NEW YORK— Consumer demand for cookware quality and durability continues to drive the cookware and bakeware coatings industry when it comes to creating new, innovative products to bring to the market.
“The two biggest factors we see in consumer demand continue to be durability and safety,” said Hendekea Azene, PPG global business director, industrial coatings. PPG acquired Whitford in 2019. “Consumers have always come to expect a level of convenience in non-stick cookware, but now that expectation has grown beyond just their food release properties. They want their coatings to last longer, stand up to more frequent use and offer added conveniences, like being dishwasher safe. They also want to know that the surfaces they use are safe for their families.”
Azene explained that PPG’s Eclipse HB coating is designed to give consumers the durability they are seeking. It is a three-coat system that is designed to offer performance and durability against abrasion and scratching.
“It also offers a high level of convenience. Users can put it in the dishwasher and use metal utensils without compromising its durability,” Azene said.
Ravin Gandhi, CEO and co-founder of GMM Nonstick Coatings, also noted that he is continuing to see consumers seek quality and durability on cookware and bakeware pieces. In addition, he is also noticing an increased demand for packaging and marketing materials that call out durable attributes.
Gandhi explained that, especially on the higher-end, he is seeing interest in PEEK resin coatings and retail partners have been asking GMM to highlight the coatings use in its packaging materials. Gandhi also said that diamond-infused products are poised for growth as consumers are drawn to its health attributes.
“Diamond-infused coatings seem to have a lot of consumer appeal. Diamonds are a clean substance and we are already seeing some bigger companies use diamond-infused coatings,” he said.
Another disrupter to the coatings segment, as far as both cookware and bakeware is concerned, is social media marketing and the growth of influencers.
“What is really new is the obsession with unboxing, viral social media videos and YouTube. We now have to provide real-time digital responses to questions from influencers or a celebrity from the cooking world, and many of these are focused on durability,” he said.
The social media trend has been good for other factors as far as coatings are concerned as well, said Gandhi. He noted that with the influx of educated consumers, there needs to be a noticeable difference in a product to ensure satisfaction and thwart negative reactions.
“The second an influencer or celebrity would show an old versus a new product online, they are going to be called out if nothing is different. This has increased testing and quality control because companies need to know the experience needs to be fully positive,” he said.
As far as type of coatings are concerned, both Gandhi and Azene are predicting that ceramic-coated cookware will level off a bit during the next year, while PTFE-based coatings will seemingly take the lion’s share of purchases.
“Ceramic coatings were on trend the last few years, but we have already begun to see that interest level off. The durability and release of PTFE coatings continues to draw consumers and leads in the market,” said Azene.
However, adds Gandhi, ceramic-coated bakeware is poised to see an increase as both new bakeware products as well as refreshed bakeware goods are taking advantage of the increased durability features.
“Ceramic coatings are very functional in bakeware and there are really no downsides there, so we see it growing on this side of the business,” he said.
Colors, too, have shifted a bit. According to Azene, the trend has been leaning towards more nature-inspired tones.
“Heading into 2020, we saw a strong push for earth tones; lot of blues, greens and grays. Our 2020 colors are perfectly on trend, with a very diverse palette that also includes a few bolder options that break from this a bit,” said Azene.
Gandhi predicts that color trends will continue to follow the trends found in the fashion industry, however, there is one color that is here to stay.
“During the last few years, blue sparkle has been a mainstay in the market. We are not expecting that to go away anytime soon,” he said.