Ruiz had been using an expanded polystyrene tray with a polyvinyl chloride overwrap and hand-applying labels to the top and bottom of the package. "It was a labor-intensive procedure, and you don't get a lot of accuracy, so it's not the best presentation," says Bruce Woodlief, director of marketing at Ruiz. Woodlief says the labels often weren't straight and sometimes there would be material bunched on the bottom of the package with a label over it. This made the label difficult to read.
Now the burritos, tamales and other products are hand-placed onto an EPS tray from Pactiv Inc.(Lake Forest, IL). A conveyor moves the filled trays to a Formost (Woodinville, WA) bagging machine. The Promobag is made of 75-ga Clysar® polyolefin shrink film from DuPont (Wilmington, DE). The tray is automatically placed into the bag, and it's heat-sealed and shrunk. Robbie flexo-prints the bags in six colors with the artwork predistorted to accommodate for shrinkage.
In addition to providing a better-looking package, Woodlief says the packaging materials are close to the same cost as the old overwrap and stickers. Although Ruiz did purchase a new machine, Woodlief says the improved look of the packages and the desire to upgrade its system justifies the cost of the machine.
Ruiz now packages its entire line of 11 El Monterey® Quick Classics products--available nationally and retailing for $2.50 to $2.99 a tray--in the Promobag. Woodlief says that no numbers are available on sales, but reaction to the change has been positive.