Category Archives: Food Services

Visit Us at the 2015 NGA Show

We will be exhibiting at the National Grocers Association tradeshow at the Mirage hotel in Laslogo Vegas on Sunday, February 8th through Wednesday, February 11th. If you will be at the show, stop by our booth and say hello. We will be showing off our latest new grocery products, including our new and revolutionary Ready. Chef. Go!™ dual-ovenable Cooking bags and Oven & Grilling Bags. Grocery stores, processors, distributors, and end users alike have been giving these bags rave reviews and you should join the excitement and see for yourself why.

Food Processors and Grocers are using these new culinary bags as an attractive and complete meal solution to showcase their fresh produce, meats, and seafood while giving their customers a quick and no-fuss method to quickly cook delicious and healthy pre-packaged meals without the mess, odor, and clean-up of traditional cooking methods. We offer Cooking Bags, which can be used in both ovens and microwaves, and Oven & Grilling Bags, which can be used in a conventional oven or barbeque. Both of these bags effortlessly steam-cook food to absolute perfection and can make a cooking novice look like a professional chef.

RCG_Microwave_Salmon_tableresizedThe products themselves comprise only one portion of the Ready. Chef. Go!™ program, since it’s designed to give grocers a foundation of support to make them successful. The entire Ready. Chef. Go!™ cooking bag line is supported with a complete program that provides a wealth of options including culinary solutions, in-store merchandising and crew-member training support. Culinary solutions include an exclusive variety of sixteen seasoned compound butters, and nine sauces designed specifically for the Ready. Chef. Go!™ program. These sauces and butters are made up of flavors from around the globe such as garlic scampi, mango teriyaki, yellow curry, and tomato basil paprika to cater to ever-evolving palates. Retailers can customize their program however they wish to meet the requirements of each of their locations and cater to their customers’ tastes. POS support includes a variety of counter signs, wall signs, floor clings and more to bring traffic to seafood counters. A variety of social media outlets are being used to promote Ready. Chef. Go!™ to consumers, and the program is also being supported with an aggressive advertising program in trade publications and electronic marketing initiatives. For more information on the Ready. Chef. Go!™ program, visit www.readychefgobags.com.

These new products are Elkay exclusive, and we’ll be on hand to demonstrate them and answer any questions that you may have. You can find us at booth 1204 and we hope to see you there!

Revolutionary Cooking and Grilling Bags – Exclusively from Elkay Plastics

Now is a very exciting time to be at Elkay Plastics. As you may have heard, we are introducing a revolutionary new line of cooking and barbeque bags that will change the landscape of home cooking. Our new cooking and BBQ bags are designed to bring you healthy, restaurant-quality food to the comfort of your own home without time-consuming food prep and cleanup.

 

Let’s start with the Cooking bags. Our new Cooking bags can be used to cook food in either the microwave or conventional oven. They don’t require venting, the food cooks evenly without needing to be turned, and because the mess is completely contained within the bag, practically no clean up is required. These self-sealing, self-venting bags are great for cooking fish, chicken,

fish-into-cooking-bags-4resizeshell fish, crab legs, lobster tails and all kinds of vegetables to absolute perfection. In fact, you will be pleasantly surprised with how good the results turn out, especially when cooked in the microwave! As someone who cooks a lot, I was very skeptical of cooking anything, much less seafood of any kind, in a microwave. Truth be told, the idea kind of disgusted me. I have tried the bag out before in the oven with great results, but due to the time taken for pre-heating and an additional 20 minutes of cooking time in the oven, the microwave presented a much quicker alternative. When I tried the bag out myself, I put a filet of salmon inside the bag over a bed of spinach, added seasoning and sauce, sealed the bag,

My Own Salmon on Spinach

My Own Salmon on Spinach

and then put it in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes. There wasn’t any fish smell since the bag locked in any odors. The salmon steamed perfectly and turned out moist, soft, and very tasty; just the way salmon should be. The secret of this self-venting bag is that when it is used in a microwave, the environment inside the bag is more like that of a pressure cooker which steams food to soft perfection. These bags cook food so well and so quickly in the microwave, two people cooked a meal of salmon, tilapia, shrimp scampi, string beans, and broccoli for 12 people in 20 minutes or less! A healthy and tasty meal for 12 people within 20 minutes is practically unheard of, but this product will change conventional wisdom.

 

Our new self-sealing BBQ bags are also very special in their own way. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but there have been countless times I have tried to grill burgers I prepared myself only to watch them break into pieces when I flip them. It seems that no matter how much egg or binders I use to keep the meat together, some of them would fall apart after flipping them on the grill. I also have had many instances when I barbequed or grilled for many guests and

Capture0011-2resizebecame overwhelmed from flipping so much food as well as remembering which foods I already flipped (and those that I didn’t). With these bags, flipping food is a thing of the past. One of the coolest features of our BBQ bags is that both sides of whatever you’re cooking, be it steak, fish, chicken, or vegetables will brown and cook evenly. With the clear window on top of the bag, all you have to do is watch as the food marinates in its own juices until it’s ready. “BBQ bag” may be a bit of a misnomer, since it can also be used to cook food in the oven or on a skillet. Another cool feature is that this bag makes it very difficult to dry out food on the grill. Chicken filets, which are notoriously easy to dry out if not grilled properly, will consistently come out soft and moist when cooked inside these special bags. These versatile and groundbreaking cooking and grilling bags are offered exclusively in the USA by Elkay Plastics. If you’re interested in being apart of this culinary revolution, please fill in our information request form.

