The cold foods industry is no different from any other where connecting with consumers and increasing sales is the bottom line. Branding, often referred to as the personality of a product, is at the core of a product’s success, and when it comes to personality, bigger is better. 

The challenges faced by brand managers vary from differentiating products from competitors to enticing shoppers as they peruse the refrigerated and frozen foods cases. The ultimate challenge though may be in effectively sharing a brand’s essence in a unique, immersive fashion that captures consumer imagination and leaves a positive impression.

Enter augmented reality (AR) packaging, which is taking the art of branding to new heights. In brief, AR is an interactive experience where objects residing in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information. Think in terms of GPS data, graphics, audio and video as providing an AR sensory experience. At the core of this technology is the potential to enhance a consumer’s perception of reality at a precise moment in time.

AR packaging creates an engaging brand experience and empowers customers to directly interact with a brand via uber-creative visual and auditory content. But, in order for AR packaging to achieve the highest level of brand recognition, companies should thoroughly explore their advertising and promotion strategies, learn how other brands are applying AR packaging and then brainstorm various ways to make this recognition booster work for their product line.

Innovation is the name of the game with AR packaging. It's all about developing creative, compelling content. Some companies might look to entice consumers with a contest or coupons, while others may want to provide product use tips. Or, perhaps imaginative videos or microgames are more aligned with a specific brand. Other ideas include recipes related to a product, offering a 3D tour of a product being manufactured, 3D mazes or the ability to instantly connect to social media and participate in a survey or discussion.

The refrigerated and frozen foods industry and AR packaging seem tailor-made for each other. Innovative packaging and labeling has the potential to cultivate customer engagement, add value to the packaging itself and increase display presence. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, AR turns packaging into a living entity that can interact with the consumer.

Once AR packaging is designed and printed, consumers can simply use an app on their smartphone or other device, scan the AR code and then enjoy an experience unique to that company’s brand. AR labels can be printed in various verticals to offer a user experience that can lead to brand loyalty. The package design or label can even embed a digital watermark, a marker that is covertly inserted to identify ownership and is primarily used to trace copyright infringements.

Today, all variety of brands are finding that AR packaging deepens loyalty with existing customers, opens the doors to new consumers and increases sales. It may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but there is nothing fictional about AR. This marriage between creative traditional marketing and new age technology provides an experience unlike any other.