"Sonoco is committed to serving fresh brands, using packaging to tackle the challenges they face," says Jack Sanders, Sonoco president and CEO. "Optimizing fresh food packaging to extend shelf life and maintain quality makes fresh produce more accessible to communities, and helps brands and retailers extend sales opportunities and eliminate food waste.
"Each year, the food industry loses $15.6 billion due to food spoilage at retail. Modifying packaging design to extend shelf life by even one day can recover $1.8 billion of that loss while feeding more people and reducing waste to landfills."
To establish the multi-disciplinary hub for innovation and research to advance fresh food packaging and distribution, Sonoco will contribute $1.725 million over five years. The company will also sponsor business-driven research projects totaling $1 million over that period. Sonoco FRESH is an extension of the partnership that created the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics at Clemson.
"Working with outstanding industry partners like Sonoco allows us to do more to develop solutions for the grand challenges facing the world, and it helps us to prepare our students to become future leaders," says James P. Clements, Clemson University president. "Leveraging the expertise of our faculty, Sonoco FRESH will play a key role in exposing our undergraduate and graduate students to issues related to the crisis of food waste and sustainability so that they will be informed and responsible decision makers as they enter the workforce."
"We are honored to be working with Clemson, as reducing food waste is central to our combined efforts – and finding ways to extend freshness through new technology is key," explains Vicki Arthur, Sonoco's senior vice president of plastic packaging and protective solutions. "We believe this partnership will deliver breakthroughs to help the entire packaging industry and will have a major impact on the distribution of fresh food across the country and around the world."