‘Food, Packaging & Sustainability Summit’ debuts at Clemson

The Digimarc blog

The Food, Packaging, & Sustainability Summit at Clemson University. via Internet
The Food, Packaging, & Sustainability Summit at Clemson University. via Internet

Consumer concern about plastic/food waste and the consequences of climate change continues to grow. As a result, food manufacturers, consumer brands and retailers are eager to adopt a range of innovations to support sustainability, traceability and efficiency throughout the entire food value chain. This momentum was evidenced as industry thought leaders gathered in February for the inaugural Food, Packaging & Sustainability Summit sponsored by the Sonoco FRESH initiative at Clemson University.

Digimarc’s platform evangelist, Jay Sperry, participated in a panel discussion, “IoT: The Power of Connected Packaging,” where he spoke with Raj Rao, general manager, Blockchain Platforms, IBM, on why implementing and utilizing innovative technologies, such as Digimarc Barcode and Blockchain technology, can help to deliver safe, secure and sustainable packaging solutions.

Other noteworthy speakers and themes emerging from the conference included:

  • Supply Chain Inefficiencies & Hunger – David Beasley, executive director, World Food Program, reminded attendees: “Food is one of the most fundamental building blocks for society. In addition to meeting a basic human need, it also supports societal stability and allows individuals to lead productive lives.” He emphasized that the importance of the supply chain and its impact on hunger has been underestimated until now, with the pandemic highlighting the challenges. Beasley also cited a statistic that one-third of food is wasted (US$ 500 billion) each year.
  • Packaging & Consumer Education – According to a Clemson University student survey conducted in 2020, 67% of packaging companies indicated a willingness to add an infographic and/or a scannable code to packaging to inform consumers about the package’s sustainability features.
  • PepsiCo & Circular Packaging – Stephen Tyner, R&D manager, FLNA (Frito-Lay North America) Core Packaging Services, PepsiCo, spoke about Pepsi’s packaging and the circular economy, including a pledge to be 100% recyclable, biodegradable or compostable by 2025 (currently at 89%), and to invent new, more sustainable forms of plastic.
  • Moving Toward ‘Advanced Recycling’ – Prapti Muhuri, manager, Recycling and Recovery, Plastics Division, American Chemistry Council, spoke about how her organization is leveraging chemistry to convert post-use plastic into products which extend the life of plastic. Some of the new outputs include feedstock for new plastics, plastic additives (e.g. for roofing) and waxes. Find out more here.

Learn about Digimarc’s recycling work as part of the HolyGrail 2.0 project, as well as how we support sustainability initiatives. The above blog is reproduced from the Digimarc eMail newsletter.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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