US: Steam bag lets consumers give potatoes a 'home-made' taste
Agrow Fresh Produce Co. of Chicago, IL, has worked closely with supplier M&Q Packaging Corp. to include its MQ36 dual-ovenable steam bag as a key component in Agrow Fresh's "Simply Season & Steam" fresh petite red potatoes. Consumers like the idea of steaming vegetables because they see it as healthy. Having a steam bag included in each bag of small-sized fresh potatoes brings convenience and taste to the kitchen—the potatoes can be seasoned as desired.
The 11x17 MQ36 bag is delivered to Agrow Fresh pre-folded to the size of a match book and inserted along with the potatoes into a 24-oz, color printed poly-bag. At meal time, just open the MQ36 bag, fill it with potatoes and seasonings, close the bag using the plastic tie provided and pop into the microwave for 12 minutes. The potatoes are steam-cooked to a tender and creamy texture with no pots or pans to clean afterwards. According to Mike Recchia, Agrow Fresh president, the company is the only one at this time providing shoppers with a steam bag packed with the fresh potatoes. "Agrow Fresh is about understanding what consumers are looking for and answering it," says Recchia. "We wanted to take fresh and convenient, and put them together."
They tested many seasonings combinations in their kitchen and liked the results, but had to hunt for steam bags in the supermarkets without success. "We came to M&Q with the challenge and they not only had the right bag, they came up with folding process that makes inserting them efficient on our automated packaging line. It's a win-win for everyone," Recchia adds. Even the 24-oz bag is unusual, the product of much consumer research to determine a reasonable sized offer for the average-sized family. Recchia points out, "These potatoes are fresh and unprocessed. You wash and cut your potatoes as you wish—halves, quarters, slices—and season. You can use your own herbs and spices or try dry salad dressing packets." For those looking for some direction, recipes are printed on the 24-oz bag and are available on the Agrow Fresh website.
The MQ36 dual-ovenable steam bag is a one mil, oil resistant, nylon structure that is oven-safe up to and including 400 deg F and meets FDA standards for high-temperature cooking. "The bag works great. As a consumer you don't have to think or worry about it. And you can steam any sized potato. The possibilities are endless," says Curt Rubinstein, sales and marketing manager for M&Q. Currently, Agrow Fresh has "Simply Season & Steam" and private label packages in supermarkets from the mid-west to the mid-Atlantic region and can see broadening the product line by moving into purple, Yukon and white potatoes. "They're all fantastic in a steam bag," Recchia adds.
Publication date: 12/16/2011
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