Sonoco, a Hartsville, South Carolina-headquartered diversified global packaging company, has announced a new research partnership with Clemson University—the Sonoco FRESH (Food Research Excellence for Safety and Health) initiative—that will develop new technologies and forms of packaging to improve the fresh food life cycle.
To establish the multidisciplinary hub for innovation and research to advance fresh food packaging and distribution, Sonoco will contribute to the initiative $1.725 million over five years. The company also will 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, which was created to exploit the synergies that exist between the graphic communications and packaging science departments, according to its website. The institute says it is the only university program in the country with a multidisciplinary approach to packaging as a core competency.
“Sonoco is committed to serving fresh brands, using packaging to tackle the challenges they face,” says Sonoco President and CEO Jack Sanders. “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.”
Clemson University President James P. Clements says, “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. 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.”
Sonoco says reducing food waste is among its priorities, and Sonoco FRESH will help to alleviate this issue.
“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,” says 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.”
Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of a variety of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging, and displays and packaging supply chain services.