15332 Thu, 10/02/2008 - 10:03am
By Andrea Lillo
With food prices on a continued climb, keeping perishables fresh is imperative for many consumers who are tired of throwing food—and money—away when it goes bad.
And for many consumers, there seems to be more fruits and vegetables at home, as people shop at their local green markets more and try to cook healthy meals at home. In response to consumers’ needs for fresh produce, several manufacturers have debuted food storage products recently to address the category.
“The average household throws away $1,200 worth of spoiled food per year,” said Jeff Stuebing, president and co-founder, Invental Laboratory. And standard food containers don’t help, he said, because they trap air in the container with the food. “The air causes oxidation, which accelerates the decomposition process.”
As a result, Invental launched its SealSaver line, which uses patented vacuum technology to keep foods fresher for five to seven times longer, said Stuebing, who is also co-inventor of it. For example, “Berries last three weeks, lettuce for a month and cheese for four months,” he said. A self-contained vacuum pump system built into the lid allows the user to remove the air in the container. They can also be used to marinate meat, vegetables and tofu in 20 minutes, instead of needing overnight to do so. In addition, they are BPH-free.
Currently, there is a set of three containers—in 24-, 48- and 80-ounce sizes—and lids in a set for $39.95, Stuebing said. Both lids and containers are dishwasher-safe and have a life span of 10 years. Other shapes will be added next year, such as square and rectangular, as well as a line of marinators. The SealSaver line is currently being tested and will soft launch this fall. It will roll out the first quarter of 2009, targeting specialty kitchen retailers, and then expand to major retailers the following year.
“Especially with today’s skyrocketing grocery bills and uncertain economic times, more people are looking for ways to save money,” said Carolyn Armstrong, vice president of Mo Products. “In the past, vacuum-sealing fresh food was usually a weekend project or an exercise after a successful harvest or hunting/fishing trip,” she said. “However, with the introduction of new easier-to-use vacuum sealers at a more affordable price, more consumers are taking advantage of the many benefits of vacuum sealing fresh food.”
It helps food last longer, she added, and consumers can take advantage of buying in bulk, as well as seasonal or on-sale items.
Mo Products debuted its Vacu-Seal cordless vacuum ($29.99) and zippered bags ($4.99 for 5-gallon bags or 7-quart bags) last November, and has more recently added stand-up bags that feature a square bottom and gusseted sides, which are easier to fill and have greater storage capacity. It also added five colors—raspberry, green apple, blueberry, cotton candy and candied silver—to its vacuum line. The Vacu-Seal zippered bags are reusable, airtight and dishwasher-safe. They feature a triple-layer lamination that includes the airtight properties of nylon in addition to polyethylene.
“Fresh food uses 10 times less energy than the production of frozen products,” said Jackie Perron, product development coordinator for Lifestyle Innovations. This holiday will be the company’s first major push of its premium line called oso*fresh. It also has a line called Everyday. Both lines use EPA-registered, FDA-approved micro-sized silver particles, which “have natural antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria on the surface of containers,” she said. The line will soon include micro-silver food storage bags as well, she added.
The oso*fresh line, not “a run-of-the-mill food storage food container,” she said, has an airtight locking seal and thicker gauge of plastic than the Everyday line. Currently available in nine sizes and five sets, the oso*fresh line retails between $3.99 for a set of two 10.6 ounce containers to $79.99 for a 56-piece set of oso*fresh containers. The Everyday line is priced from $6.99 to $49.99.
Evriholder Products is another company that has addressed the problem of aging produce and has come out with the Evri Fresh. A food-safe and FDA-approved sachet, the Evri Fresh extends the life of produce stored in the refrigerator by using ingredients that neutralize the ethylene gas that fruit and vegetables emit as they age. Shaped like a basket of fresh produce, it lasts up to three months.