Intelligent packaging: Attitudes and expectations of retailers

Maria Smolander, Anne Arvola

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference articleScientific


    Intelligent or smart packaging systems monitor the condition of the packaged foods to give information about the quality of the packaged food during transport and storage. Intelligent packaging systems give information on product quality directly (freshness indicators), on the package and its headspace gases (leak indicators) or on the storage conditions of the package (time-temperature indicators). Indicators monitoring the time-temperature history of the product storage are already commercially available. However, these concepts are not yet widely adapted. In order to direct the development of intelligent systems towards concepts that are widely accepted by the whole distribution chain, knowledge about the attitudes and expectations of retailers is needed. Finnish retailers' views towards potential application of intelligent packaging systems were surveyed by VTT Biotechnology. The aim of the study was to explore factors they perceive as benefits or drawbacks in the application of intelligent packaging. The main part of the data consisted of 33 personal interviews producing qualitative information on the application of three types of intelligent packaging systems (time-temperature indicators, leak indicators and freshness indicators) applied either to consumer packages or to packages for retail or institutional kitchens. Retailers' attitudes towards the implementation of intelligent packaging concepts were predominantly positive. These concepts were expected to have a positive effect on the quality and safety of packaged food products. Intelligent packaging concepts were perceived to be most beneficial as additional and complementing aids in the safety management of the retailers. Potential problems were also identified. However most of the respondents did not consider these as major obstacles for implementation. The attitudes towards the use of intelligent systems in consumer packages were more inconsistent. On one hand, consumers were believed to value the information provided by the intelligent systems and these systems were perceived to improve consumer service. On the other hand, intelligent systems were seen potential causes of confusion, interpretation problems and wastage in consumer packages compared to the professional use by the retailing or in the catering services.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2004
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible
    Event3rd International Symposium on Food Packaging
    : Ensuring the Safety, Quality and Traceability of Foods
    - Barcelona, Spain
    Duration: 17 Nov 200419 Nov 2004


    Conference3rd International Symposium on Food Packaging


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