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Gourmet seafoods launch in microwave trays

Raw Seafoods, Inc., New Bedford, MA, has introduced a line of gourmet-quality frozen seafood entrées in 400-g (single-serve) and 900-g (double-serve) microwaveable “MicroRite” trays supplied by Graphic Packaging International (www.graphicpkg.com).
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The line includes shrimp with penne pasta, shrimp and scallop scampi, jumbo stuffed shrimp, lemon dill tilapia, and salmon fillet—all containing seafood in a raw, uncooked form.

Specially designed to accomplish quick, even, through-and-through microwave heating while keeping the products moist and tender, the molded Microrite trays are made of aluminum and polyester, laminated to a paperboard base. They incorporate a patterned laydown of 7-micron foil to promote optimum heating and shielding. Dimensions of the 400-g tray are approximately 6”Lx 5”Wx 1”D. The 900-g trays measure about 8”Lx 6”Wx1”D.

Kane Kendall, director of marketing for Raw Seafoods, Inc., says, “We chose Graphic International as our tray supplier because they have a great research and design team, and they came to our plant to do performance and safety tests of our product to ensure that the MicroRite tray met our requirements. Based on our company's experience with other tray options, we found that the MicroRite technology provides superior heating performance characteristics for our product applications.”

After filling, the trays are sealed with a clear, nonbarrier lidding film manufactured by Cryovac-Sealed Air Corp. (www.sealedair.com), using a heat/vacuum sealer manufactured by Koch Equipment (www.kochequipment.com). Trays are contained in18-pt SBS cartons litho-printed in six colors by Hub Folding Box Co., Inc. (800/334-1113).

The double-serve entrées were launched in early 2005, followed by the single-serve versions last November. They are being marketed primarily along the East Coast, but are rolling gradually into wider national distribution. Average retail price of the single-serve products is $4.99.

Kendall reports that the new seafood line is receiving positive feedback, and sales figures have been favorable. “We want to capture the high-end, value-added consumer retail market for convenient seafoods, and we believe that the tray packaging we selected is playing a major role in that effort.” —Judy Rice

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