COOKING bags proved a huge hit with customers at a major US grocery store earlier this month as seafood sales went through the roof during a successful store trial.
The trial at a store in Idaho showed a 48% increase in seafood sales over a one-week period – with more than 350 added-value packaged meals sold during the week.
The store used Sirane self-seal steam-cooking bags – sold in the US under the Ready, Chef, Go brand by Elkay Plastics – to package fresh seafood with flavoured butters as ready meals.
Meals such as Salmon & Asparagus with Brazilian Garlic Butter, Tilapia and Green Beans with Parmesan & Black Pepper Butter, and Peeled Shrimp with Garlic Scampi Butter were created and offered to shoppers as a ‘grab-and-go’ fresh seafood ready meal. Meals were also offered over-the counter at the seafood counter, where customers could choose combinations
Elkay Plastics – Sirane’s exclusive distributor in the US and Canada for self-seal steam cooking bags and oven/BBQ bags – devised the Ready Chef Go programme in order to offer grocery stores a complete package which will allow them to grow sales.
Adam Green, President of Sirane North America, said: “The store trial was a resounding success, so much so that the chain’s president paid a visit on the last day. Customers loved the simple and convenient way they could take home a fresh, tasty meal.
“A fresh fish dish, with stunning flavours – and all they had to do was cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes or microwave for 3-4 minutes. Ready Chef Go’s tagline is ‘Dinner is Done’ and this showed why. We also did a tasting session, and the feedback was very positive.”
The bags are self-seal, and can be used in the oven or microwave where the food is steam cooked. Steam-cooking is a very healthy and very flavoursome way of cooking food. All the flavours and goodness of the food is retained in the bag, which is odour and leak-proof.
To make the programme easy, a choice of compound sauce, butter and glaze selections devised by chef Eric Carre – a renowned culinary expert specialising in new product development – has been made available to stores using Ready Chef Go.
“All the stores have to do,” added Adam, “is pair the selections with meat and seafood in the bags, or alternatively offer the customers the choice for over-the-counter sales. This is about making stunning seafood meals easier for both retailer and consumer.”
Butters offered include Creamy Bacon Srichacha, Maple Bourbon and Thai Coconut Curry, while sauces offered include Pineapple Teriyaki, Thai Red Curry and Lemon Dill.
The programme comes with a host of marketing materials – including badges, counter displays, floor pads, and large store banners – as well as training and support.
Simon Balderson, Sirane MD, said: “Elkay Plastics has devised a fantastic brand in Ready Chef Go, and it allows retailers to make the most of fresh seafood, poultry and vegetable sales and maximise profits. In the store trial not only did the store sell 48% more seafood, but the seafood was sold for a much higher margin; the results were stunning.”
Elkay Plastics is offering steam-cooking bags in a variety of sizes and colours, including self-seal and heat-seal, and oven/BBQ bags (branded as grilling bags) with the same options.
Elkay Plastics is a major distributor in the US with an international presence. Based in Commerce, California, they supply into food service, industrial and healthcare markets. The company has seven additional US sites, and also supplies into Mexico and Canada.
Sirane is a highly innovative packaging product development-to-manufacture company based in Telford, Shropshire. Specialisms include absorbency and cooking bags.