Cookware Bolsters Open Stock Strategies To Win Today’s Home Chefs

The changing behavior of consumers shopping for cookware and bakeware is having a major impact on both categories as suppliers work to meet the specific demands of today’s home chefs and bakers.

In cookware, open stock continues to gain momentum as the influence of high-profile chefs continues to push consumers to make a greater variety of dishes at home.

It’s not just new products that are changing the way consumers are shopping for cookware. According to Patrick O’Connor, president, Range Kleen, which carries the Berndes and Moneta lines of cookware, it’s all about quality.

“More meals are being prepared and eaten at home, and more people are connecting with or are ‘foodies.’ There is a desire to create new and quality meals, thus an openness to recipes, materials and cookware tools to help them exceed expectations,” he said.

As the cookware landscape is changing, consumers are shopping for the kitchen staple in a different way. While cookware sets are still selling, consumers are looking to stock their kitchen with the right tools for the job. Open stock pieces are taking off as customers are curating their own collections.

“As consumers educate themselves on better cooking techniques, they realize the need to buy specific products. For example, non-stick pans are great for eggs. Stainless steel is optimal for sauces and reductions. And cast iron is great for searing and brazing,” said Jason Vaske, director of marketing for Bradshaw, which markets the Bialetti cookware brand.

David Briganti, senior product manager, T-Fal Cookware, noted that the growing Millennial presence in the marketplace— those that grew up in an age of the Food Network and have an appreciation for good food— are contributing to the growth of open stock sales.

“A combination of factors are influencing open stock performance. Millennials do not want a traditional set, they want a vessel that works for them. Another factor is that replacement purchases account for the majority of open stock sales. People purchase vessels that are used most frequently and need to be replaced from wear and tear or if they want to upgrade. Approximately 60% of cookware sales come from replacement purchases,” he noted.

Alex Wittner, Gibson’s vp/housewares business development, explained that open stock sales allow consumers to get the cookware that is needed without having to make a large investment in a cookware set that they may not need. “Open stock is growing because it offers consumers convenience. They don’t have to commit to buying a whole set, and can save some money, which makes the purchase easier. Additionally, it gives consumers a chance to personalize their own collections by mix-and-matching pieces they like,” he said.

Jeff Malkasian, evp of Clipper Corp., noted that while he has seen open stock sales increase, he has also seen specialty goods drive sales in open stock. “The items that are needed for special uses, those are the items that are driving that purchase. It’s part of the cooking experience for consumers,” he said.

For the Cookware & Bakeware Report, see the February 1 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®. With this issue: The Housewares Census 2016 supplement, a comprehensive annual resource for category-by-category statistical analysis of the housewares industry.