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How Grocers Can Market to Shoppers and Provide Meaningful Solutions

Promotions such as discounts, coupons, and relevant special offers have long withstood the test of time with Grocery retailers, but are they truly what their customers are looking for? According to a recent article in Supermarket News, discounts and offers can help, but the modern shopper is looking for more. The age of mobile devices, social media and new technology has introduced the theme of making life convenient, easier, and more personalized for the consumer. Customers are individuals with unique interests and lifestyles and are looking for custom-tailored solutions that will save them time and make their lives easier.

A recent study by Genia Chechersky from emnos, a consumer insight consulting firm, found delithat 64% of customers want more relevant content from their grocers and 83% feel that their grocer is not providing enough resources or solutions that cater to their unique lifestyles. Many shoppers are less interested in what’s on sale and more interested in how to prepare a healthy meal for a family of four as quickly as possible. Some shoppers or their family members may have dietary restrictions and want ideas for quick meals built around the special diet. By providing education, tips and relevant information, Grocery retailers can market to customers with content that matters to them. Giving recipe ideas, wellness tips, advice, and best practices are a few simple and easy ways grocers can resonate with shoppers.

Grocers can also directly market to their shoppers by introducing new products and concepts that will help save their customers time, energy, and reduce hassle in their busy sushilives. In the 1990s and early 2000s, grocery retailers learned that they can help market to their customers as well as drastically grow their meat, seafood, produce and deli sales by providing items such as pre-marinated meats, fresh sushi, personalized salads (from salad bars), and custom made-to-order deli sandwiches. Grocers already had meat, seafood, produce and deli meats and cheeses available for sale by themselves and they capitalized on consumer demand by preparing them into quick take-home meals. With this in mind, Elkay Plastics is preparing to launch a revolutionary family of new products that will take this concept even further. The new products and concept will help Grocery retailers propel their meat, seafood, and produce sales while providing fast, fresh, healthy, and, most importantly, tasty meals that are prepared exactly how the customer likes. Our new products will provide solutions and value that will help grocers grow their sales, differentiate them from competitors, and more effectively market to and build loyalty with shoppers. Stay tuned for more information on this game-changing and unique product soon!

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

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9 x 12 Bags from Elkay Plastics

Get Ready for Rainy Season with Umbrella Bags

Spring is in the air and the rainy season is well on its way. While rain can cause major and obvious problems such as flooding and slippery roads, it can also cause slippery floors which can lead to slip and fall accidents.

Slip and fall accidents are often an afterthought for restaurant, store, and businesses owners, however, they can be exceptionally costly and create massive liabilities. A 2006 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics rated the average cost of a slip and fall injury at $28,000. Furthermore, a Center of Disease Control report found that 20 to 30% of slip and fall injuries are considered moderate to severe, meaning head injuries, fractures, and sprains. Out of all work-related injuries and workers’ compensation costs, 15% of them are attributed to slip and fall accidents. If the injuries, lost work time, and workers compensation claims were not bad enough by themselves, slip and fall accidents can also result in expensive, time-consuming and resource-draining lawsuits.umbrella_bag_stand-m

While not all slip and fall accidents are fully preventable, there are easy and economical measures businesses can take to protect customers, employees, and themselves. One simple and cheap way to keep floors dry is to use Umbrella Bags from Elkay Plastics. Umbrella Bags are a proven, convenient and economical way to help keep water off the floor during rainy weather. Keep them in lobbies, entrances, and other access points as a courtesy to patrons, guests and employees to place their umbrellas in during bouts of rain. Our Umbrella bags are made from strong and cost-effective high density polyethylene and are available in two sizes to fit a variety of umbrellas. The bags are on a convenient header pack that provides easy dispensing for the user and makes it easy to replenish the bags on the stand. Elkay umbrella bag header packs have 4 large holes on the sides and one in the center so they will be able to fit a variety of different hooks and stands, including our own. Elkay umbrella bags are a convenient and low cost way to protect your customers, employees, and your floors.

Item

Description

Size

Gauge (mil)

Quantity Header/Case

UB0724

Medium Umbrella Bag

7 x 24

0.7

100/1000

UB0735

Long Umbrella Bag

7 x 35

0.7

100/1000

UBSTAND

Umbrella Bag Stand

19 x 45

N/A

1

C-Stores Reached Record Sales in 2013

U.S. convenience stores reached record in-store sales in 2013, with sales climbing 2.4% to $204 billion. Combined with motor fuels sales of $491.5 billion, overall convenience store sales were $695.5 billion, according to figures released recently by the NACS.

