ELMWOOD PARK, N.J., Thursday, February 25, 2010 – Sealed Air Corporation (NYSE:SEE) today celebrates its 50th anniversary of the Company's incorporation.
In the 1950s, inventors Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding were determined to combine their entrepreneur and engineering skills to invent something that would change the world. By the end of that decade, they introduced Bubble Wrap® cushioning and launched the Sealed Air Corporation. Fifty years later, Bubble Wrap® brand is one of the most recognized brands across the globe and Sealed Air has grown to employ more than 16,000 people with operations in 51 countries.
In 1960 with $85,000 in initial backing, Bubble Wrap® inventors Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding launched Sealed Air Corporation. Initially, the inventors experienced a few minor problems with being able to retain the air for extended periods of time in their Bubble Wrap® cushioning material. But additional research led to the creation of a special barrier of protection which prevented air from leaking helped the product quickly gained popularity with its features and great "snap."
Selling the Bubble Wrap product also represented innovation in marketing as it was not just selling a material, but rather a total value proposition. As the first plastic wrap cushioning material, it had performance characteristics that were unique – reducing total packaging cost by using less material, reducing package cube and weight, and reducing product loss through damage. To demonstrate the value of these unique features as part of the total packaging costs, we hired packaging engineers, established Packaging labs (now Package Design & Development Centers). We utilized our packaging labs to educate our sales force on test methods such as shock and vibration testing and worked with our customers to demonstrate the superior performance of Bubble Wrap® cushioning. We positioned ourselves in the marketplace as a consultant to customers and created the definition for "protective packaging."
Today, the concepts of consultative selling and value analysis have become the platform from which we have created new market segments for packaging applications and have expanded into an extensive range of innovative materials and systems that enable efficient and safe distribution of fresh food and goods to outlets around the world.
The emergence of global growth, environmental awareness and a new era in logistics all played a key role in the protective packaging business. Optimal packaging performance became critical for product protection and cost efficient logistics. We expanded our product portfolio to include Mail Lite® shipping envelopes and acquired the Instapak Corporation "foam-in-place" cushioning systems. We developed foam and system technologies to meet the packaging demand for heavier products that offered on-site, just-in-time protective packaging materials.
We expanded into Western Europe in the early 1970s and the Far East in the late 1970s.)
Our dedication to sustainability is at the core of our foundation and articulated in our 1973 Annual Report that "the selection of packaging materials which provide better cushioning, lighter weight and reusability is a positive step toward meeting all three sides of a crucial triangle: energy – environment – economy."
The advent of the floppy disk for distributing software and transferring data expanded the demand for padded mailers and in 1987, Sealed Air acquired Jiffy Packaging Corporation. In addition to adding polyethylene foam and other plastic and paper packaging products, the company launched its first food packaging product by acquiring the Dri-Loc® absorbent pad line.
We also continued our internal expansion extending PR foam manufacturing to Italy and Spain and opening a new Instapack® foam facility in the Netherlands.
As business was becoming increasing more global and international business was accelerating, we continued to expand internationally by opening new plants in Germany and Spain.
In 1998, Sealed Air completed a transaction for the Cryovac packaging business of W. R. Grace, creating the world's leading protective and specialty packaging company. For more than 50 years, Cryovac® brand packaging solutions have been revolutionizing food packaging worldwide with that include products such as vacuum shrink bags, laminates and case ready solutions that extend the shelf life of fresh food.
In the last ten years Sealed Air has focused its growth and investments in developing regions and innovations that address the need for greater dining convenience, more energy efficient and environmentally-friendly solutions, the effective movement of goods and the needs of modernized healthcare systems. The company also began exploring new opportunities for technologies outside of packaging applications.
By 2009, sales in developing regions increased to 17 percent of total sales and almost 30 percent of those sales represented key growth areas including food solutions, medical applications, specialty materials and renewable products.