Packaging include a co-ordinated system of
preparing goods for transport, distribution, storage,
retailing & end-use, a means of ensuring safe delivery
to the ultimate consumer in sound condition at
optimum cost, and a techno-commercial function
aimed at optimizing the costs of delivery while
Intelligent packaging can be defined as “packaging
that contains an external or internal indicator to
provide information about aspects of the history of
the package and/or the quality of the food”.
Intelligent packaging is an extension of the
communication function of traditional packaging, and
communicates information to the consumer based on
its ability to sense, detect, or record external or
internal changes in the product's environment.
A packaging system that is capable of
carrying out intelligent functions like
To facilitate decision-
To extend shelf life
Warn about possible
A. Improve product and product value
B. Provide more convenience
C. Provide protection against theft,
counterfeiting and tampering
Three types of intelligent packaging systems
are used to :
1) Quality Indicators
Kimchi Freshness Indicator
2) Time-Temperature Indicators
3) Gas Concentration Indicators
A. Improving product quality and
Quality or freshness indicators are used to indicate if
the quality of the product have become unacceptable during
storage, transport, retailing and in consumers home.
Indicates the spoilage or lack or freshness of the
product, in addition to temperature abuse or package leakage
based on the reaction with volatile metabolites produced
during ageing of foods and gives a visible colour change as an
indicator of :
A.1. Quality Indicators
Specially designed for a commercial product of natural mixed
fermentation owing principally to lactic acid bacteria. In
optimal conditions the fermented product has a pH 4.2 and
titrable acidity 0.6 – 0.8 %
Kimchi Freshness Indicator
Kimchi quality deteriorates from formation of
excessive organic acids and loss of texture.
Change in CO2 concentration correlated highly with
pH & titrable acidity. A colour indicator has been
developed sensitive towards CO2 concentration.
The indicator ingredients consist of Ca(OH)2 as CO2
absorbent and bromocerol purple or methyl red as a
How Kimchi works
RipeSense® indicates the ripening of fruits
The label is attached to the inside of a four-piece PET
clampshell punnet with a tamper-evident seal. Also protects
the fruit from physical damage.
This technology was initially developed for fruits like peas, a
fruit whose ripeness consumers have great difficulty in
There is a good correlation between the amount of
aroma that is produced and the actual softening of
the fruit. So as the fruit softens, it produces more
aroma and sensor changes colour.
How RipeSence works
Beef and poultry
Sulfide gas, by microbial growth
TTIs are devices that integrate the exposure to temperature over time
by accumulating the effect of such exposures and exhibiting a change
of colour (or other physical characteristics). Applicable only for
temperature sensitive food.
TTIs can be divided into two categories: partial history indicators, which
do not respond unless some predetermined threshold temperature is
exceeded, and it is intended to identify abusive temperature conditions.
And full history indicator, which respond continuously to all
Selecting an indicator for a particular product in such a way that the
indicator should most closely math the quality of the product as a
function of time and temperature. So a Standard Guide for Selection of
Time–Temperature Indicators “ASTM F 1416-96 (2003)” is formulated.
A.2. Time-Temperature Indicators
The VITSABTM (Visual Indicator Tag System AB) time-
temperature monitor is a full history indicator consisting of an
inner transparent pouch with two compartments and an outer
rectangular casing (62 x 25 mm).
One compartment of the inner pouch contains a proprietary
lipase enzyme and a pH indicator dye and other contains a
lipase substrate (glycerol trihexanoate) in fluid suspension.
The indicator is activated when barrier separating the two
compartments is broken by an external pressure. As the
hydrolysis of the substrate by the enzyme starts, the pH
irreversibly changes and which is indicated by the gradual
colour change of the dye
How VITSAB works
Master Carton Version – Designed as an early warning indicator, is
applied to the cartons or pallets in factory, and deliberately activated by
the pressure of the labeling machine. The colour change are as follows :
1) Green -> Excellent quality (80% or less of the product’s time-temp
tolerance is used up)
2) Yellow -> Good quality (80% is used up)
3) Brown -> Uncertain quality (100% is used up)
4) Red -> Overexposed quality (130% or more is used up)
Consumer Version – The consumer time-temp monitor is designed to
place on individual consumer packages and consists of a single
ampoule, which is activated at the time of packaging. Its function is to
show two colour signals :
1) Green -> Fit for consumption
2) Yellow -> Not fit for consumption
Two types of VITSAB
The TEMPTIMETM like Fresh-Scan® labels provide a full history
TTI, showing a response independently of a temperature
The indicator consists of three distinctive regions :
I. An eight- digit no. unique to each indicator
II. A two-digit code that identifies the indicator model
III. A strip of material known as the indication band that changes
colour as a result of accumulated temperature exposure.
The indicators have no means for in-field activation, and are
shipped from the manufacturer already activated and
responding to the storage temperature. To minimize indicator
response prior to use, they are stored at -240C
The indication band contains diacetylene monomers (R – C Ξ C – C Ξ C –
R), which appear colourless because they absorb light only in UV portion
of the spectrum.
They undergo time-temp dependent polymerization to form a polymer
with a conjugated backbone on which electrons are delocalized.
The delocalized electrons absorb light in the visible portion of the
spectrum and the polymer appears coloured.
A change of the side group ‘R’ cause a dramatic change in the solid-state
reaction kinetics. Generally follows Arrhenius-type kinetics over a wide
range of temp range.
The colour change and the bar codes are monitored using specially
programmed, hand-held microcomputer with an optical wand, which
records the decrease in reflection as the indication band darkens. The
product shelf life can be calculated from the change in colour, with
respect to the prior time-temp experiences fed to the program.
