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Tortillas escape refrigeration!

Los Angeles-based Mission Foods chose the May 5-8 Food Marketing Institute show to unveil what it's calling the first modified atmosphere shelf-stable package for tortillas.

Pw 24859 Los Ang Mis Foo 7

Backflushed with oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, the package delivers an unrefrigerated shelf life of "over 30 days," says marketing vice president Walt Root. That's quite an extension over the six-day shelf life Mission gets on its non-MAP products, which are distributed on a store-door basis. The new MAP products will be marketed primarily in the eastern half of the country, where tortilla consumption isn't as established as it is in the West and Southwest. Because tortilla inventory doesn't turn as quickly in such markets, the 30-day shelf life will come in handy. But even more important is that these tortillas are shelf stable. "Basically it allows you to get out of the refrigerated case and merchandise in other places in the store," says senior marketing manager Kathryn Panzetta. "This is extremely important for growing markets where consumers are just learning how to use tortillas," adds Walt Root. "MAP packaging gives retailers a fresh new profit opportunity." Mission isn't saying much about materials or machines used to produce the package, which has a Seal Fresh(TM) reclosure feature. As for pricing, it seems a bit mysterious. According to Panzetta, the MAP line will have the same price points as Mission's store-door-delivered product, despite what must be a considerable upcharge paid for barrier materials, gases, and other MAP-related paraphernalia.

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