A recipe for success stays on packaging

11/16/2012 09:10:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

Vicky BoydVicky Boyd, Staff WriterAs a kid, I remember helping my mom make pumpkin pies during the holidays.

She’d pull out this old notebook and thumb through the dog-eared pages until she found the Libby’s canned pumpkin label that she’d pasted in years before.

On the back was the ONLY pumpkin pie recipe that I think we Boyds have ever used.

Imagine my horror years later when I was making a pumpkin pie with private-labeled canned pumpkin that didn’t have the Libby’s recipe on the back. I had to call my mom and have her read it over the phone.

In this day and age of the Food Network and foodies, recipes have risen to a new height.

Sure, you can put cooking instructions and recipes on point-of-sale materials, such as cards or pads.

But the printed material can be pushed into a corner or create litter on the grocery floor, much to the consternation of produce managers.

Even if shoppers do pick them up, POS materials can get lost in the grocery bag or purse and don’t make it to the kitchen.

A small but growing number of growers and shippers have started including recipes or cooking instructions on packaging.

This makes a lot of sense since the information is a convenient reference that will follow the commodity into the kitchen and most likely won’t get lost in the shuffle.

Packing on the recipes

The Denver-based U.S. Potato Board, for example, has teamed with the National Onion Association, Greeley, Colo., on a cross-promotional program using colorful paper tote bags.

The bags contain information about onions on one side and potatoes on the other. On each end is a different recipe using both commodities.

Having that information on packaging takes on even more importance if it’s a specialty item that consumers may not be familiar with.

Tanya Fell, who markets specialty onions and fingerling potatoes for Strohauer Farms, LaSalle, Colo., laughed about her first encounter with the pint-sized spuds when she was living in south Texas and working for the Texas Produce Association.

“I remember shopping at H-E-B and looking at these funny potatoes,” she said. “I thought, that’s so cool, but what would you do with them?”

I had a similar reaction when Harry Strohauer, owner, gave me a mesh bag of his fingerlings several years ago.

He quickly pointed to the plastic wrap on the bag that had a couple of easy-to-prepare, tasty recipes and handed me a brochure that had several others.

Credit Fell for his recipes and other resources.

She is working with a recipe developer and package designer on a similar project for Strohauer’s line of specialty onions.

I could have Googled fingerling recipes, but that’s too much like work, and there’s something reassuring about recipes on packaging.

Much like the Libby’s pumpkin label, my mom kept Strohauer’s recipe brochure and bag wrap and pulls them out when I visit and want to make a fingerling dish.

vlboyd@thepacker.com

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