i2live: Future of packaging includes more use of electronics, better barrier packs to prevent food waste, nanotechnology and improved digital print, says Packaging Society UK Chairman Keith Barnes

LOS ANGELES , June 27, 2013 () – Take an hour a week to brainstorm with colleagues on packaging innovations -- this was some of the advice offered by chairman of The Packaging Society UK Keith Barnes in a June 26 i2live event entitled, “Looking into Packaging’s Future.”

In his presentation, Barnes covered innovations, packaging machinery, design, printing and the future of the industry, among other topics. Excerpts of his comments, insights and predictions on the future of packaging are below:

Future of Packaging:

More use of IT/electronics on packaging:
“QR codes are coming to the fore more and more. If you go and get a normal trolley of your local shop, you’ll probably find 50% of it has QR codes on it … There are a number of companies that all work together on electronics and smart materials in packaging. Already one is seeing packages where by moving certain things, lights will flash on. This may be a flippant way to use a package, but if it gets its message across and it gets more people to buy the product, then the marketing side of the company will be delighted. There is a consumer drink for discos and clubs where by lifting it, it will start flashing, and I can see people really going mad for such a thing and saying, ‘I got to have that.’ And I do recall there were tissues in a package where when you pull a tissue out, lights will flicker all around the package and that was in cardboard. It can be used, and it will be used in the future.”

Better barrier packs to prevent food waste:
“This is coming and it has to come because we have to stop food waste, and there are umpteenth developments going on in universities and all over the world for this.”

Alternative materials for aid to poorer countries:
“One can get alternative materials to the standard tree, wood or pulp, and these could be products such as sisal, even hemp, that would be capable of growing in bad lands, such as the heat of South Africa or South America, where local tribes are desperate for work. This would give them work, it would give them revenue, it would give them alternative materials and it would help the environment. This is another way we in the packaging world can move forward and help the emerging world.”

Continuing progress of digital print:
“Digital print will be taking a vast step forward in the near future through the new nanographics from Benny Landa … and I suspect that by the end of this year and into 2014, we will see new machinery that will blow our minds in the way that digital print will take over more and more of our printing needs.”

Increase in counterfeiting:
“Sadly, this will happen … at the moment, counterfeit cigarette packaging is rife, but if we go to plain packs as they have done in Australia, this will open the door even further for criminals to push their bad products … So watch this space, there will be a lot of anticounterfeiting activities. There are 300 methods of countering fraud, there are organizations in Europe that follow this through.”

Nanotechnology, graphene and BPAs:
“BPAs are creating havoc with the metal packaging industry and are present in a number of plastics in general. France has said that we’re going to ban all this from 2015. We all need to be looking at it. Academia is looking at it, and I’m sure there will be solutions coming up in the future.”

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