PepsiCo provides insight into its smart packaging journey

Today, more than ever, consumers are using their smartphones to engage and create a connection with brands by interacting with in-store displays, direct mailers, television, and product packaging.

As such, as brands reimage the importance of the package on mobile engagement, they must consider how the digitisation of the package integrates with the company’s overall operations and strategy, according to PepsiCo customer supply chain and global go-to-market senior vice-president John Phillips.

Phillips was a keynote speaker at the recent AIPIA Smart Packaging Virtual Congress. He was joined in the session by Maryann Moschides, the chief marketing officer and general manager of Scanbuy – PepsiCo’s partner for its smart label initiative.

Phillips said smart packaging drives consumer engagement, transparency, point of sale, traceability, authentication, amongst other benefits, and shared the engagement learnings and insights on PepsiCo’s smart packing journey.

“Our journey with smart packaging actually started with a US based initiative called Smart Label and it was really initially launched to drive consumer transparency to provide a digital platform to enable product information that far exceeded what could fit on a label,” he said.

“That programme continues to evolve to where it’s now actually supporting multiple regulatory initiatives – things like our bio engineering initiative that is actually in place to meet a regulatory requirement that takes effect in January of 2022.

“But it also allowed us to expand – to create a platform of smart packaging, enabled by what we call the intermediate menu. And that intermediate menu is a launchpad of a single QR code that allows us to create a curated experience for the consumer tailored to each individual brand.

“And we’re able to enable things like information around recipes, information around recycling, and more not a pop up or a separate window, but an embedded frame that has all of the navigation of the full Smart Label platform.”

And there’s a host of other things PepsiCo is working on, including presenting badges of certification from different associations and NGOs within Smart Label to present them in a way that has the feel for the consumer that the physical package does.

This is in addition to a framework that it’s working on around the certification button which would launch an easy-to-access set of buttons that a consumer could engage with on their product.

“It is a journey that we’re on to eventually get to a point where you have a single data carrier on the package that can support all of these initiatives,” Phillips said.

According to Moschides, data shows that about 50 per cent of end users are now scanning smart codes on packaging and businesses are reengineering their businesses based on data from the Smart Label platform.

“In addition, we found that 50 per cent of the consumers are accessing Smart Label through QR codes. The important footnote here is that products in the US today don’t yet have the QR code on the package,” she said.

“And there are several companies that are making decisions on reengineering their formulas within some of the products based on concerns or feedback from data. That gives the consumers a much richer experience. But, we’re really just scratching the surface, from a smart packaging standpoint, in being able to understand those analytics and continue to tweak and tailor the experience for the consumer.”

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