The c-store industry’s in-store sales have seen rapid growth over the last decade, as consumers seek out more food and beverages on the go. In-store sales in 2013 were led by continued growth in foodservice up 2.4%. Convenience stores also account for 34.3% of all retail outlets in the United States, according to Nielsen, which is significantly higher than the U.S. total of other retail channels including drugstores (41,378 stores), supermarkets (37,459 stores) and dollar stores (24,853 stores).

Beyond sales, convenience stores are an important part of the economy. They employed 2.2 million people and generated $174.5 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2013. Overall, convenience stores sales represent one out of every 25 dollars of the entire $17.4 trillion U.S. gross domestic product.

Here’s how in-store sales were broken down in 2013:

• Tobacco (cigarettes and other tobacco products): 37.0% of in-store sales
• Foodservice (prepared and commissary food; hot, cold and dispensed beverages): 18.0%
• Packaged beverages (soda, alternative beverages, sports drinks, juices, water, teas, etc.): 15.5%
• Center of the store (candy; sweet, salty and alternative snacks): 9.9%
• Beer: 7.9%
• Other: 11.7%

Meanwhile, foodservice was the category that drove profits, accounting for 29.1% of gross profit dollars. Packaged beverages were second, accounting for 19.6% of gross profit dollars.

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

How Clear Packaging Can Help Grow Impulse Sales

image012Clear packaging can be used to improve the visibility, image and drive impulse sales of products leading to an increase in sales and net profits. Researchers have found that the transparency of food packaging does influence purchase decisions in positive ways depending on the size, visual appeal and healthiness of the food it contains. But when these same items are placed in white or craft paper packaging, the foods visual attractiveness has little overall effect on influencing purchases.

Retailers spend millions of dollars annually on advertising campaigns to encourage consumers to purchase more of their featured products. Packaging, however, is less expensive and, in some ways, can provide a more effective approach to driving consumer purchases. Consumers are looking for fast service, fresh ingredients and portability in choosing a meal solution. Clear packaging improves the visibility of product quality and drives sales.

Elkay’s “Fast Take” concept puts this idea to task by providing foodservice operators with a consumer preferred meal solution that meets the growing Grab-N-Go meal trend and customer preference for an easy to see, easy to buy meal option. The Fast Take solution consist of: A sandwich wrapped in BOPP or a small sub sandwich in a lip and tape bag, a cookie in a lip and tape cookie bag, a fruit (apple or banana), a bag of chips and a drink option (bottled water, juice, etc.) all placed in Elkay’s clear loop handled bag.  Easy to see, easy to buy and easy to carry out!image012

At the heart of the ‘Fast Take’ program is an elegant new polypropylene bag with convenient and sturdy loop handles that serves as a carrying bag for the purchased items and a sturdy and elegant lunch bag. The bag is robust enough to be reused several times, and at the end of its life is completely recyclable.

‘Fast Take’ can help increase sales by encouraging customers to purchase a complete meal such as a sandwich, chips, a drink and a piece of fruit or desert item rather than just one or two of those items. Operators who don’t offer grab and go food are missing out on fantastic sales opportunities. The “spend opportunity” gap for customers has been estimated to be as high as 92%, meaning that there’s potential to increase the spending of nearly every customer that walks in the door! The fast food industry learned the value of the ‘Combo Meal’ decades ago. ‘Fast Take’ helps foodservice operators put this concept to work for them as well with a low cost system to bundle drink, sandwich and snack in an attractive and handy package that appeals to the customer’s need for convenience and value.

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.

Improving Restaurant Food Safety

Foodborne illnesses are among the biggest problems facing the fast casual and quick­service industries, with one in six Ameri­cans each year becoming sick from dining out. Almost any type of food can spread ill­nesses, particularly meat, greens and dairy. Outbreaks tend to be traced to improper storage and unclean surfaces that allow bacteria to latch onto food products.

The cost of treating people with illnesses linked to restaurants annually tops $365 million in direct medical costs. Combating potential illnesses, however, doesn’t require extensive costs; there are a number of easy steps restaurants can take that involve little or no additional expenses.

  • Train workers to clean work stations, prep meals, and properly handle and store image009products
  • Workers must be aware of the resistance of highly contagious germs like Norovirus
  • Constant hand washing and sanitizing must be enforced across the restaurant.
  • Correct food storage is important to keep food from becoming contaminated.

Proper food storage ensures the retention of the nutritional value and functional property of a food product without compromising its aesthetic value. Perhaps the most common choice for commercial food storage is plastic storage bags. Often freezer-proof, they can be simple bags with a twist tie or they could have a zipper or press-seal to keep the air out. There are also specially designed bags for fruit and vegetable storage which allow some air into the bag. Fruits and vegetables can last for up to six weeks in such bags.

Restaurants need to maintain rigid quality assurance and sanitation standards to ensure that patrons always receive fresh, wholesome products. This can easily be achieved by the proper usage of polyethylene products for food storage such as plastic bags, plastic rolls, lock top reclosable bags and/or sandwich bags.

Check out our Foodservice line of products to help your establishment keep foods fresh and prevent the spread of foodborne illness.