Category Archives: Elkay University

Reinventing an Old Tradition

Ready. Chef. Go!™ bags are inspired by the old French cooking tradition of “en papillote” (pah-pee-yawt), literally meaning “in parchment”. En papillote is a method of steam cooking food in a sheet of folded and sealed parchment paper. The term originates in the 17th century, but the concept behind the cooking method has been used in Chinese and Indonesian cuisines even longer. This quick, simple, and healthy cooking tradition makes meals that are juicy, savory, and fragrant. When moisture DSC_0648 (640x504)inside the bag or pouch reaches the right temperature, it will turn into steam that will circulate inside, gently and quickly enveloping and cooking the food in its own natural juices along with the juices of any added ingredients. Ready. Chef. Go!™ bags are designed to give you the fresh, moist, and outstanding food quality of en papillote in a convenient package that takes the guesswork out of cooking and keeps the mess in the bag. With Ready. Chef. Go!™ bags, you can consistently cook flavorful and delicious meals whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice to the kitchen, all without even breaking a sweat.

  • Tasty, fresh, and healthy meal in minutes
  • Can be cooked in the Oven or Microwave
  • No mess, no clean up, no fuss
  • Helps contain seafood odors during the cooking process
  • Takes the guesswork out of cooking seafood
  • Bag is self-venting and evenly cooks food
  • Can be refrigerated or frozen to cook later
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Can you believe this is the same filet of salmon as the one in the Ready. Chef. Go!™ bag in the picture above?


Family Values at Elkay

Elkay Plastics, the leading US supplier of stock flexible packaging for Foodservice, Grocery, Industrial, and Healthcare markets, started from quiet and humble beginnings. The company was founded in 1968 by Lou and Trudy Kestenbaum, two Holocaust survivors who emigrated from their native Hungary after World War II to escape the ruins of the old world and start with a clean slate in the United States. The Kestenbaums instilled a family-oriented culture and achieved modest success throughout their tenure as owners. In 1990, the Kestenbaums decided to sell Elkay Plastics to Louis Chertkow, who also came from unassuming beginnings, himself growing up on a farm in rural South Africa. Under his leadership and surrounded by a top notch team of executives, managers, and associates, Elkay has expanded from a small local supplier with 1 warehouse in Los Angeles to a national corporation with 8 strategic locations around the US.

Despite the vast expansion, success has not altered Elkay’s original tradition of family and loyalty. Elkay’s employees and loyal customers remain its most valuable assets and are symbolic members of the extended Chertkow family. It seems that many Elkay employees feel the same way, with dozens of them proud to be apart of the family for 10, 20, 30 and even one for 40 years. It is this sense of family and loyalty that motivates them to put in the extra effort for customers and always help to find solutions to grow their businesses. You can be fully confident that, when working with Elkay, you are working with a team of dedicated, driven, and loyal individuals who are fully committed to the success of your business. The family culture at Elkay is one large reason why Elkay is, and always will be, “The Right Partner for YOUR Success”.

The Clear Solution for Catering

From the packaging of school breakfast for summer schools, providing lunch on the go for a golf outing, to a prepared picnic meal for a community event, the TO6484 clear loop handle bag is the perfect choice for catering. We recently showed two school districts why the TO6484 is a fitting solution for their catering needs.

The Situation
The first school district was searching for a better solution for packaging their student lunches for school field trips. They were using a traditional cardboard carton to pack the lunches in. This resulted in three problems: 1) Students constantly opening boxes to see contents 2) Boxes were difficult for smaller students to carry 3) They took up too much space in waste receptacles.

The second school district had a different challenge; they were seeking a better way to provide a takeout package for their summer school breakfast program. Students attending summer school arrive early and are provided a breakfast that they take to their assigned rooms to eat. The school was using a craft paper bag. Again, students opened the bag in the halls trying to see their items and the bags did not offer an “easy carry” option.

The Solution
The TO6484 presented both school districts with the best solution! The clear bags provided students with the ability to see their meal items, the handles were perfect for carrying, and as a bonus, while the bags take up less waste receptacle space then the boxes, they are fully recyclable and could be saved and re-used by students to carry other items!

