New screen technology may replace labels

A new type of interactive screen technology on packaging may replace labels altogether if its developers can get costs down.

Scientists have collaborated with tech company Novalia to develop and test the technology, and their findings have been published in the IEEE Journal of Display Technology.

The team is yet to make the screen devices low-cost and flexible enough to be used on all packaging, but markets including the Asia Pacific could expect to see this technology on the shelves before 2020.

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The technology works by printing electronic tracks onto paper and then attaching low-cost electronics and a polymer LED display to the paper using an adhesive that conducts electricity.

The scientists have added interactive capabilities to the screens by constructing a touch-pad keyboard to give the user control of the LEDs in the display.

Professor David Lidzey from the university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy believes there is a gap in the market for this technology.

“Labels on packaging could become much more innovative and allow customers to interact with and explore new products,” he says.

“The use of displays or light emitting panels on packaging will also allow companies to communicate brand awareness in a more sophisticated manner.”

So far the displays have only been fitted to paper packaging, but the scientists say it could potentially work with other packaging materials in the future.

The technology will reportedly be on display at drupa in Germany next month.

Food & Drink Business

Unilever has released its Future Foods initiative, outlining commitments to a healthier and more sustainable global food system. At its centre is a $1.63bn sales target for plant-based meat and dairy alternatives within the next five to seven years.

Coles and waste and recycling services company Cleanaway have launched an organics recovery facility in Brisbane to convert food waste into nutrient-rich compost, the first of its kind in Queensland.

Most of the world’s food is travelling thousands of kilometres through a complex distribution network often hidden from plain sight that’s leaving suppliers in the dark and consumers with inconsistent quality.