan is one of Davidson's 'stellar' designers. With a demonstrated history working with the best brands in technology, science, and sport, Dan's passion for identity systems and communications design is backed by heaps of experience.
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