Elkay’s unique take out bag presents a stylish packaging alternative to traditional boxes and paper bags. It offers the advantages of strength, exceptional clarity for product presentation, and strong handles for easy carrying. Look at the options below and decide which package is the clear choice?

The Elkay Advantage: Packaging that Shows Quality

At Elkay Plastics, we take great pride in how our products are packaged. While this may sound confusing at first, let me explain further:

Many of our bags are packed in cartons or inner-packaging with individually labeled and bar-coded inner packs. This process helps give our customers confidence that they receive clean, durable, and organized products every time they buy Elkay products. Bar-coding and labeling of each inner pack helps account for each product and allows us to trace each product all the way back to its original manufacturing run. Our dispensing system improves our end users’ cost control, facilitates inventory management and minimizes waste. This all ties back in to our rigorous quality certification standards such as ISO 9001:2008 and annual Food Safety audits. What’s the point of going through so much effort to ensure seamless production processes and creating quality products if they’re going to be packaged in a messy and disorganized manner? Ask yourself this: If you were looking to buy bags, which product would you buy?

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9 x 12 Bags from Leading Competitor


9 x 12 Bags from Elkay Plastics

Sales Tip: Know Your Customer Before You Call on Them

You can learn a great deal about a new customer before you meet with them.  The first meeting with a potential customer often carries a long way in being able to build a strong, lasting relationship them. Below are some quick and easy steps to help in preparation for that important first meeting with a new customer:


Research the customer – If the customer has a website, and most do, take the time to study it. Read their mission statement and get to know their products and service offerings. A website, as a public-facing domain, can be a treasure trove of information of what the customer wants the public to know about them. When you visit the customer, instead of saying “Tell me about your business” – rephrase it as, “Based on what I researched, your company is involved in X, Y and Z.  I would be interested in hearing your perspective in recent successes and challenges.”

Research as ‘input’ not ‘output’ – As an extension to the above, do not conclude on what a customer does, simply by research. It is important to ask the customer about their perspective, since it is often more detailed (and sometimes, rather different) than a web based report.

Make a list of key questions – The objective of the first meeting is to come away with a greater understanding of the customer’s current situation along with ideas for developing a business solution presentation for your next meeting.  Ask questions that will lead you where you want to go, write them down, and use it as your road map during the meeting.

The more you know about your customers, the more effective your sales and marketing efforts will be. It’s well worth making the effort to find out: who they are, what they buy and why they buy it.  Strong sales are driven by emphasizing the benefits that your product or service brings to your customers. If you know the challenges that face them up front, it’s much easier to offer them solutions.

New Tagline Announcement

Your business, our bags, problem solved. Does that sound familiar? It might because the phrase has been Elkay’s tagline going for 9 years. It’s got a nice ring to it and it’s undoubtedly catchy, but what does it tell our customers about Elkay? Does it illustrate the value and services that Elkay brings to its customers everyday?

Your business, our bags, problem solved has served us well over the years, but as Elkay has grown and evolved, it’s only right that our tagline follows. Over the last few months, we polled a few select customers to create a tagline that represents the strong relationship between Elkay and its customers and the value Elkay provides to them. After a large variety of tagline samples to choose from and many customer surveys, we selected the tagline that customers said resonates the most with them.

We are proud to announce that going forward Elkay’s new tagline will be “The right partner for YOUR success!”. It is a tagline that matches our corporate culture and exemplifies to our customers that they are more than just business associates; that their success is important to us as is our own. We look forward to being your partner that helps bring you success for years to come.


