When choosing containers to deliver and store products, the most important requirement is the ability to protect the contents from external factors. Therefore, more often than other means, goods manufacturers use corrugated cardboard packaging boxes. However, in some cases, the capabilities of standard packaging are not enough; smart packaging is needed.
Types of smart packaging
The phrase “smart packaging” is a container that can keep products fresh for a long time and reliably protect the cargo from mechanical stress. To do this, a modified or controlled gas environment is formed when packing goods, including oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. The composition of the gas mixture depends on the type of product.
The difference between a controlled and a modified environment lies in the ability of the former to change the composition, allowing the content to “breathe”. Such packaging is used to deliver and sell vegetables, berries, and fruits stored at low temperatures.
The modified atmosphere is unchanged, so bacteria and microorganisms do not multiply inside the package. Such containers are used for transportation and storage of meat and fish products.
In addition, developers offer several types of smart packaging of the future:
- Cryogenic packaging, which is used to cool products to low temperatures. The packaging is highly durable and puncture resistant.
- Packaging for warming up the contents. The material for manufacturing smart containers is heat-resistant polymers; the products are supplemented with a plug and a cord for connection to a power source. This solution allows the consumer to heat the product without having a microwave oven and stove.
- Smart packaging controls the freshness of the contents thanks to sensors that change color when the product’s chemical composition varies. This type of packaging is popular with meat and fish producers, as it demonstrates to potential buyers the freshness of the product and avoids the sale of expired products.
- Packaging for heating in the microwave with a product readiness indicator.
- Chitosan liquid packaging. The authorship of the invention belongs to American scientists; crab shells are used as raw materials for manufacturing the material. Externally, liquid packaging is similar to polyethylene; it can be eaten and disposed of without fear for the environment.
- Membrane packaging made from pH-adjusting polymers. Maintaining the acid-base balance is ensured by a special polymer coating – one membrane has a layer that comes into contact with acids, the other with alkalis.
The listed types of packaging products are by no means a complete list. Every year, the market is replenished with new types of containers – radio tags, tamper-evident mechanisms, a thermometer, and other functions.