The AIPIA World Congress, a hotspot for smart packaging tech, witnessed AB InBev unveiling three standout solutions to tackle 2D datamatrix challenges, semi-serialization for rewards programs, vision modeling, and more.
At the recent AIPIA World Congress in late 2023, Anheuser-Busch InBev sifted through a barrage of smart packaging pitches and identified three game-changing solutions. The event, renowned for its lightning-paced Packaging Challenge, featured suppliers presenting their innovations in three-minute bursts. AB InBev, a major player, sought active and intelligent packaging to address specific hurdles only technology-driven solutions could overcome.
Packaging World caught up with AB InBev's Luiz Andre Correa and Farida Bensadoun, judges at the Packaging Challenge, to delve into their choices and explore the tech that stood out. Correa, focusing on supply chain challenges, and Bensadoun, dedicated to consumer engagement through packaging, meticulously assessed the offerings presented on stage.
Bensadoun expressed her commitment to enhancing packaging functionality, making it not only protective and visually appealing but also seamlessly integrated into the consumer's digital experience. According to her, as digitalization rises, there's a golden opportunity to bridge the physical and digital realms through packaging.
Having attended previous AIPIA World Congresses, the AB InBev duo noted the evolving landscape of smart packaging. Bensadoun highlighted the practical solutions showcased at the 2023 event, emphasizing market executions, trials, and a more consolidated approach to certain technologies.
Correa and Bensadoun laid out four key requirements for potential Packaging Challenge winners. First on the list was improving the readability of 2D datamatrix codes on clear surfaces, like beer bottles. The challenge was to make these codes more scannable with smartphones, enhancing their utility in supply chain activities and consumer engagement.
Another priority was semi-serialization for rewards programs, aiming for a hidden mark that could be validated with a simple photo. The third requirement involved engaging legal-drinking-age consumers through augmented reality-based gamification. Lastly, they sought a computer vision model that didn't rely on physical samples for training, minimizing lead time and costs.
The duo acknowledged the reality that no single supplier could fulfill all four requirements, given the nascent nature of smart packaging technology. However, three solutions stood out among the pitches.
Alitheon's FeaturePrinting caught the judges' attention for its unique ability to deliver on two fronts—computer vision without marking and semi-serialization for consumer rewards. Using optical-AI, this patented technology identifies items by capturing tiny, naturally occurring variations, eliminating counterfeits and enabling tracking and tracing with just one photo.
Another winner, AlmaScience, impressed with its sustainable solution using cellulose-based ink coating and laser engraving for high-fidelity datamatrix and semi-serialization. The proposed solution promised easily readable images for vision systems or mobile phones while maintaining a mostly covert profile.
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