Case study: Convenient, dual-ovenable bag steams potatoes
Working closely with customer Agrow Fresh Produce Co. of Chicago, has M&Q Packaging Corp. (www.mqplastics.com), provided its MQ36 dual-ovenable steam bag as a key component in Agrow Fresh’s “Simply Season & Steam” fresh petite red potatoes. A steam bag included in each bag of small-sized fresh potatoes brings convenience and taste to the kitchen. The 11- by 17-inch MQ36 bag is delivered to Agrow Fresh prefolded to the size of a match book and inserted along with the potatoes into a 24-ounce, color-printed poly-bag. At meal time, consumers open the MQ36 bag, fill it with potatoes and seasonings, close the bag using the plastic tie provided, and place it 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 hunted unsuccessfully for steam bags. “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,” adds Recchia. Even the 24-ounce bag is unique, the product of much consumer research to determine a reasonable sized for the average-sized family. Recchia points out that, “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 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 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit 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 Midwest to the mid-Atlantic region and can see broadening the product line by moving into purple, Yukon, and white potatoes.