How TEMPTIME (Fresh-Scan) works
The TEMPTIME Fresh-Check® indicator developed for consumers
and consists of a small circle of polymer surrounded by a printed
TEMPTIME (Fresh-Check ®)
The 3M MonitorMarkTM TTI is a partial history indicator is
1. a 88 x 19 mm rectangular cardboard containing
2. 28 x 12 mm pad of blue dye with a carrier substance,
3. plastic slip-tab for isolating the dye,
4. 7 mm blotter paper wick,
5. And 88 x 19 mm rectangular cardboard with five window cuts
The bottom piece has a pressure sensitive adhesive backing.
Removal of the slip-tab is needed to activate it. Before
activation it is needed to be stored at temp not less than -400C
This indicator has a scale to indicate the length of accumulated
exposure time above a predetermined temperature.
Removal of slip-tab brings the pad (containing dye + carrier
compound) and wick (blotter paper wick ) into contact.
The blue dye remaining within the pad until the carrier
substance undergoes a phase change due to temperature
exposure above a response temperature.
Typical esters are used as carrier compound like octyle
octanoate (m.p. = -170C), dimethyle phthalate (m.p. = -1.10C),
and butyl stearate (m.p. = 120C).
Indicator response is measured by reading the distance the
dye front has migrated past the indicator’s window cuts
How MonitorMark works
Indicators (either in the form of a small packet or individually
packed tablet/label) are available commercially which
indicates the presence or absence of gases. For Eg. O2
indicator, water vapor indicator, hydrogen sulphide indicator.
O2 indicators can be included in anoxic packages to indicate
the effective absorption of all O2, and to warn if there is a
breakdown in the O2 barrier.
A.3. Gas Concentration Indicator
Most common O2 indicator is pink when the ambient O2
concentration is ≤0.1 % , turning blue when the O2
concentration is ≥0.5 %
The presence of O2 will be indicated in 5 minutes or less,
while the change from blue to pink may take 3 hrs or
How O2 indicator works
due to poor
How O2 comes into the package ?
O2 concentration in atmosphere ≤ 0.1 % → indicator is
O2 concentration in atmosphere ≥ 0.5 % → indicator is
More convenient due to value added function.
Improves lifestyle but high price.
Mainly three parts
B.1. Thermochromic Inks
B.2. Microwave doneness indicators(MDIs)
B.3. Radio frequency identification(RFID)
B. Providing more convenience
Depending on the composition the at specific temperature
color will change, which indicates the state of product.
Like “TO HOT” ; “DRINK NOW”
First used for WINE labeling
Normal condition-shelf life 6 months or more
Mainly affected by
Temperature excess 1210 C
Aggressive solvent like Chlorine.
B.1. Thermochromic Inks
Devices that detect and visually indicate state of readiness,
when heated in micro oven.
Doneness indicator used to indicate product uniform heating
Temperature indicating papers and levels that would give a
visual indication when the temperature reached, heated by
microwave leading to false indications.
“Shielding doneness indicator(SHI)” are used to avoid the above
In which an aluminum foil label on plastics lid.
Major disadvantage of SHI –observing whether or not color
change without opening the MICROWAVE OVEN.
To overcome this problem INNOVTION HEATING are used.
Used to radio frequencies to read information on a small device
Like microchip, look like banknote security ribbon
tags can applied to products and packaging in the form label.
RFID terms indicated device that can sensed at a distance by
To date, RFIDs have been used to increase convenience and
efficiency in supply chain management and traceability.
Normally applied to secondary or tertiary packaging.
B.3 Radio frequency identification
Protection against theft and counterfeiting is highly used for
high valuable product. So not found widespread application.
To reduced the incident holograms, special inks and dyes,
laser labels and electronic tags have been introduced.
Tampering is used to detect the major contamination.
Now a day intelligent tamper-evident technologies are being
developed based on “LABELs” or ”SEALS” that is transparent
until the package is opened or tampered,
Indicate by written “STOP” or “OPENED” which color
C. Providing Protection against
Theft, Counterfeiting and Tampering
The used of some types of intelligent packaging raised safety
issues because of potential effect on the microbial effects.
Migration regulatory point of view ,intelligent packaging
divided into three groups
Group 1. systems in which no chemical substances are deliberately
transferred into the atmosphere inside the package. Not intended
to come in contact with the foods.
Group 2. Systems that emit quality preserving agent such as CO2 or
ethanol . They can only functions when the agents come to direct
contact with the surface of food which influence microbial growth
Group 3. Systems from which preserving agents are deliberately
transferred onto the surface of food. In order to function, there
has to be direct contact between the active ingredient and the
D. Safety and Regulatory
1. There is possibility that the components making up absorbed
or emitted in group 1 and group 2 will migrates to the food
2.There are the inherent toxicological properties of the agents
in group 3 which deliberately contact with the food.
3. A unique regulatory issue arises with ethanol emits used on
foods intended to be consumed without further cooking
4. If the ethanol residual in the foods exceeds threshold
level(2%)not legally advise to sold it or commercial it .
Possible regulatory issues
Due to high Cost , high environment safety purpose intelligent
packaging are less used in food industry.
Intelligent packaging concepts are already in commercial use in
many countries U.S. and Japan.
In Europe , legislative restriction, fear of consumer, lack of
knowledge about the effectiveness and economics and
environment limited the application many types of intelligent.
Many companies are developing thin film transistor(TFTCs)
that can deposited paper or plastics which enhance quality.
The used of intelligent packaging systems for food will
become increasingly popular and new, innovations that deliver
enhance the shelf life and greater assurance of safety will
eventually become commonplace.
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