Reepack ReeEco Tray Sealer + Torn Apron
While many people found operating a business successfully during a pandemic to be an extremely challenging endeavor, Joe Cavey thought it would be the perfect time to take a leap of faith and launch his.
Torn Apron bills itself as restaurant-quality, grab-and-go meals that cater mainly to business travelers and other people on the move.
Five months later … so far so good.
“One thing I discovered in the early parts of COVID was that a lot of menus shifted a bit toward meal solutions, so it made me think that this may be the right time to launch Torn Apron,” Cavey said. “People seem to want more packaged foods that are high quality, clean label, and have some extended shelf life, not only for the consumer themselves, but for the retailers.”
Unlike other prepared meal companies that follow a business model catering directly to consumers, Cavey has tailored Torn Apron to offer delicious, chef-prepared meals that are sold in hotels, grocery stores, micro-markets and convenience stores, coffee shops, healthcare facilities and other locales. Cavey himself is a chef, and he prepares each and every meal to be ready from the microwave in minutes.
“I thought the timing of it was good because when people go back to work, whatever that looks like, they’re not going to be going out to restaurants as much as in the past. I think people will be looking for solutions either at home or at their desk,” Cavey said. “If I can offer something of restaurant quality that crosses over to a lot of demographics that traditionally buy a lot of prepared foods, I think that’s a winning formula.
“Torn Apron is a meal solution that offers the retailer a very high-quality product that can be in the same display case as traditional grab-and-go items, but doesn’t have the same perishability and supply chain-challenges that shorter life, more perishable items have.”
Helping to reach that extended level of freshness Cavey is looking for in his meals is the ReeEco automatic tray sealer from Reepack (https://www.ossid.com/products/reeeco/). This machine merges high performance and low power consumption – all in a compact footprint. The ReeEco operates with electricity and does not require expensive compressed air. The standard infeed conveyor allows for up to three loading positions; the machine comes with easy tooling changeover and a user-friendly control panel. Ossid (https://www.ossid.com/) is the North American master distributor of the Reepack brand.
Cavey said he researched several OEM packaging suppliers, and found that the Ossid/Reepack brand had all the characteristics of operation, customer support and value he was looking for in a vacuum skin packaging machine.
“After taking a tour of their facility in North Carolina, meeting the team and seeing the machinery, it just became a no-brainer,” he said. “It was the right mix of performance for what I need. It’s a fully automatic machine, but it was entry-level, so, it was the perfect blend of startup functionality yet with enough capacity to get me to the next level.”
Cavey received his ReeEco tray sealer in December 2020, and began packaging his first meals in early February from an expanded location in Owings Mills, Maryland. He’s currently offering eight different meals, such as Moroccan Style Pot Roast, Meatballs Marinara, and Roasted Sweet Potato Curry. All his meals are vacuum packaged in 4-inch by 8-inch sustainably-produced food trays. In the coming months he’s planning on adding another eight meals and possibly a second tray size.
“The ReeEco is the perfect tray sealer for Torn Apron because it provides the highest degree of functionality and speed,” said Tony Kaufman, Northeast Regional Sales Manager, Ossid. “The ReeEco provides a secure package solution while maintaining the visual appeal of the meal.”
Currently, Cavey is packaging up to 1,000 meals a day, four days a week for distribution mainly throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Presentation is important for a brand like Torn Apron, which is why vacuum skin packaging was the right choice for Cavey.
“It’s the perfect combination of what I like to call function meets fashion, because I’m very presentation-focused when it comes to food,” he said. “As a chef I really want the food to be the standout, I’m not very big into really elaborate sleeves with a lot of artwork on it. I want my label to convey the brand in a minimalistic way, and let the color and beauty of the food pop through, and that’s what the vacuum skin packaging does.”
Five months after installation, the ReeEco automatic tray sealer is doing its part to help make Torn Apron into a successful startup.
“Ossid and Reepack are providing a foundation for me to grow this business; they’re part of the foundation, and they are absolutely a fundamental part of my business right now,” Cavey said. “I spent a lot of time and energy investigating different suppliers. I was only going to buy something new, from someone I trust and that would stand behind their products. Ossid and Reepack have done that; my trust has been well-placed with them.”
“The relationship we are building with Torn Apron, and all our customers, means everything to Ossid,” Kaufman said. “If you don’t have trust in a company or its equipment, you are not going to move forward. We try very hard as a brand to instill both trust and confidence in everything we do. It makes me feel good to know that we’re helping a startup company like Torn Apron start on its road to success.”