Many individuals feel that they can no longer hide behind “bad” genetics but are called to take personal actions. To learn more, I had a talk with Markus Wulff, a digital visionary in piloting and executing smart, interactive products & packaging for major brands such as Absolut, Malibu and Tetra Pak. Markus is convinced that food brands can help consumers lead healthier lives.
DNA tests have become affordable and are aided by consumer-friendly technologies. “Imagine the impact when these technologies are connected to our everyday digital devices, which are in turn connected to packaging!” More affordable services will help identify and determine what we should drink and eat – and what we should avoid. “How can we use that information to make better food choices, Markus wonders? And from the point of view of the food and beverage industry, how can packages and labels help consumers become healthier and less prone to life-style related diseases?”
Studies say that nearly 40 billion devices will be connected to the ‘Internet of Things’ already this year. “I believe”, Markus says, “that in the near future, every package you put into the refrigerator, freezer or pantry will know the details of the food you have at home; its provenance, the current quality of the food vs best-before date, how to mix ingredients to suit your personalized nutritional needs based on your genetics, and what not to - based on their DNA-profiles and nutrition needs.”
Looking at what smart packaging and labels can already do, Markus predicts that labels will be able to have sensors in them like time-temperature indicators, microbial spoilage sensors or indicators, allergen sensors, microbial growth sensors and will be able to interact with our smart homes to be able to minimize food waste.
“For brand owners, this will mean the need to collaborate with retail, appliances and kitchen industries to co-develop packaging and labels. It might also mean closer collaboration with health, design and tech professionals to truly be able to harness the power of labels as an enhancer of health and well-being”, he concludes. It’s an exciting future, according to Markus, one that will see new types of smart labels and packaging seeing the light of day and helping consumers reach their health goals.
Concluding our conversation, we both agree that thrilling times are ahead of us.