NEW YORK— While bakeware continues to be sought after, vendors have noted that overall, the bakeware segment has struggled a bit in 2018 going into 2019. However, they said, the focus of the industry overall this year is the durability and quality that consumers have been demanding for the last year.
“Home chefs are looking for ease of use and durability. For the last few years, industry research has shown that quality/performance is the most important driver in consumer purchase preference and Gibson’s experience with our retailer partners backs this up,” said Alex Wittner, svp/housewares, Gibson Overseas.
Jennifer Dalquist, evp/sales and marketing at Nordic Ware, noted that younger consumers are looking for goods that are going to last, instead of ones they will need to replace in a short amount of time.
“Because they are focused on minimizing waste, younger generations are seeking kitchen products that are of higher quality and durability because they last longer. The strength of our economy at the moment has helped to fuel this as well, as consumers have a little more discretionary income. This trend toward premium quality goods has been strengthening over several years, and we don’t expect it to subside anytime soon,” she said.
Additionally, as bakeware came off of a sweet year in 2017, it seems that consumers are still looking for traditional-style bakeware. According to vendors, metal bakeware products are still on top, but silicone is gaining ground.
“Metal and silicone are the materials growing in the bakeware category. Metal holds the majority of the share and we see pizza and sets delivering double digit growth from the previous year. We have also seen newness with color and texture in metal bakeware that continues to drive sales in this category. Silicone has low share but had significant growth with traditional bakeware shapes, reaching out beyond its usual shaped cavity mold pan styles,” said Lisa Paparella, director of product management, Wilton.
Jim Teml, evp/U.S. division, Trudeau, also said this trend is continuing, however, it is stronger at a mid-level pricepoint than in lower or higher ones. Trudeau, said Teml, set out to give the consumer the best of both worlds, introducing both new metal and silicone goods this year.
“We see the consumer still embracing all materials in bakeware at mid-tier pricepoints when they provide a true point of difference. Our patented structured silicone line and new non-stick metal collection hitting the market this year fills both gaps in silicone and non-stick metal,” he said.
However, noted Tim Feeney, president of bakeware, pantryware and cookware, Lifetime Brands, he has seen aluminum steel take off in the higher pricepoints as consumers are willing to pay more for higher-quality goods.
While metal and silicone may have the spotlight now, Gibson’s Jodi Fleishman, director of marketing and licensing, predicts that ceramic bakeware will be having a moment sooner rather than later.
“Metal bakeware will continue to dominate, but we expect to see increased demand for ceramic bakeware options that provide more fashionable designs. While ceramic bakeware allows for differentiation with various designs, metallic and glass bakeware items are harder to differentiate in the market because they generally look the same,” she said.
Multi-Use And Multi-Pot
In bakeware, said vendors, it continues to be about multi-use goods. As sheet pans went from a marketed bakeware piece that has crossed over into cookware, there will continue to be a demand for offerings to be used in a variety of ways.
Additionally, vendors predict that there will be an influx of new branded goods in the market this year as well, creating more lifestyle options for consumers that consume the kitchen, not segment it. One of these segments, explained several vendors, is the growth of the Instant Pot multi-cooker. This demand, which has hit the cookware industry hard, has now crossed over into the bakeware category as consumers are using their multi-cookers to create baked goods as well.
“We will continue to see the growth of segments like pizza, along with the use of existing bakeware items that can be used in Instant Pots like springform pans and smaller size pans,” said Paparella.
Feeney, too, explained that Lifetime has seen this market take off and will continue to watch this segment closely in the upcoming year.
“We expect to see more multi-cooker related items in the market in 2019 as the cooker segment expands,” he said.
Sweet And Savory
The healthy eating trend that began driving bakeware sales will not be dying down, said vendors.
“We have definitely seen a shift in how people are using their bakeware. As recently as five years ago the average consumer would think more about sweets when baking was mentioned. Now we’re seeing people purchase bakeware with the intention of preparing meals for their family more than sweets. This trend is here to stay with new and exciting recipes coming out daily for roasted veggies, baked salmon meals, and more,” said John Bundy III, president, USA Pan.
Wilton has continued to see a lift in pans showing more savory applications, while younger adults are beginning to demand easy ways to make meals at home. Sheet pans, cookie sheets and muffin pans allow consumers to create savory meals, from breakfast to dinner.
And it’s not just those goods that are crossing over, noted Lifetime’s Feeney. “More people have been using their traditional sheet pans and cooling racks for both baking and roasting inside the oven, using the pans for a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Baking racks have become more important SKUs in the bakeware assortment,” he said.
Social media influencers, too, are still bringing new opportunities for bakeware to the market, noted vendors. These include anywhere from partnerships featuring certain products, photos that seemingly highlight a product and bringing new recipes to eager eyes and stomachs that are increasingly looking to expand their baking repertoire.
According to Darrin Johnston, managing director of Meyer Corp., social media is a platform that continues to push the bakeware industry forward.
“Social media is an excellent vehicle for influencers and all users of the social platforms to share images, ideas, and how-tos that inspire others. Social sharing gives everyone the opportunity to learn from others and bring their own ideas to the table— literally,” he said.
Feeney added, “Social media influencers push out new trends and allow consumers to feel more comfortable trying new recipes. They have also inspired consumers to post their finished recipes on social media with pride; both successes and failures can go viral,” he said.