Plastic zipper bags are the preferred medium to transport lots of food items to a tailgate party. They are cheap, convenient and keep the food fresher because of the tight seal. What they aren’t very good at is standing up or keeping the top open once they are placed on a table. We had the opportunity to test out the BagBowl, which is a simple and affordable invention that allows you to take any size zipper bag and turn it into a bowl.
Simply stated, the BagBowl gives structure to an otherwise limp and flaccid plastic bag so that it can stand up in the shape of a bowl. Invented by one brother (Kevin Fleming) but perfected by the other (Brian Fleming), the original idea for the BagBowl was made out of Popsicle sticks and gaffer tape. Originally it was used to carry water in a zipper bag to the dog park and when the dog needed a drink, the bag could be made into a water dish by placing it in the sticks held together by tape. Since the original intent was designed for pet owners, Brian Flemming saw the potential for other uses, most notably tailgating. Being a University of Missouri alumnus, he saw the ease of clean up after a tailgate if the bag bowl was expanded to be used with other zipper bag sizes.
Feeling they had caught lightning in a bottle, the brothers were recently on ABC’s Shark Tank and presented their invention to the “sharks” to see if they could get an investor. Lori Greiner known as the “warm blooded shark” liked their product enough to the point she invested in it and will be featuring it on her QVC show. You can tune in to see the launch of the BagBowl on Wednesday, July 24th at 11 AM EST on Lori Greiner’s Clever & Unique Creations show on QVC. The BagBowl will be offered at a low featured price during the show.
We were sent an Eight Piece BagBowl Starter Kit to test out and review. The BagBowl starter set sells for $8.99 and comes with eight bowls in four sizes — standard sandwich (2), quart (3), 1 gallon (2) and 2 gallon (1) — and folds down to thickness of about two stacked quarters for easy storage.
(Disclaimer: We did receive a sample of the BagBowl Starter Kit for free. The fact these samples were provided to us free of charge in no way influenced our opinion of the product nor did it impact our ability to test and review the product fairly and objectively.)
We tested three of the sizes of BagBowls thinking three would be enough to get a feel for how the product performs. We took some Kettle Corn and placed it a gallon zipper bag, some sourdough bread slices in a quart bag and some pretzel chips in a sandwich bag. We filled all of these bags with the snacks all the way to the top to the point we had to shake the bags to pack down the contents in order to zip the top closed. Why we have included this small detail will come later.
We placed the BagBowl over the closed bag to make it rigid and stand up on a flat surface. We used the granite counter top at home but a tailgating table out in the lot would work the same. Once placed on the bag, the BagBowl gave the zipper bag some rigidity and made it stand up whereas without it, the bag would flop over onto its side. We started with the gallon bag holding the kettle corn. As we opened the bag and turned the sides of it down to hold the bag onto the top of the BagBowl, we were losing some of the popcorn out onto the counter. We soon learned after trying out the other two sizes of BagBowls that by filling the bags all the way to the top, you will risk losing some contents during the folding process. If you are going to use the BagBowl while out tailgating, I would suggest filling your zipper bags 3/4 to 4/5ths full but still leave some room to fold down the sides.
As you can see in the above gallery, (click on images for larger view) the BagBowl made the zipper bags into a bowl. They stood up straight and their tops stayed open just as if you had emptied the contents into a plastic bowl. Once the contents of the bag were fully eaten, there was no need to wash out a plastic bowl. All we had to do was throw away the bag and fold up the BagBowl. And the BagBowl folds flat so it takes up very little room in your tailgating kit unlike plastic bowls. Also consider, if you are using disposable bowls, that is less space in a landfill which makes BagBowls “green” for the environment.
After thoroughly testing the BagBowl, we are going to say that they are “Tailgate Approved”.
Priced at under $10 for a complete set, they can be used and reused over and over and if they do get a spill on them, they are dishwasher safe. The BagBowl will definitely be a new addition to my regular tailgating kit. I am already planning on putting the chips in a gallon bag and the salsa in a quart bag for the upcoming San Diego Chargers vs Seattle Seahawks preseason game on August 8th. I will just place the BagBowls over the bags and have two bowls of chips and salsa at the ready and not have to worry about washing out any bowls when I get home. Without the BAgBowl, I would never think of putting salsa in a zipper bog and expect any of my tailgate party guests to dip their chips in it. Now that problem has been solved.
As mentioned before, the BagBowl starter kit costs less than $10 and if you tune into the QVC show, may be offered for even less. To learn more about the BagBowl or to buy a starter kit of your own, visit: buybagbowl.com