Packaging 4.0? Augmented reality in packaging

Benjamin Pöll12/12/2019

Imagine that you're walking through a supermarket. Suddenly, a packaged product catches your eye and calls out, “interact with me!”. You look closer. The package moves. It provides more information. You ask it questions, and the packaging replies. The product markets itself! Is there really such a thing? Does it actually work? As a packaging specialist, you probably know more about it than we do. But if you don't, you should definitely keep reading!

Future or reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is bringing the packaging industry into a new era. The actual purpose of packaging – namely, to protect the product – is gradually becoming more of a secondary concern. Packaging manufacturers are facing new requirements and challenges but also new possibilities. There are regulations to follow – like the requirement to print ingredients, warnings and product information and various quality certifications. Currently, environmental safety and recycling are the two biggest issues for packaging manufacturers. Packaging has meanwhile become more than just a vehicle for information and instructions. It has evolved into the ultimate advertising space for manufacturers and brands.

Electronic waste

The implementation of the EU plastics strategy should prevent or reduce plastic waste. But what about electrical waste? Do you rather consider buying a new smartphone or repairing the old one? What is your opinion? Join us on the path of the throwaway industry in the current blog:

That’s all well and good, but where does AR come in?

The tide of digitalization hasn’t stopped here, either. With the help of augmented reality, customers are able to find information on products on their smartphones or tablets without wasting any time. They’re able to interact with manufacturers directly. Reality has become connected to the virtual world. Brand allegiance, social interaction, relevant information on purchases and real-time data analysis offer the kind of added value we have never dreamed of before. Just how valuable is AR?

It is estimated that in the next 5 years, the global market share of AR will be up to 85 – 90 billion USD, with 3.5 billion applications installed. The accuracy of this prediction is evidenced by a skyrocketing spending on AR. This year, it reached 20 billion – a 70 % increase from 2018 – with countries like the United States, Germany, France and China leading the charge. Taking these figures into account, it might really be worth considering your own AR app. Don’t you think?

Constantia Flexibles takes its first steps and shows you the way


Our customer Constantia Flexibles recognized this opportunity over 3 years ago and teamed up with Wikitude, a Salzburg-based company specializing in AR, to develop a business-to-business (B2B) platform. The platform will allow businesses to do things like start a sweepstakes during the half-time break of a soccer game and finish it by the end of the break, for example. Users can engage with it interactively and made good use of the break. But augmented reality is not just used in the entertainment industry. The pharmaceutical industry, food manufacturers and others also stand to profit from it. AR can be used as a modern method of offering consumers additional information – for instance, details on ingredients, allergens or side effects of medications. Augmented reality makes up for a unique customer experience and also meets the needs of roughly 70% of all consumers who report that they’d like to have more information on the products they buy.

Click here to find out how Wikitude and Constantia Flexibles brought their AR vision to life: (image source)

Virtual interactions with customers? Snoopstar makes it possible!

Still can’t imagine how digital tools can make it possible to communicate with product packaging? With the innovative app “Snoopster”, the Düsseldorf-based company LSD is able to interact with their customers when they scan a package. Virtual buttons let you directly access digital media like images and videos, as well as shops, background stories, event schedules and more. All the information is stored in the cloud and can be quickly linked to new contents. It’s especially interesting for seasonal promotions or social media campaigns. Augmented reality gives customers a fun way to access all the information they need.

McDonald’s is getting in on this innovation, too: mixed reality soccer with McDonald’s GOL!


Would you happen to be a soccer fan? Then there’s no way you missed this game, right? During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, McDonald’s came out with a mixed reality soccer game that you could play using different French fry packets. In later levels, you could even go up against all sorts of other players around the world in a half virtual, half real setting.  At the time, it was the world’s most widely distributed and most advanced augmented reality game and a milestone of the technology.

Image source:


Augmented reality is more than just Pokemon Go!

We all witnessed the hype around Pokemon Go. But augmented reality offers more than a fun customer experience. The bridge between the offline world and the online world was built some time ago. AR not only lets us create a positive brand image that’s highly user-interactive. It also guides the purchase decision based on emotions and not just the price. AR not only personalizes packaging. It also makes complex products more tangible, making them more memorable to the consumer.

So what’s next for product packaging? Will it really talk one day? Or maybe even jump into our shopping cart automatically? Time will tell...

You are a packaging or printing specialist and look for an industry solution that fits your needs? Your wish is to meet your customer’s requirements creatively, quickly and reliably? Let us talk about how we can make the best out of your business. Don’t hesitate to contact us:

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Benjamin Pöll
Application Consultant