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News

Fruit bar marketer pears up with ExxonMobil Chemical to package unique new product

ExxonMobil Chemical Co : 20 January, 2004  (New Product)
You might find this product in any number of exotic locations, from the camouflage rucksack of a young American marine, to a storage bin aboard the Space Shuttle or even the coat pocket of a mountain climber high atop the Himalayas. It's not a high-tech compass or a new, multi-purpose cell-phone; it's what Gorge Delights advertises as an all-natural fruit bar that uses ExxonMobil Chemical's BICOR
You might find this product in any number of exotic locations, from the camouflage rucksack of a young American marine, to a storage bin aboard the Space Shuttle or even the coat pocket of a mountain climber high atop the Himalayas. It's not a high-tech compass or a new, multi-purpose cell-phone; it's what Gorge Delights advertises as an all-natural fruit bar that uses ExxonMobil Chemical's BICOR® and OPPalyte® oriented polypropylene film to achieve an astounding two-year shelf life.

Located in the idyllic Pacific Northwest, Gorge Delights traces its roots back to Bob and Norma Willis, who in 1950 purchased 30 acres of orchard land in Hood River, Oregon. The Willis family, now sons Gary, Mike and Rick; plus two grandsons, Chip and Ryan, currently have more than 300 acres of fruit in production.

Rick Willis remembered the old days, when people would stop off at fruit stands along the road. They would pick up fruit, take it home and let it ripen over a few days until it was ready to eat. Now, he notices, people do not want to wait, they expect their fruit to be fresh and ready to eat, and in a form easily shared with others or stored to finish later. This observation led to a thriving business opportunity now known as Gorge Delights, which produces value-added fruit products.

Gorge Delights produces its Pear Bars using a process licensed from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA worked for several years and spent millions of dollars to perfect and patent the manufacturing method in an attempt to add healthy alternatives to traditional military meals. This process now enables Gorge Delights to create an all-natural fruit bar that doesn't crumble and stays fresh without the need for artificial preservatives.

Julie Stevens, director of marketing, explains how the bars are made, 'We start by pureeing the fruit to capture its freshness and flavor. The puree is then dried before being reconstituted using the USDA patented process.'

While the USDA developed its patented process to create healthy and flavorful alternatives to existing military meals, Gorge Delights uses it to create a delicious product that is hard to categorize.

'The Pear Bar appeals to numerous markets,' explains Stevens. 'It's not a traditional fruit bar per se, but it has the equivalent of two pears; it's not an energy bar, yet it provides 23 grams of carbohydrates; and it's not a true diet bar, but with 11 percent of the daily recommended amount of dietary fiber, it can compete in that market.'

In addition to the nutritional benefits of the bar, Stevens points out that the product's physical attributes also contribute to its marketability. Not only does the Gorge Delights Pear Bar retain the wonderful flavor and nutrition of two whole pears, but it also maintains its soft, chewy texture in cold conditions.

'Beyond traditional grocery and convenience stores, we can sell this bar into outdoor sport and ski shops as an alternative to regular snack bars because it remains chewy at low temperatures,' says Stevens. 'Because our Gorge Delights Pear Bars compete in numerous markets, and because they are all-natural, we needed a packaging material that would allow us to stand out on a crowded store shelf while offering maximum protection and shelf life.'
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