Nowadays packaging has to meet requirements that go far beyond merely protecting a product. To be able to guarantee product quality and to optimize logistics, packaging is provided with more and more smart components. These do not significantly increase the total costs of the packaging but definitely the value. Whilst so-called active components directly influence the product, intelligent elements e.g. monitor its properties.
Active packaging contains e.g. ethylen-absorbing materials that delay the ripening of fruits and vegetables or antibacterial coatings.Intelligent components include sensors that monitor biological processes and inform the costumer directly and easily (via a color change, for instance) about a deterioration of product quality. Also various time-temp indicators for cold chain monitoring or sensors that indicate microbial growth are already on the market or being developed. Other intelligent packaging parts like RFID-chips supplement the conventional bar code and facilitate product tracking and product identification at the supermarket check-out. Highly requested are also intelligent security labels that protect high quality goods from being counterfeited.