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In-pack veggie steamer

According to Bev Dixon, general manager at Sun Valley Foods, she and her colleagues took one look at Simple Steps for Produce while at a trade show last year and knew they wanted to put it to work.
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“We’re now sending packages to the H.Y. Louie [IGA] chain of stores and we’re talking to others as well” says Dixon.

Winner of a Gold Award for Technical Innovation in this year’s awards competition sponsored by the Flexible Packaging Association Simple Steps for Produce was developed by Cryovac (see page 58 for a technical description of the materials involved). It permits microwave steam cooking of fresh vacuum-skin-packed vegetables right in the pack.

Sun Valley Foods based in Kelowna British Columbia Canada is believed to be the first to commercialize the concept. Under its Smith’s brand it is selling 9-oz broccoli 12-oz vegetable medley and 16-oz carrots or zucchini for C$3.49 to C$3.99. Refrigerated shelf life is 12 days.

Dixon notes that the packaging concept her firm uses for vegetables is a variation on an earlier Cryovac development: Simple Steps for Meats (see packworld.com/go/c156). It uses the same Multivac tray lidding system too except that it had to be modified. “The permeable film we use on vegetables is thinner than what is used on meats or poultry so that had to be taken into account” says Dixon.

Sun Valley’s new offering gains graphic pop from a windowed paperboard sleeve. Trays are thermoformed by Mullinix from a coextruded barrier material that includes polypropylene and ethylene vinyl alcohol.

When asked if consumers will pay C$3.50 for 12 to 16 oz of fresh produce Dixon’s response was emphatic. “Consumers will pay a considerable premium for a package that helps them serve up this kind of nutrition this conveniently. And remember there is no waste.”

Pat Reynolds

See sidebar to this article: Anderson Packaging becomes 100th CPA member

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