New Products: Safe Handling Bags on Plastic Header

In order to provide added convenience to our end users, we are proud to introduce our new safe handling bags packed on handy plastic headers. To make life easier for butchers, meat department staff, and kitchen staff, our bags feature a perforated tear line that allows staff to place meat inside the bag, quickly tear off the filled bag and then repeat the process with the next bag. The rigid plastic header has a large space that allows it to hang from a wide variety of different hooks and stands. The bags are made from strong and durable 1.5 mil low density polyethylene that can hold large quantities of meat without tearing and will ward off any leaks. Each bag is printed with meat safe handling instructions and cooking instructions in both English and Spanish to promote best practices in the kitchen. For more information and free samples, contact your dedicated Elkay Sales Consultant or fill in our sample request form:

  • Printed with safe handling and cooking guidelines for various meats and poultry in both header_pak_safe_handling-mEnglish and Spanish
  • Meet FDA Requirements for use in food applications
  • Made from strong low density polyethylene that prevents leaks and tears
  • On plastic header for speed and convenience
  • 100 bags per header
  • Plastic header is designed to be hanged

Ready to order? Just click on the links below and add the items to your shopping cart:

 Item                            Description                                         Size       Gauge (mil)   Qty/Case

SFH0915 Printed Safe Handling Bags on Plastic Header 9 x 15 1.5 1000
SFH1218 Printed Safe Handling Bags on Plastic Header 12 x 18 1.5 1000

The Case for Water Soluble Laundry Bags

A recent article in Clean Link discusses a largely unnoticed problem in hospitals; the spread of bacteria in laundered towels. The spread of dangerous bacteria and pathogens causes Hospital acquired infections (HAIs) which, according to the Center of Disease Control, account for approximately 99,000 unnecessary deaths and tens of billions of dollars in costs annually in the US alone. While Hospital acquired infections are well-known and heavily documented, it is a new revelation that they could potentially be spread by towels thought to be clean.

Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist from University of Arizona, conducted a study of 10 Arizona hospitals on the spread of harmful bacteria and pathogens. Dr. Gerba collected three “clean” cloth towels from each hospital and analyzed them for the presence of bacteria. His findings were alarming, 93% of the laundered towels tested positive for dangerous bacteria such as E. Coli and Klebsiella among others.

Gerba pointed to inadequate laundering practices as one of the main culprits. According to Dr. Gerba: “If they’re folding these [laundered] towels, they need to make sure they disinfect the tables first. They could be taking their dirty laundry down and piling it on the table before putting it in the machine.” Gerba also explained that if a janitor or custodian has dirty hands from handling dirty laundry, they could be spreading the bacteria to clean laundry. He further elaborated that a janitor’s hands could get tainted when putting dirty laundry in the washer and then putting wet laundry in the dryer, which could infect the clean laundry.

Water soluble laundry bags, combined with hand washing and other best practices, can drastically reduce the spread of harmful bacteria and pathogens. Water soluble bags are made from non-toxic polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) that will fully dissolve in water at temperatures at 140º F or above. They include dissolvable ties to seal the bags once the laundry is placed inside. When using water soluble bags, janitorial staff will not have to come in direct contact with dirty laundry and will be able to place the bag with the contaminated laundry directly in the washer, preventing the staff from becoming contaminated. The bags, which can hold wet or damp laundry for several hours, will not damage drains or sewer systems, and are environmentally friendly, leaving behind no residue. Water soluble bags, in combination with other best practices, are an inexpensive and logical product for any hospital or long term care clinic. They provide a low cost solution that will help reduce the spread of Hospital acquired infections, which results in healthier, happier patients and significantly lower costs.

Check out Elkay’s selection of Water Soluble Bags:

Item #       Product Name    Size


Case Pack

WSB2633 26 x 33 Water Soluble Bag 26 X 33 .8 mil         100    CS
WSB2839 28 x 39 Water Soluble Bag 28 X 39 .8 mil         100    CS
WSB3639 36 x 39″ Water Soluble Bag 36 X 39 .8 mil         100    CS

Selling Specimen Bags into Healthcare

The Laboratory environment within healthcare can be complex and constantly changing; however, the good news is that the lab specimen bags used within most medical facilities is quite commonplace. For most lab specimen bags used, there is a typical standardized mix as outlined below:

Key Lab Specimen Bags Used Within Healthcare Locations:

Part Number




 6 x 9 Standard Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack


8 x 10 Standard Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack


12 x 15 Standard Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

STAT Bags for Rush Situations

Part Number 




6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with red tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

