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Rare cook-in pack for frozen raw fish

One of the showstoppers at this year's annual Food Marketing Institute show in Chicago was the booth of Carnival Brand-Seafood Co. The Overland Park, KS, firm displayed a wide variety of frozen fish packaged in convenient cook-in bags that let consumers microwave frozen fish and serve it in about five minutes.

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The fish is vacuum-packed and frozen at Carnival's plant in Roatan, Honduras, the same day it's caught from Caribbean waters. The premade bag in which it's packed is the key, though specs and vendor aren't available from Carnival Brand-Seafood. The bag expands dramatically as moisture in the fish turns to steam when exposed to microwave energy. The bag retains the steam, so the fish gets steam-cooked as well as microwaved. Secondary packaging is a paperboard folding carton with a cutout in the front panel that lets the fish show through. The vivid blue package makes quite an impression in the supermarket freezer case. Company president Frank Asaro says the patented package/product concept was developed over the course of nearly three years, and that primary packaging underwent a number of iterations before the right combination was found. The 25-item line is now available in the freezer cases of supermarkets in about two-thirds of the country, where a 10.6-oz portion sells for $5 to $9, depending on the fish variety.

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