Sponsored by Sealed Air Corporation
Finding a better way to accomplish a routine task can bring multiple advantages to a restaurant. As a result, foodservice operators are always on the lookout for ideas which will enable them to better control kitchen operations.
Something as basic as portioning out condiments or sauces presents a case in point. Traditionally, operators have scooped condiments and sauces such as ketchup, mayonnaise and tartar sauce from large containers and transferred them to squeeze bottles to apply to menu items, or even more laboriously, spread them with a spatula.
Previously, there hadn't been an optimum portion control dispensing system for these flavoring agents, which play an increasingly important role in the preparation of sandwiches, burgers and other handheld items. This category — which also includes tacos, burritos, breakfast sandwiches and wraps — accounted for nearly $1 out of every $4 spent in the foodservice industry last year, totaling just over $205 billion in sales, according to a study by the Chicago-based market research firm Technomic.
That’s the appeal of a new portion-control pouch-dispensing solution for the condiments and sauces which play an important part in countless foodservice orders each day.
Enter Cryovac® FlexPrep™, a new pouch system from Sealed Air Corporation that makes it easier to meet the demand for varied, fresh condiments and sauces with improved operational efficiency.
FlexPrep is a film pouch solution filled with a condiment or sauce, available in sizes ranging from 8 to 26 ounces. The pouch fits into a standard condiment dispensing apparatus without the need to puncture, cut or pull off a tab. Kitchen staffers can just press the dispenser trigger to apply a consistent, measured amount of product ranging from a one-eighth to 1 ounce in portion size.
“We saw a need throughout foodservice — in both commercial and noncommercial segments and in both chains and mom-and-pop operations — for portion control of condiments on sandwiches,” says Lucian Gray, director, North America-Business Development in Foodservice at Sealed Air Corporation’s Food Care division. “Some operators may have portion control, but in a format that is obsolete, expensive and taxing on the environment.
“This is a flexible pouch which does the job with important advantages,” adds Gray. “It will have greater yield. It will be less expensive to purchase, and it will have greater operational efficiency.”
The FlexPrep system is a clear improvement over inefficient, messy ways of handling condiments and sauces, Gray says. “It’s an opportunity for operators who use squeeze bottles now to get portion control, as well as for those who already use a dispensing apparatus, but want greater yield, better flexibility and lower cost of ownership.”
Because FlexPrep is a hermetically sealed pouch, it nearly doubles the shelf life of certain products, thus reducing waste. It prevents cross contamination and the entry of foreign objects into the product for greater food safety. There is no risk of employee injury because it does not have to be cut or punctured. It can be used at ambient temperature, chilled or heated, as well as frozen for storage. And in addition to dispensing smooth products, it also applies condiments and sauces which have particulates up to one-eighth inch in size, such as tartar sauce, relish, guacamole and salsa.
In addition, when operators switch from rigid packaging to FlexPrep’s flexible film pouch, it results in a 60-percent lower carbon footprint, which is important to many eco-conscious consumers. “It saves room in landfills,” says Gray. “It takes up less space in shipping and less space in the walk-in cooler and storage room.”
Also noteworthy is the fact that FlexPrep can be produced in a variety of package sizes. Operators can specify high-volume condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup in pouches which hold as much as 26 ounces. Yet they can also get products which they use in smaller amounts — such as a sriracha aioli sauce for a limited-time offering — in FlexPrep pouches as small as 8 ounces. “That means less waste and greater opportunity to offer varied flavors,” says Gray.
The longer shelf life and flexible sizes of FlexPrep “give brands greater license to bring more adventurous flavors to their customers,” Gray says.
That is important because consumers are increasingly drawn to global flavors. Ethnic condiments, such as sriracha, sambal, chimichurri, gochujang and zhug, were voted a hot trend by 59 percent of the professional chefs polled in the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot 2017 Culinary Forecast. Moreover, the Mintel Foodservice Trends 2017 report declared that “a new wave of global cuisines is emerging in the U.S., fueled by consumer curiosity and greater exposure to international foods and flavors.”
Ultimately, FlexPrep promises greater customer satisfaction in tandem with improved operations. “All brands are striving for consistency,” says Gray. “Now their customers can walk into the restaurant knowing that they will get the same juicy burger with their favorite sauce put on perfectly every time.”