(March 2) CHICAGO — As packaging gets smarter, so, too, must packaging professionals.

That’s the message behind Smart Packaging 2004, a two-day conference sponsored by the Institute of Packaging Professionals.

The conference, set to take place Sept. 8-9 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago, will cover a variety topics related to smart packaging and will look at technologies geared toward improving performance, efficiency, safety and security.

The program for the conference will involve four key sessions.

The first will cover brand owner and end-user requirements for smart and intelligent packaging throughout the manufacturing and supply chain.

The second session will be a review of pack protection solutions including issues such as counterfeit deterrence, retail theft, and tamper-resistance.

The third session will cover pack authentication and verification requirements in processing, manufacturing, transit and usage.

The final session will look at the current requirements and solutions within the field of supply chain management, including radio frequency identification and smart labels.

The conference will also feature a tabletop exhibition area in which exhibitors will display their brands and packaging solutions. A Brand Owner’s Showcase will highlight specific brand owners and their packaging innovations.

Attendees and exhibitors for Smart Packaging 2004 will be given free admission to Labelexpo America 2004, which will take place at the same convention center Sept. 13-16.

For more information on both shows, visit the Web site at www.labelexpo-americas.com or e-mail Cordelia Hime at chime@tarsus.co.uk.