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Printed Electronics World
Posted on September 9, 2004 by  & 

Electronic Smart Packaging

Consolidation in packaging markets

The World's Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) market was worth $3 Trillion last year, growing by 1 to 5% each year. The global packaging market will grow to approxamately $500 Billion in 2008.
North America consumes 33% of this packaging, followed by Western Europe (25%) then ROW. There has been customer consolidation over the past two decades; of 16,000 U.S. food makers, just 20 (including Unilever, Coca-Cola and Nestle) now account for 55% of checkout sales. At the same time, markets are maturing, with volume growth of major US packaged-food companies declining from 2.5% to 1% since 1994. (Source: Morgan Stanley).

Printed Electronics offer compelling benefits

As a result of this, retailers are looking for new brand enhancements and value added features for consumers to ensure their competitive edge in the market, which can be provided through ultra low cost printed electronic circuits.
Further, ultra low cost electronic circuits could address safety challenges in the packaging markets, such as illnesses because food has gone off but the consumer did not know, chemical detectors on post and so on. Pritned electronics are well suited to such applications because the circuits coudl eventually be printed at the same stage as the graphics on the packaging are printed. These applications are assessed below:
Brand enhancements / added value for consumer e.g. flashing, sounding etc packaging
  • Fast route to market
  • Crude electronics can be acceptable (e.g. low frequency, few transistors)
  • Needs to be ultra low cost to be on most packaging
  • Often need customisation and multiple components
  • Imaginative use of electronics could fail
Diagnostics e.g. Food doneness, tilt, shock, air ingress, exposure to light etc
  • Address huge challenges e.g. food related illnesses, detection of anthrax on post etc.
  • Consumers more safety conscious
  • Needs to be ultra low cost
  • Route to market slower but legislation provides some pressure on retailers
The following list prioritises the applications likely to adopt smart packaging first.
1 = Healthcare (Pharmaceutical)
1 = Amusement
2 = FMCG
2 = Foods/retail
3 = Postal
3 = Transport
3 = Warehousing
3 = Military
For more information, read the Electronic Smart Packaging report by IDTechEx.
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