Talking heads? Beer label uses facial recognition to “chat” and detect consumer emotion

636667223242389330black beer.jpg

09 Jul 2018 --- Multi-Color Corporation (MCC) and Talkin’ Things are the first Internet of Things (IoT) packaging platform providers to combine Augmented Reality (AR) and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to create a “unique” customer experience in connected products, according to Talkin’ Things. The label of Black Red Ale beer, which incorporates a large “talking” skull, fully fits into the smart packaging trend by using advanced AR facial recognition and dynamic scenarios dependent on users’ emotions.

NRC is a set of communication protocols that enables two electronic devices, one of which is often a portable smartphone, to establish communication and AR is the interactive experience of a real-world environment, which has been “augmented” digitally.

Click to EnlargeAs the customer scans the smart label with a mobile app, the skull presented on the label engages in an interactive dialogue with the consumer. The facial recognition feature detects if the customer is happy or sad and customizes the next part of the dialogue to accommodate a flowing conversation. Furthermore, variable AR scenarios are also launched depending on answers provided to questions asked by the skull.

“Thanks to our labeling production capabilities and Talkin’ Things technology combined with creative services, we are able to offer our clients a brand new solution that will completely transform a product and change the way end-customers interact with it,” says Craig Miller, President of NA CPG at Multi-Color.

Additionally, NFC smart label applied to the bottle’s neck provides a proof of purchase solution for 2-stage communication with end-customers. It recognizes when the product has been opened to provide different messages to the customers.

Digitalization, the new trend?
Talkin’ Things is a company that “transforms traditional products using digital technology.” The use of digital technology in the packaging sector is booming, with interactive, digitalized labels popping up in all sections of the grocery aisles.

IoT and packaging technology are expected to continue connecting for enhanced customer experience as well as food safety. The NFC used by the Black beer brand demonstrates a potential move away from the use of QR codes that have been used by brands for years. NFC as integrated into packaging, such as on the Black beer bottle, makes it even easier for consumers to access the digital aspect of the packaging and offers a richer experience.

Cameron Worth, Founder of London-based IoT agency, SharpEnd, describes NFC as “the Click to Enlargedominant technology and the one with the brightest future.” He tells FoodIngredientsFirst: “Both Apple and Android are carrying NFC capabilities within their handsets and this is a good mark towards the popularization of this technology.”

“I think that the cost of this technology will decrease so much that you will see the Unilevers and Nestlés, who have low priced goods with smaller profit margins, using NFC globally across their brands,” says Worth.

“Right now consumer awareness of what to engage with and why is still at an early stage, but the more brands that are coming to market with connected packaging programs the greater the consumer awareness of the technology will be,” he adds. 

“In five years’ time it’s going to be a very normal action the same way its normal to tap your debit card on to a reader without using a pin – I think the same sort of normalization of behavior will occur interacting with products via your mobile.”

FoodIngredientsFirst has previously reported on the tequila brand, Jimador, which also uses NFC in its digital marketing labels. Jimador enhanced its summer soccer marketing scheme with “smart” bottles and “connected” coasters, in collaboration with Thinfilm. 

The digitalization of taste has even taken the subjective world of flavor by storm with the digitizing of taste and sensory communications to reduce cost and increase efficiency for supplier and formulators. 

By Laxmi Haigh, with additional reporting by Joshua Poole

This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst's sister website, PackagingInsights.

To contact our editorial team please email us at

Related Articles

Food Ingredients News

A turning point in history? World Food Day shines a light on eradicating hunger, boosting nutrition and mitigating climate change

16 Oct 2018 --- As the dust settles after last week’s stark warnings from climate change experts about how future drought, high temperatures and extreme weather events could seriously impact crops and supply chains, attention turns to World Food Day (WFD) which is being marked today with a campaign to eradicate hunger. Once again food security is on the agenda as key players meet in Rome to mark the day and urge a greater awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all.

Food Ingredients News

Beer shortages? Study reveals climate change could affect global beer supply

15 Oct 2018 --- Severe climate events could cause shortages in the global beer supply, according to new research involving the University of East Anglia (UEA). The study warns that increasingly widespread and severe drought and heat may cause substantial decreases in barley yields worldwide, affecting the supply used to make beer. This will ultimately result in “dramatic” declines in beer consumption and rises in beer prices.

Food Ingredients News

Food loss challenge: Rabobank’s start-up shortlist to help reduce food loss in Asia

15 Oct 2018 --- Rabobank is tackling the issue of food loss throughout the supply chain by focusing on holistic solutions and is running a competition where start-ups pitch their ideas to reduce food loss to food and agri industry leaders and investors. Through the Food Loss Challenge Asia, Rabobank aims to look for solutions to curb food loss from farm to market and is asking start-ups “Do you have an existing tech-based solution that reduces food loss from farm to market in Asia?”

Food Ingredients News

Start-up focus: US-based Variety Fun targets healthy and convenient snacks market, direct to your door

15 Oct 2018 --- Two entrepreneurs have turned their US$165,000 investment into a millennial-favorite snack subscription box, that is now projecting US$12 million dollars in sales for 2018 and over 500,000 boxes sold on Amazon. According to the company, Variety Fun’s subscription service delivers an assortment of snacks to US offices, improving workplace culture and boosting employee morale. Variety Fun is a snack subscription box that curates “hundreds of the best-tasting, classic and nutritional brands,” including Popcorners, Hippeas, and Popchips, for offices in the US. By partnering with over 500 snack brands, the company offers businesses the most affordable and convenient subscription snack service with the most extensive selection.

Food Ingredients News

Beefing up traceability: Ambrosus blockchain tracks Korea’s Nongshim beef sold at Mega Mart

11 Oct 2018 --- Ambrosus, the globally decentralized blockchain and IoT platform, has joined forces with NDS, a subsidiary of Korean food producer Nongshim, to track and trace premium quality beef sold by food retailer Mega Mart. Ambrosus is pioneering what it describes as a “revolutionary beef traceability model” in Mega Mark using the AMB-NET blockchain.

More Articles