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Asia Pacific: Avery Dennison tackles industry challenge with startups

Avery Dennison has launched AD Stretch, a labels and packaging industry program that involves startup innovators to solve challenges around sustainability, customer experience, and value chains.

The program will be launched globally, starting in Asia Pacific and Latin America, then rolling out in Europe and the US later this year.

The core themes will focus on connecting consumers to brands through new experiences; creating sustainable, responsible and efficient value chains; and the development of materials and packaging 2.0.

Specifically within Asia Pacific, areas the AD Stretch teams will focus on include solutions that help brands connect with end users more effectively, new biodegradable labeling and packaging products and materials, and solutions that help perishables survive the last leg of the supply chain in emerging economies.

Shruti George, senior director strategic innovation platform, Avery Dennison, tells Food News International more about the program and what would be in store for participating startups.

FNI: What will be the profile of a desirable start up partner for the program? Why?

George: We are looking to work with startups (pre-seed to series C mainly) that have sales traction in-market.

We seek ambitious entrepreneurs who are focused on solving some of the packaging industry’s most pressing challenges, namely maximizing consumer experiences, developing innovative materials and packaging solutions, and creating sustainable, responsible and efficient value chains.

FNI: What is of particular interest to the F&B segment?

George: Food waste is a significant global problem, accounting for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions and it happens across the value chain, from the producers all the way to consumers.

We want to be able to able to address this issue exactly where the issues occur – firstly, improving the shelf life of food through functional packaging and labels, seals and cost effective reclosure solutions.

Secondly, to bring to fore digital solutions that enable transparency in provenance and shelf life for end-consumers as well as enabling Internet of things through the value chain.

Ultimately, I hope to enable producers to improve their supply chains and consumers to make smarter choices in their food purchases.

FNI: How will the startups be recruited to join the program?

George: We are partnering with Highline Beta, which is experienced in co-developing corporate accelerator programs, to reach out to startups.

Companies can also apply to join the program online.

Applications close on 20 March 2022.

FNI: What is the selection process for this program?

George: Approximately 30 companies will be selected, and six to ten selected startups will be shortlisted via three selection phases.

There will be not more than two rounds of interviews per startup.

In this initial cohort, the pilots will take place in Latin America and Asia Pacific.

Should COVID-19 restrict startups from being to physically meet, we will explore the opportunity to run remote pilots with the selected startups.

Final decisions will be made and communicated by the end of April 2022.

FNI: How long is the program and what are the expected outcomes?

The first cohorts will be in Asia Pacific and Latin America, and the program is designed in two phases: in the first, the accepted companies will work on pilot design and development with the Avery Dennison program team.

The second phase will involve the execution of the pilot.

Additional programming such as webinars, office hours and programming will support the companies with their growth and scaling goals.

The first cohort program will run from May to November, with a second cohort then rolling out in Europe and North America.

FNI: What benefits will Avery Dennison, startups, targeted customers and policy makers enjoy respectively?

George: Although we have no specific investment requirements with this program, post-program we would like to transition successful startups to full-fledged commercial partnerships or into our venture portfolio.

The AD Stretch program also does not take equity or require startups to relinquish their proprietary intellectual property.

The pilots will be funded as per agreement between the startup and their program lead, and the program will provide a network, support and guidance to help with startups’ funding and scaling goals.

We aim to advance innovation in packaging that generates positive impact.

As this is an industry-first program, we are excited about the benefits this can bring to all our stakeholders, as we believe strongly that collaboration is a key factor for achieving progress in our common goals of reducing environmental impact and creating a more regenerative world.

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