The Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich., hopes its planned expansion expanding Gulf Coast region operations will allow for fresher fruits and vegetables.

“This capacity expansion will benefit customers long-term and gives Dow the opportunity to continue accelerating growth in proven markets such as packaging. It will also enable Dow to continue to help customers address current and future market needs through innovation and taking food package performance to the next level. This is important because 30% of the world’s food is wasted — and fresh produce is a major part of that," said Nestor de Mattos, North America Group marketing director for Flexible and Specialty Packaging at Dow.

"Packaging innovation allows for the technologies that help lengthen shelf life and help food to safely travel from grower to grocery store.”

Dow on Aug. 28 announced it has chosen Freeport, Texas, and Plaquemine, La., for its expansion sites, although it did not disclose when construction would start.

“Strategic growth in NORDEL metallocene EPDM, AFFINITY brand polymers, and ELITE polymers build on a successful legacy of Dow innovation in consumer and industrial products such as flexible food packaging...,” the Dow news release said.

“Dow Performance Plastics is the world’s leading plastics franchise and with these expansions Dow will be able to further leverage our cost-advantaged position and R&D expertise to deliver leading-edge technology that provides a competitive benefit to our customers in many of our most strategic markets,” Jim Fitterling, executive vice president for Dow, said in the release.

For its Texas plans, Dow expects to expand its High Melt Index AFFINITY polymer, which is geared to deliver stronger bonding in hot-melt packaging adhesives. Dow also plans to expand its ELITE polymer franchise, designed for durability and flexibility in food packaging.

In Louisiana, Dow plans to further develop its NORDEL metallocene EPDM program and its Low Density Polyethylene polymer family for flexible food packaging applications.

Dow boasts annual sales of about $57 billion and employs about 54,000. Its product portfolio includes more than 5,000 products developed at 188 sites in 36 nations.