Smart food packaging is conceived so that it enables the consumer to make more intelligent decisions on the purchasing, storing and consuming by using important information about the safety and quality on the packaging. The aim of the research was to design and construct smart packaging which will effectively inform the consumer about the temperature requirements of the packaged product. We have decided to construct smart packaging for cold chain food products because temperature abuse in the food cold chain is one of the main causes of wasted food.
We have used different research approaches and plans. First, we researched the terminology in the field of smart packaging in Slovenia. Further, we reviewed the workings of thermochromic systems, current time-temperature indicators and smart packaging graphic design. In the experimental part, we described time indicator construction, the drawing up of cardboard packaging and graphic design processes. Using comparative analysis of two samples, cardboard and corrugated cardboard, we have decided on the more appropriate material for the packaging. After obtaining the measurement results of basic, surface and mechanical properties we have chosen single layer corrugated cardboard. We found that this material offers optimum product protection. After constructing the packaging, temperature indicators were screen-printed. Then we established how the thickness of paint coating changes the indicator's colouring intensity. The temperature-dependent colour change of the thermochromic printing ink was determined by colour measurements and evaluated in the CIELAB colour space. The results of the analysis showed that the colour change of the prints is intensive enough and recognizable to consumers.
The end product is smart packaging with high colour intensity of the indicator detecting the appropriate storage temperature of the cold chain product. Simple but consumer-attractive packaging is used by Kmetija Redek brand to store quail eggs.