Saco Vitta Blue Fish Bags

Spanish packaging producer Papeles El Carmen has launched its patented range of fresh food bags into the UK and Irish market. The company says its bags offer seafood retailers several advantages over traditional packaging.

The Sacovitta range can be used for fresh foods — from fresh meat, fish, cheese and cooked meats to bakery products — and the bags are also suitable for freezing.

Branded Saco Vitta fish bags for Roberts of Dalkey

There are three formats available; one is a leak-proof bag with a single-use adhesive seal, suitable for getting wet products such as fish home without causing problems associated with leaking or smell. The hermetically sealed bags mean no secondary packaging is needed, but the bag cannot be re-used.

The second version is a resealable bag that can be opened and closed by the consumer several times, and can help extend the life of cheese or charcuterie in the fridge by several days.

The third, Sacovitta Vacuum, can be used in combination with a vac-pack machine in-store or by a small producer to offer maximum shelf life. It also incorporates a resealable flap that can be used once the consumer has opened the vac-pack.

The bags are also fully customizable, and retailers can overprint the packaging with their own logos, should they so wish.

Main benefits for fishmongers
The main product for fishmongers and fish counters is the Sacovitta leak-proof bag because it eliminates the need for additional packaging and can be used for storing, transporting and also freezing fish.

“At the moment, for fresh fish, fishmongers will usually pack with paper and then put in a plastic bag to avoid leaks,” said Jana Kunecová, export director at Papeles El Carmen.

“But what are the problems with this? The leaks will not be 100 percent avoided, there will be leaks. Also there will be a smell because the bags are not hermetically sealed, so the customer will get a smell in the car, in the fridge, and it is also not so hygienic.”

By using Sacovitta bags instead retailers can realize both cost savings and is also more environmentally friendly. “This is one advantage, reducing the amount of packaging material needed,” said Kunecová.

And the hermetically sealed bag means the fishmonger can seal it manually with the adhesive strip, and
this removes the need for any sealing machinery. “There is no leak, there is no smell coming out, and you can use the same bag for freezing and defrosting,” said Kunecová.

Another advantage is the bag has a transparent window so the customer can see the product inside the bag and know what they have in the fridge or freezer.

“At the moment the fresh bags are being used by supermarkets and small shops across Europe,” said Kunecová, including clients such Auchan, COOP, Systeme U, Migros, SPAR, Consum, and E. Leclerc.

Developed in the Spanish market five years ago, the company only starting promoting the product on the international market two years ago.

“We already sell in Migros in Switzerland, Systeme U in France and Auchan in Spain — we will be in Auchan in France in the next 3 months — and now we are entering the big retailers in the Dutch, Croatian and German markets,” she said.

In Ireland though our Sole Irish distributor Asgaard Packaging, the counter bags are already in  fishmongers – one of which is the Dublin-based fishmonger Wrights of Marino.

Jeffrey Wright, owner of Wrights of Marino, says the bags offer a sense of professionalism and have marketing advantages. “The bags are very good, before we were just using a plastic bag,” he said. “Now we use the bags with our logos on and it looks a lot more professional. They are a lot better than the normal standard plastic bags; the seal on it is very good, it stops the smell in the bag and looks a lot more professional going out to the consumer.”

While some might consider the bags “pricey” there are some cost savings to be had, said Wright. For example, in the past maybe fishmongers would have to double up on bags, or maybe even use three, now they’re only using one bag.

But the main benefit is the professional look, said Wright. “It is good for us as it is the same branding as our carrier bags, so when some people do not want to use those and just carry them out it is good advertising for us when they’re walking down the street with it.”

There is, however, a slight downside to the bags, said Wright in terms of the size of the standard bag. According to him, the bag is a “matter of a few millimeters” too small to pack things such as whole mackerel or whole sea bass and seal it.

Nevertheless, Wright said he would recommend the bags to other fishmongers, and thinks they will take off.

Text taken from a recent article published by Seafood International by Dominic Welling.