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Friday, May 20, 2022

Flat-bottomed bags make the eating world go ’round

      Sharise Stamborski packs newly-made bags at Fischer Paper Products in Antioch

     When 7-Eleven stores in Texas suddenly needed to put their hot chicken legs in some kind of bag — thank you, COVID! — they had to find the right little bags to put them in. ASAP. So they made a desperate call to Fischer Paper Products in Antioch, 50 miles north of Chicago
     Typically, it takes 10 to 12 weeks for Fischer to get a new type of bag to a customer, assuming it isn’t one of the thousand varieties they stock. There is design, then creating prototypes, then testing them. Fischer keeps half a dozen fast-food warmers in their break room for product testing.
     “If the food is going to be sitting in this package in a warming oven for an hour, the materials have to hold up to heat or grease,” said Joshua Fischer, company president and grandson of the founder.
     In this case, they got the bag designed, tested and shipped to Texas in three weeks.
     Restaurants, in a two-year-plus state of continual emergency during the society-jarring disruptions of the pandemic — customers staying home, supply chains tied in knots — will gather to blink at each other, celebrate their survival and plot out a future at McCormick Place starting Saturday, for the National Restaurant Association Show, the first in three years.

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6 comments:

  1. nice nod to the queen song

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  2. This is a brilliant example of why I start everyday with EGD.

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  3. I think when Robert Fischer said "craft paper" to you, he meant Kraft paper, that ubiquitous brown stuff you can also buy in rolls for your own projects. Plug "Kraft" into Google Translate and you will get various suggested translations from its German origin such as strength, power or fortitude, all good qualities you want in a bag (although Trader Joe's is still going to double-up one into another at the checkout no matter what).

    One personal touch I have noticed over the years on the bottom of both boxes and bags is that there is sometimes the name of the worker who made it, or at least supervised the process: "Made with pride by [name here] and crew." Sometimes it's just a first initial and last name, too often just an anonymous date code, but I always like finding those little touches of humanity in our everyday stuff.

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  4. Of course, all true EGD fans love a column like this! : ) After reading it via the generous spread in the e-edition of the S-T, I looked forward to coming here, where I was 60 - 70% sure there'd be an additional photo featuring the facade of “the most beautiful factory I’ve ever seen in my life.” D'oh!

    Andy, I'm guessing Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have carefully calculated the importance of double-bagging, whatever the "Kraft" of their bags. The only time I'll use a single bag is if all I'm putting in it is chips or cereal or other light fare, unaccompanied by any jars or bottles. Since we reuse the bags on future trips, we have had some handle breakdowns over the years, but not many. I'm actually kinda surprised that those handles hold up as well as they do, but they're a crucial feature when compared with the handle-less brown bags used in the olden days.

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    1. When I reuse the big paper grocery bags, I often have to staple the handles, as they are rarely glued very well.

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