Smart packaging is all the rage these days, and it’s easy to see why. These features provide both consumers and companies with valuable insights about products and shipments. So get ahead of the curve by learning all about smart packaging with this insightful guide: 

What Is Smart Packaging?

Smart packaging utilizes technological components to provide information about products being shipped. Smart packaging can also help protect products through the information it is able to gather. 

At the end of the day, smart packaging does more than simply house and protect products during shipping. However, what smart packaging actually does depends on the type of technology involved. 

What Are the 3 Different Types of Smart Packaging?

There are three different types of smart packaging that use different technologies for different purposes: intelligent packaging, active packaging, and connected packaging. 

Here’s what you need to know about each of these types: 

1. Intelligent Packaging

Intelligent packaging is typically used within the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries. These industries, in particular, benefit from intelligent packaging components such as sensors that are able to monitor packaging temperatures. Being able to monitor packaging temperatures helps ensure the freshness and safety of products. 

For instance, if food items go above a certain temperature, they may be considered spoiled and unsafe to eat. Consider refrigerated food items, for example that must be kept below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if the consumer doesn’t know this and consumes the products anyway, they could get sick. 

Some pharmaceutical products must also be kept below a certain temperature to ensure the effectiveness of the medication. Humira, for example, is a popular drug that’s used to treat a wide range of inflammatory disorders. However, Humira must be refrigerated at temperatures between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, or else the drug may not work as intended. 

2. Active Packaging

Active packaging takes intelligent packaging to the next level with components that are able to react with its contents based on different conditions. Active packaging mechanisms include light filtering materials, oxygen and ethylene absorbers, antimicrobial surface coating, and moisture-regulating materials. 

All of these different components can help maintain and preserve package contents by improving shelf life and overall product quality throughout the shipping process. 

3. Connected Packaging

Unlike active packaging and intelligent packaging, connected packaging isn’t limited to food and beverage products. Instead, this type of packaging can be used to transport all sorts of different retail products. Companies in all industries selling various types of products can all benefit from utilizing connected packaging. 

Connected packaging involves printing a special code on the packaging itself to provide the consumer with exclusive content and collectible items. Oftentimes, these codes have high activation rates and can increase website engagement, downloads, and even sales. 

Just make sure that the codes are easy to use while actually providing value to the consumer. 

Why Use Smart Packaging?

While smart packaging may sound unnecessary and expensive, it’s actually quite beneficial and can even save you money at the end of the day. Here are some specific reasons why you should consider using Box Genie smart packaging

  • Quality control: Smart packaging is beneficial for quality control purposes. The information monitored by smart packaging mechanisms ensures that products stay safe and fresh throughout their journey. 
  • Traceability: Smart packaging can also be easily tracked, so the gathered information can be used to learn about the products and shipping process to improve procedures. 
  • Transparency: Smart packaging offers a level of transparency that consumers are increasingly demanding from corporations. The information gathered by smart packaging components can be provided to consumers looking for pertinent information on product sourcing and manufacturing. 
  • Customer service: Smart packaging can provide higher levels of customer service and engagement. Thanks to smart packaging codes, customers can learn more about the specific product when they receive it. They’re also able to engage with your brand through these codes to improve brand loyalty in the process. 
  • Safety and security: Smart packaging can be used to prevent instances of theft, substitution, and counterfeiting. Not only does this save you money, but it also helps preserve a brand image that these issues can easily damage. 

How to Use Smart Packaging?

If you’re sold on the benefits of smart packaging and are looking to use it for your own products, here’s what you need to do to start using it for yourself: 

  1. Consider your products. If you’re in the food and beverage industry, then you could definitely benefit from intelligent or active packaging. If you’re in another industry, then you could still benefit from using smart packaging by using connected packaging components. Consider which smart packaging features would work best with the products you’re selling. 
  2. Consider your customers. Think about which smart packaging features your customers would want to see. For instance, thanks to intelligent packaging features, most customers would feel more at ease knowing that their refrigerated shipments are 100% safe to eat. Other customers might like to see more accountability from companies. A great way to do this is to incorporate smart packaging features to provide them with the information they’re looking for. 
  3. Consider your brand. If you want your brand to be considered tech-savvy, then you may want to use smart packaging. If your products have all the best technological features, why should your packaging be any different? Incorporating technology into your packaging is a great way to establish and promote your brand image. 

With these considerations in mind, it’s time to move on to implementation. There are two different phases: Physical integration and digital integration. 

Physical integration involves physically placing these smart packaging features onto the actual packages. Digital integration involves digitally processing and tracking the information gathered and transmitted by these smart packaging features. 

This may not be an easy process and there may be a learning curve involved, but it will be well worth it. 

The Future of Smart Packaging?

Technology in all fields is constantly evolving — and smart packaging is no different. So what’s the future of smart packaging, and how can you keep up with the latest advancements? 

The future of smart packaging definitely looks bright. Sales of smart packaging mechanisms grew from $4.95 billion to $6 billion between 2015 to 2019, with an average annual growth rate of 5.1%. 

Experts estimate that the smart packaging industry will grow to $8.6 billion between 2020 and 2025, with an average annual growth rate of 6.4%. 

As it stands right now, the biggest barrier to implementing smart packaging features relates to cost. The good news is that as technology advances, costs will decrease, and these features will become more accessible to all sorts of companies — big and small. 

So even if you’re not quite ready to utilize smart packaging right away, this is definitely an area that you should continue to monitor and research so that you can jump right in when you’re ready. 

Final Thoughts on Smart Packaging

For all your smart packaging needs, check out Box Genie! Box Genie offers a wide range of different packaging products that can be designed especially for your brand. 

If you aren’t sure what your packaging should look like, feel free to reach out to our experts, who can help guide you. 



  1. The Smart Packaging: Packaging of the Future | Medium
  2. Active and Intelligent Packaging = Longer Shelf Life | Institute of Food Technologies
  3. CPG Brands Are Looking to Connected Packaging to Connect With Consumers | Forbes

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