A newly released report from research firm Smithers Pira brings an interesting angle to the flexible packaging and labeling sector. There will be 5 “disruptive technologies” in the packaging sector by 2023.

These include:

1. intelligent (smart) packaging
2. recyclability
3. packaging openability
4. biobased polymers
5. digital printing

Smithers Pira’s Ten-Year Forecast of Disruptive Technologies in Flexible Packaging to 2023 study brings to light these trends, with food and beverage packaging leading the pack in the most trail-blazing applications. The most growth is forecasted to occur in Europe and North America, and emerging markets to expand in Asia, Central America and South America.

Potential labeling growth trends are most likely to occur in the active and intelligent sub-sector. New digital label techniques that are currently high in cost should come down. According to the report: “The deployment of intelligent packaging is expected to become much more frequent with decreasing cost, increasing emphasis on food safety, anti-counterfeiting, new regulations and brand owner/consumer demand. These technologies, particularly together with printed electronics and digital printing, will become more widespread in the years to 2023. This will lead to dramatically expanded perceptions of the function of packaging, beyond the traditional containment, preservation, protection and identification to include a wide range of monitoring, tracking, warning, remediation, authentication, communication and brand protection.”

Recyclability is number two on the list of the most disruptive technologies. For flexible packaging, this is key because of the volume of waste a flexible package generates versus its rigid counterparts. Recyclability of flexible packaging becomes cumbersome, however, due to the varying materials in the film structure and tie layers. According to the report, this is where monolayer packaging could enter the marketplace.

Read more about the report at www.flexpackmag.com/Juneissue

Research compiled by Smithers Pira, www.smitherspira.com

Read this blog and more on Franklin Adhesives’ blog Franklin Connections.