DUNCAN, S.C. -- Cryovac here has expanded its film technology to include a specialized bag for raw beef and pork ribs.
The packaging film supplier is using its "boneguard bag" technology for the new rib bag to eliminate leaking and give ribs up to 21 days of shelf life.
"Ribs can be a year-round item," said Jim Mize, director of meat marketing. "Retailers can promote the category."
With the new bagging system, ribs packaged in single- and double-sized portions can go directly into the retail meat case. The vacuum package item also gives retailers tighter inventory controls.
"The problem we are trying to solve is how to address out-of-stocks and remove shrink from ribs," said Mize. "Ribs are a grill item, the success of which is often at the whim of the weather. We wanted to seek a way to get additional shelf life into the item."
Typically, when retailers receive ribs they open the bag, portion out the products and overwrap them on trays. If the retail-packaged ribs sell out over the course of a day, the retailer has problems with out-of-stocks.
"Two questions this system answers, is how often have rib items been in an out-of-stock situation at a time when they would have been sold, and how often items have not sold and been lost to shrink due to bone discoloration," said Mize.
The new film technology may also mean that retailers who may be offering only a single rib item can expand their offerings to a full product range, he said.
The packaging is designed to be consumer-friendly. The new technology includes a clear patch instead of total opaque film on the bag. This is done to show off the products.
"We wanted to bring the packaging to the point that it would be acceptable to the consumer and still protect the products," said Mize.
"The product really merchandises in the bag well," he said. "We have been able to address shrink and sell more ribs. This solves a retail problem that will help retailers serve consumers better."
Ribs can be packaged in whole or half slabs, in portions for one or two people.
"We have taken beef back ribs, cut them in half and stacked them so that they take up less space in the case," Mize said. "We have also seen spareribs packaged."