Sonoco, one of the largest global diversified packaging companies, has partnered with Clemson to establish the Sonoco FRESH (Food Research Excellence for Safety and Health) innovation hub, which seeks to develop new technologies and new forms of packaging to optimize the fresh food lifecycle. Sonoco FRESH will be housed in the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics, and Sonoco has invested a gift of $1.725 million and research support of $1 million to establish the Sonoco FRESH hub.
To celebrate this new partnership, key stakeholders from Clemson and Sonoco gathered for a luncheon at the Madren Center on February 20, 2018. Guests were welcomed by Dr. George Askew, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences and listened to remarks by Dr. Jim Clements, President of Clemson University and Rob Tiede, CEO Elect of Sonoco. After lunch, Dr. Askew led a panel discussion featuring perspectives from agribusiness, industry, and academia. Panelists included Chalmers Carr, President and CEO of Titan Farms; Kay Cooksey, PhD, Cryovac Endowed Chair and Professor of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Science; Jeff Rhodehamel, PhD, Department Chair and Professor of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Science; Ryan Ramey, graduate student in Food, Nutrition and Packaging Science; Jeff Schuetz, Staff Vice President of Global Technology for Sonoco; and Hugh Weathers, South Carolina’s Commissioner of Agriculture. Topics of discussion ranged from packaging innovations to reduce food waste to new technologies that will optimize the fresh food lifecycle to how this private-public sector partnership will uniquely position Sonoco FRESH as a leader in tackling the global issue of food waste.