The new role of packaging as a digital tool

Digital technologies are rapidly changing the food & beverage industry. Packaging is no longer only about the basics like consumer convenience and product protection; it’s also about connectivity.

Taking advantage of the Tetra Pak® Connected Package platform and unique code printing capabilities, producers can turn their packages into full-scale data carriers. They get increased traceability, more product information and of course, cool new ways to engage with consumers.

The future of packaging is undoubtedly digital and Tetra Pak is fast building digital solutions to help brand owners keep pace with the evolution of industry 4.0.

Scanning QR code on carton package

A look into the future

First came the codified package with a type of bar code that could be scanned, but offered limited connectivity. Then came the connected package, with a unique scannable code printed on each and every carton.

These unique codes make it possible to track and trace the location and history of any product from source to recycling. Rather than reading a message printed on the package itself, now consumers can scan the code with their phones and step into an online world.

In the future, there will also be intelligent packaging and the package will become the centrepiece of the connected value chain. What might that look like?

Imagine you’re deciding what to cook for dinner. One day, the intelligent package will communicate with the smart appliances in your home, such as your fridge. You’ll get instant and accurate information about what’s already in your fridge, how much is left and when it’s going to expire. Based on your previous behaviour, food preferences and favourite recipes, you’ll get suggestions about what to cook. If certain ingredients are missing, you’ll get an automatic suggestion to buy more of them. All this will be time-saving and convenient and will reduce your food waste. The connected solution does everything for you except actually cook the meal!

Given the pace of development in Internet of Things (IoT) and advances in packaging technology, this vision may become a reality sooner than you think!

The connected package today

What is possible with today’s digital technology is the “connected package”. The opportunities are already opening up as more and more manufacturers tap into the connectivity enabled by digitalisation. With a unique scannable code on each package, products are instantly transformed into interactive media channels. Connected package solutions fall into two broad categories: Consumer Engagement. and Track & Trace.

Consumer Engagement solutions

In this instance, the connected package becomes a gateway to exciting new digital experiences for consumers. They can simply scan the code to test the authenticity of a brand or unlock cool marketing campaigns: scan & win promotions, loyalty campaigns, product provenance information and more.

Consumer Engagement gives brand owners a way to break through the noise and interact with their target groups in ways that differentiate their offer, increase loyalty and boost sales. Meanwhile, consumer data can be collected and analysed in real time.

Track & Trace

The unique code will soon also enable end-to-end traceability. The Tetra Pak® Connected Package platform will make it possible to track products throughout the whole value chain - to improve production, quality control and supply chain transparency.

Manufacturers will be able to track and trace the history and location of any product, making it possible to monitor their market performance and spot potential issues. Likewise, retailers will gain greater supply chain visibility and real-time insights, enabling distributors to track stock movements, monitor delivery performance and get alerts when problems arise.

Both hardware and software

Our Consumer Engagement and Track & Trace solutions are supported by the overall Tetra Pak® Connected Package platform – a combination of hardware and software that gives producers what they need to get started and reach the market quickly.

The platform represents an integrated offer for generating and printing unique codes, access to a developer portal and library of APIs, tools for campaign 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 globally available and fully scalable.

With code generation, digital printing and data management at its core, the Connected Package platform-  launched by Tetra Pak and powered by Microsoft’s Azure - brings benefits to food manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike.

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.