Fuji Seal Foundation Chairperson
When you hear the word “packaging,” what do you think about?
The answers I get to this question are always different, and some people worry about how best to answer it. However, it is a totally familiar thing for all of us and not a day goes by when we do not use it in our daily lives.
All products sold in supermarkets, department stores and convenience stores are wrapped up in packaging. This packaging plays a functional role of covering the precious goods, preserving them for long periods of time, and bundling them together. It also plays a communication role, explaining what the product is, and clearly showing that it is intended to be sold, all while sitting on the display shelf. Materials range from paper to plastics and even metals. Our packaging is used to promote lots of unique products? an essential task?but at the end of the day, the principal role always goes to the product itself.
While packaging plays a supporting role and at a glance may be thought of as something that is discarded as soon as the product is consumed, it actually preserves foods in the form of tin cans and retort pouches, and protects the contents from impacts or ultraviolet rays, keeping the amount of waste to a minimum. On top of this, it can also make food more delicious, make the product easier to use, explain what the product contains, give warnings about the usage of the product, and all of these features greatly contribute to enriching people’s lives.
Overseas, there are specialized programs for packaging, and even departments in universities dedicated to it. Unfortunately, apart from a small number of exceptions, Japan has almost none of this yet. As a result, we wanted to make an opportunity for all students to learn more about packaging. Just by getting familiar with it and taking an interest in it every day, you can make a difference for consumers. Even for inexperienced people, interest is all that is required to make suggestions for various improvements or come up with ideas for consideration.
That being said, there are a multitude of difficulties depending on materials and products, such as choosing the raw materials, production methods, marketing, design, logistics, and of course environmental concerns which should not by any means be overlooked, necessitating a wide array of expertise and experience. However, herein lies further interest. We do not see the Foundation as a place for people to view study like they are in school, but rather we aim to let people see things as a consumer, looking at problems and issues, experiencing and discussing in a more active style of learning.
On top of gaining support in the form of grants, through the study of packaging, you can expand your perspectives on life, and experience learning about diversity. Members include people from the fields of chemistry, machinery, design and liberal arts, as well as students from overseas, who all gather together to make up a truly diverse group. It would be my absolute pleasure if we were able to grow fine young people who will go on to support the future of the world.