Colored Bags for Sample Segmentation

Part Number




 6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with blue tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack


6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with green tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack


6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with orange tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack


6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with yellow tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack


 6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with red opaque tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack


 6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with red tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack


 6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bags with assorted colors and pockets for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

(200 bags each of red, blue, green, yellow, and orange tints)

Adhesive Seal Bags for Situations that Require Tamper Evidence (such as Drug Testing) 

Part Number




 Standard 6 x 10 Biohazard Lab bag with security seal and pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack


 Standard 10 x 10 Biohazard Lab bag with security seal and pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack


 Standard 15 x 17 Biohazard Lab Bag with security seal and pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

Unprinted Lab Bags for General Purpose, Non-Biohazard Required Applications

Part Number




Standard 6 x 9 clear Reclosable bag with pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack


When working with Hospitals or Independent Reference Labs, below are key steps to follow that will make the sales process a smooth one:

1.  Always Start with the end user. Visit the Lab Department to identify the Lab Manager and speak with him or her to identify what types of products the Lab uses today in relation to Lab specimen bags. Be sure to ask about specimen bags and any other type of bags they may be using such as courier bags, etc. You may find that the account uses standard stock products or customized bags.

2.  After you identify WHAT they are using, ask WHO they are sourcing the product from today and if they are apart of any GPO program. The Lab may or may not know those answers, so you will need to find out who the Materials Manager in their Purchasing Department is. Also ask about HOW many bags are used either monthly or annually per SKU.

3.  THEN go to the Purchasing Department AFTER you are armed with the knowledge of what the facility is utilizing. Approach the Materials Manager and mention that you would like the opportunity to discuss specimen bags from Elkay Plastics. State that during one of your visits, you had met the Lab Manager and they shared information about what the facility is using today and that Elkay has a comparable product which may save the facility money.

4.  Once you have been able to contact the Materials Department, work with your distributor account manager to provide a quote and any samples that are required. If at any point along the sales process if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to any member of our Healthcare team. We are here to help and assist with any questions you may have.

5.  Convert that business and begin reaping the volume rewards of healthcare sales! Remember, it begins with YOU simply asking a few questions and leveraging your existing network to get the necessary introductions. Good luck!

Tips for Distributors Selling Poly Bags to Restaurants

Selling poly bags to restaurants can appear to be a daunting task, but don’t sweat it! The best way to resonate with restaurants is to focus on presenting solutions that increase their operational efficiencies that will, in turn, help them control waste and save in food and labor costs. Here are a few simple and effective tips, product recommendations, and solutions distributor sales reps can present during sales calls with restaurants:

Question to ask: Is there any pre-portioning of ingredients for any menu items?
Product Recommendations: Portion Control Bags
Solutions Provided: Less waste and consistent servings through tighter portioning.

Question to ask: Are any ingredients re-purposed for other recipes?
Product Recommendations: Reclosable Bags and Utility Bags on Rolls
Solutions Provided: Food cost savings through less waste.

Question to ask: How are perishables stored in refrigerators and freezers?
Product Recommendations: Reclosable Bags and Utility Bags on Rolls
Solutions Provided: Extended product life and less opportunity for cross-contamination in foods.

Question to ask: Are any menu items baked in hotel or steam table pans?
Product Recommendations: Ovenable Poly-Nylon Pan Liners and Value Plus PTL Pan Liners
Solutions Provided: Savings in labor, utilities, supplies, and clean up costs. Reduces food waste when unused product is stored in the same bag to be re-heated.

Question to ask: Are any soups, chilies, or sauces heated in crock pots?
Product Recommendations: Round Bottom Poly-Nylon Pan Liners and Value Plus PTL Pan Liners
Solutions Provided: Savings in labor, utilities, supplies and clean up costs. Reduces food waste when unused product is stored in the same bag to be re-heated.

Question to ask: Are any menu items or ingredients held in steam tables?
Product Recommendations: Steam Table Pan Liners
Solutions Provided: Savings in labor and clean up costs.

In summary, make a few key observations, ask the right questions, deliver a strong value proposition and you will consistently increase your sales numbers.