The unique 7 oz heat and serve product contains washed, pre-cleaned, fresh mushroom slices along with a Grade A butter pad with all natural seasonings.
“Consumers are looking for convenience as well as freshness,” says Paul Frederic, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for To-Jo Mushrooms. “Preparation is quick and easy. Simply remove the film from the tray and microwave. The result is perfectly cooked fresh mushrooms in a delicious savory sauce in less than 4 minutes.”
To-Jo chose the Ovenware II® tray, provided by Huhtamaki, Inc., in De Soto, Kansas, because of its material, strength and reliability. Made from molded fiber with a PET lamination, these trays can be placed in the microwave or oven straight from the refrigerator or freezer. Trays maintain their integrity throughout the cooking process and are easy to handle while hot.
Compared to other trays, Huhtamaki’s Ovenware II® trays are much stronger and maintain strength and rigidity after cooking and are “cool to the touch” after heating. These trays do not warp or sag and are lighter weight than other options. These trays are made from 95% recycled post-industrial fibers and are environmentally friendly because they are made from a renewable resource – trees.
The material rigidity along with the PET lamination makes the tray impervious to moisture, allowing the use of washed or pre-cleaned mushrooms that have higher moisture content. The film barrier reduces the potential of pathogen growth as moisture migration into the package is prevented. This package allows To-Jo to metal detect after it has been wrapped and sealed, thus eliminating potential metal contamination.
“While this type of tray is excellent for refrigerated or frozen food products,” comments Frederic, “there are many other advantages to using molded fiber trays for mushrooms. These trays have an upscale appearance and go straight from the microwave to the table, ready to serve.”
To-Jo recently completed a market test to gain consumer feedback for their product and is ready to launch with major retail chains this fall.
“Traditional Mushroom Sauté is the perfect side dish for today’s time stressed consumer – offering freshness, superior flavor and ultimate convenience. It will be sold through retail supermarkets in the Mushroom Section of the Produce Department and To-Jo plans to present a comprehensive merchandising program to participating retailers,“ says Frederic. “We believe this will create a new segment in these departments. We understand that consumers are finding more appeal in pre-packaged fresh food items in grocery stores, such as prepared salads. We have research that indicates some individuals are more likely to make purchasing decisions based on convenience and value. We are confident that we have created an exceptional product that meets their needs and will exceed their expectations.”