​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The changing role of packages as digital tools

Digitalisation is changing the role of packaging. The Tetra Pak® Connected Package platform allows food and beverage producers to turn their packages into full-scale data carriers offering increased traceability, product information and cool experiences for consumers.

No longer is packaging only about product protection and functionality – it is about connectivity. The future of packaging is undoubtedly digital and Tetra Pak is busy building digital platforms that will support customers to adapt to the rapid evolution of packaging.

Intelligent packaging

A look into the future

First came the codified package with a bar code or other code that could be scanned, but connectivity was still limited. Then came the connected package, with a unique scannable code printed onto it, different for each pack. This unique code makes it possible to track and trace the location and history of any product from source to recycling. In addition, rather than reading a message printed on the package itself, consumers can use their phones to scan the code and step into a whole new world of interaction.

In the future, there will be intelligent packaging where the package is the centrepiece of the connected value chain.

Imagine an everyday event like trying to decide what to cook for dinner. One day, the intelligent package will communicate with the smart appliances in the home such as the fridge. You will have instant and accurate information on not only the stock of products at home, but also the level of each product remaining and dynamically updated expiry dates. Based on your previous behaviour, food preferences and favourite recipes, you will get suggestions on what would be a good idea to cook to reduce the risk of food waste. And if some ingredients are missing, they can be suggested automatically for replenishment. It will be time-saving, convenient and minimise food waste. All you have to do is prepare the meal!

We are not there yet, but with developments happening fast in the Internet of Things and packaging technology, this may become a reality in a few years.

The connected package today

What is possible with today’s digital technology is the “connected package”. Already the opportunities are opening up as more and more manufacturers tap into the connectivity enabled by digitilisation. With a unique scannable code on each package, products are instantly transformed into interactive media channels. The unique package ID opens up a whole new world of communication via packaging.

Connected package solutions fall into two broad categories: track and trace, and consumer engagement.

Track & Trace: The unique code enables end-to-end traceability. The new Tetra Pak® Connected Package platform will make it possible to track products through the whole value chain to improve production, quality control and supply chain transparency. Manufacturers will have the ability to track and trace the history and location of any product, making it possible to monitor for market performance and any potential issues. Likewise, retailers will gain greater supply chain visibility and real-time insights, enabling distributors to track stock movements, be alerted when issues occur and monitor delivery performance.

Consumer Engagement solutions: The connected package becomes a gateway to exciting new digital product experiences for consumers. Users can simply scan the code to test the authenticity of a brand or unlock cool new product experiences: tailored promotions, loyalty campaigns, product origin stories, quizzes, online games and more. Brand owners can break through the noise and interact with their target groups in ways that differentiate their offer, increase loyalty and boost sales. And all this data can be collected and analysed in real time.

Both hardware and software

These Track & Trace or Consumer Engagement solutions are supported by the overall Tetra Pak® Connected Package platform – a combination of hardware and software that gives customers what they need to get started and a way to reach the market fast. The platform represents an integrated offer for generating unique codes, printing a unique digital ID on every package, ready-to-use mobile apps, tools for data management, and a dashboard for monitoring results in real time.

Designed specifically for the food and beverage industry, the Tetra Pak® Connected Package platform is available around the world and scalable. Driven by the digital trends behind Industry 4.0, and with code generation, digital printing and data management at its core, the Connected Package platform launched by Tetra Pak in June 2019 will bring new benefits to food manufacturers, retailers and consumers thanks to greater connectivity.

Customer case: digital scan & win campaign

A dairy producer in Southern Europe made a milk product that was voted product of the year. Naturally, they wanted to continue to be the consumers’ first choice, but the overall market was declining. It wasn’t enough for the producers to continue doing what they had always done. They needed to be more innovative and reach out to consumers in a fun, interactive way.

​Tetra Pak provided the customer with everything they needed to execute the campaign – from the equipment for codifying packages to the mobile consumer app and campaign management tools. Consumers downloaded the app and used it to scan the printed code on the top of the package, which in turn allowed them to collect points and win prizes.

Using Tetra Pak’s digital dashboard, the customer was able to monitor campaign results in real time.As a result of tracking the performance, the customer was able to make small changes to the app to ensure maximum success for the promotion.

The dashboard showed a total of 17K users – three times the number of consumers the dairy producer would expect to reach with a traditional campaign. Altogether, the users scanned the package 325K times, and product sales increased by 16%. In addition, the number of claims went down – a positive, knock-on effect of real-time monitoring.

Learn more about packages as digital tools?