As the war on plastics escalates, this year there will be a greater onus on manufacturers proving their authenticity, transparency and sustainability, predicts Colin Elkins, global industry director for process manufacturing at software provider IFS.
“In 2019, packages, products or shelf tags embedded with near-field communication (NFC) chips will begin to become more common, driven by growing consumer familiarity with contactless payment systems,” Elkins believes. As with its close cousin e-labelling, NFC offers manufacturers huge opportunities, he suggests.
“With counterfeiting in drinks being such a common problem, NFC will initially be driven by food and beverage brands like luxury alcohol,” Elkins says. “But, as with smart labelling and e-labelling, the more products do it, the more cost-effective the technology will become.
“In 2019, we’ll see all three technologies rolling out big changes in mass and top-end brands. More than 1,700 Unilever food, beauty and personal care products already carry smart labels, letting consumers download an app to learn more information about the products, their value and their provenance. And this is only the beginning.”