Multiple technologies are enabling brands to connect physical packaging to the virtual world.

Connected packaging is seeing renewed interest, driven by growth in ownership of connected devices worldwide and advancement in technologies that can link packaging to the online world. Brands today have a wealth of options to connect virtually with packaging, including QR codes and other graphic markers, near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), bluetooth, and augmented reality (AR). Mintel does an analysis of the possibilities that these devices offer and cosmetics br selects here these possibilities for the cosmetic sector.

As marcas de hoje têm várias opções para se conectar virtualmente com embalagens, incluindo códigos QR e outros marcadores gráficos, comunicação de campo (NFC), identificação por radiofreqüência (RFID), bluetooth e realidade aumentada (AR).

Connected packaging creates a marketing opportunity, bringing the engagement and interaction of the online world to the customer, potentially influencing and driving the purchase.

At home, these connections can increase brand engagement, increase product usage, and add an experimental element to product interactions.

Connected packaging can allow differentiation of a product from its competitors on store shelves. Not only does this extend the potential for communicating product attributes, but linking consumers to an online space can create a direct connection to shoppers handling the product.

Connected packaging also offers significant data collection benefits.  Many consumers are willing to share their information when accessing online content, enabling brands, and the agencies they work with, to track consumer-pack interaction in real time. This can be used in a number of ways; for example to build consumer profiles, measure campaign performance or to provide real-time feedback on marketing activities.

Connected packaging can be used to build the brand story, provide specific product information and deliver promotional offers and discounts.


QR codes and other digital markers

Digital markers are printed patterns that can activate an action, such as opening a webpage on a smartphone.

QR codes are the most well known digital markers, however, many brands or service providers have created their own proprietary markers. These include Snapchat’s Snapcodes, Amazon’s SmileCodes, Coca-Cola’s sip & scan marks and Spotify Codes to name a few.

Of all these digital codes, it is QR codes that have become the most widespread. In 2018, Asia Pacific had the highest regional use of QR codes on consumer packaged goods (CPG) launches. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), almost 9% of all CPG launches in Asia Pacific featured a QR code, while 5% occured in Europe. However, poor use of QR codes, including a lack of on-pack signposting and lack of consumer benefit/engagement, risks giving QR codes a poor reputation.


Near field communication

Near Field Communication (NFC) is a simple tag that can be incorporated into packaging. By tapping an NFC-enabled pack with a smartphone, the consumer can launch branded content such as videos, or simply be directed to product information. A benefit of NFC tags is that there is no need for the consumer to download a specific app to their phone.
Each NFC-enabled tag integrated into product packaging has a unique ID. This enables product tracking and authentication and allows interactions with a single consumer. Delivered content can be used to build brand loyalty and be linked to e-commerce capabilities, such
as enabling re-purchase.



Augmented reality

The use of packaging-directed augmented reality (AR) allows brands to position the pack directly within a consumer’s real world experience. AR has the potential to provide instructional guidance; for example, demonstrating functional packaging attributes can provide a way to compare products for the shopper and aid the purchase decision.
However, most examples of AR on CPG packaging have been used to provide fun, interactive experiences.
This aligns with Mintel Trend, ‘Play Ethic’, suggesting adult life is becoming busier and down-time is becoming increasingly squeezed. With less leisure time available, consumers are devoting free time towards fun, playful and even juvenile pursuits.

Connected packaging can be the link between physical and digital shopping worlds, giving brands a route to some control over how the brand and product is viewed online, as well as being able to deliver engaging content and product-specific information to directly influence purchasing decisions.

Consumers have been recycling some packaging for years. But they are now demanding the ability to recycle more and to understand how recycling really works.

During the past year, proclamations by brands and converters touting commitment to 100% recyclable materials or packaging that is 100%
recycled have dominated industry headlines. The reality that few have yet to fully consider is how, where and who will be supplying and
recycling these materials.

These are simple questions that don’t have definitive answers. Though recyclable packaging claims have become common, claims to include recycled content are still rare.  Low availability of high-quality recycled plastic and concerns over food safety are hampering
the use of recycled material in food and drink. Brands have opportunities to meet consumer demands for more recyclable packaging.
While eco-responsible packaging can be complex to engineer, the way in which that responsibility is communicated to consumers on-pack must be simple, straightforward, and actionable.

Recycling may be second nature to some, but the inconvenience of cleaning and sorting waste for recycling is a barrier for others.
In response, an increasing number of schemes are aiming to reward recycling behaviour. For example, in Turkey, commuters can trade empty bottles for credit on Istanbul Cards, the city’s travel card. In the UK, motorists receive a 20p parking voucher for every bottle they bring to the CitiPark in Leeds.

Greater clarity on which parts of food packaging can be recycled is the top factor that would encourage consumers to recycle more frequently. Just 27% of global new beauty and personal care launches in 2017 featured an environmentally friendly packaging claim, with recyclable packaging accounting for only part of this (drink 27%, food 9%).

Food packs that are made of several different component materials are widespread, making them difficult or impossible to recycle fully. While some products show a simple breakdown of which parts of packaging are recyclable, this is not universal. Products that are more vocal about how easy they are to recycle should win the loyalty of consumers by presenting a more proactive and environmentally responsible image.

Re-engineered recycling

Recognising the lack of domestic recycling infrastructure, the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Plastics Division has announced new plastic resin producer targets with the aim of recycling or recovering all plastic packaging used in the US by 2040.

Development of a new polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin that can be extrusion blow-molded on shuttle machines allowed Coca-
Cola’s 89oz Simply Orange’s bottle to switch materials from hard-to-recycle materials to the widely-accepted PET.

High-quality recycled content a reality

OceanBound Plastic’s Envision has organised a special collection of plastics within 50 kilometers of coast lines that lie along known at-risk areas for marine debris.

Its first customer, ViTA, is using the 100% recycled plastic for its haircare products. This disproves the long-held theory that recycled resin is low-quality and can only be used in small percentages.

The resin used in the master batch also carries the colourant, a key attribute for beauty and personal care packaging.

Water usage in the recycling and converting process is extremely limited and kept solvent-free so that it can be repurposed as grey water for landscape irrigation.

Envision also works to ensure the distance between manufacturers and warehousing is calculated precisely and used in a proprietary scoring system to best choose manufacturing partners for the lowest possible carbon emissions.

From an environmental perspective, e-commerce is already a catalyst for new ideas in sustainable design.

While consumers currently prefer to buy groceries in-store instead of online, the convenience of buying clothing, electronics, and even beauty and personal care items online will eventually spill over into food, drink, and household products. That is exactly why packaging that meets the demands of e-commerce shipping channels must be designed and commercialised now.

Livre de Plástico

As the scale of marine litter grows, there is now a growing consensus around the need for different attitudes to the material. In the UK, plastic pollution has become the most pressing environmental concern, cited by 47% of UK adults as the most important environmental issue.

While the term ‘plastic-free’ may appear to be a simple one, there is no universal definition. For example, the lack of definition has allowed

Dutch organic supermarket chain, Ekoplaza to include cellulose-based plastics within its plastic-free aisle. Cellulose-based plastic (usually cellulose acetate) is biobased (made from plants) and biodegradeable, suggesting that the ‘right’ kind of plastic may find a ready place in plastic-free aisles and stores.

New opportunities such as plastic-free aisles, packagefree stores and alternative pack materials allow consumers to actively make choices
about the plastic that is put out in the world.

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