Wenatchee, Wash.-based Columbia Marketing International is expanding pouch bag availability for its Sweet Gourmet Pears program.

Introduced on a test basis last year, the pouch bag was well-received by consumers and retailers, according to a news release from the company.

“CMI saw an opportunity to reach convenience oriented consumers with a new premium bag,” Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing for CMI, said in the release.

Lutz said the pouch bag is a big upgrade over poly bags retailers have traditionally used.

“We saw an opportunity to introduce a high-quality pouch bag to raise consumer expectations and increase transaction size for retailers. That’s exactly what we’ve done with our new Sweet Gourmet Pears pouch.”

This season, CMI is launching the Sweet Gourmet Pears 3-pound pouch bag, with bartlett and anjou varieties, in select stores across the U.S., according to the release.

The bags have been designed to complement the Sweet Gourmet Pears program available in 2-pound packages of bartlett, anjou, red and bosc pear varieties, according to the release.

Katharine Grove, marketing specialist for CMI, said the test program was conducted late last year when CMI worked with a large eastern retailer, according to the release.

The test program found that bulk sales were maintained for the retailer while the pouch bag offerings for Sweet Gourmet Pears drove almost $900,000 in incremental sales, Grove said in the release.