Boskovich tests microwavable vegetable pack

Fresh produce in convenient, value-added packaging was in abundance at the recent Food Marketing Institute show in Chicago. Among those entering this fast-growing category is Boskovich Farms.

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The Oxnard, CA, produce marketer showed FMI attendees its new Fresh'N'Quick package for fresh broccoli and cauliflower florets in a microwavable tray with clear film lidding and paperboard sleeve. Consumers simply remove the sleeve, puncture the lidding a couple times and microwave the veggies right in the tray. "Initially we thought we'd use a label on the tray lid," says Boskovich marketing manager Lindsay Martinez. "But the film's permeability would be hampered, so the sleeve seemed a good solution." Supplied by I.L. Walker (Los Angeles, CA), the sleeve is a 20-pt SBS printed offset in two colors plus aqueous coating. The film permeability Martinez refers to is necessary so that the vegetables can continue to respire. For early shipments of the new product, Boskovich used a 1-mil polyester lidding that it perfed in-house with a device retrofitted to a one-up tray sealing system. But test results have been so encouraging that the firm is planning to shift production to a four-up tray sealing system. Accompanying that move will be a switch to a microperforated lidding material from Printpack (Atlanta, GA) that will incorporate an anti-fog component as well. The thermoformed tray material, black crystallized polyethylene terephthalate, will remain the same, though the tray supplier may change. Since March the 8-oz package, coded with a 14-day use-by date, has been in test in the Ralph's chain of supermarkets around greater Los Angeles. It has a suggested retail price of $2.49.

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