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Durable Approach Captures Coating Sales

NEW YORK— As the demands of the consumer for quality and durability are growing, and with differentiation among cookware and bakeware brands beginning to become a sticking point on the sales floor, coatings manufacturers are heeding the call.

“With a big focus from consumers in all categories on durability, we have built families of coatings within certain brands to offer our customers a range of options to build the right product and be able to differentiate. Consumers want what they are promised.  Durability is at the top of their list.  Long release life is the other important feature,” said Fran Groesbeck, North American consumer marketing manager and global retail/brand owner coordinator for Whitford Corp.

Whitford, explained Groesbeck, is bringing new designs to market, like its Eclipse line, that tackle these demands. Additionally, she said, Whitford is also offering coatings such as its Moonscape, Granite and High Build, as well as options with unique additives, like diamond, to help its customers capture sales.

Ravin Gandhi, CEO and co-founder of GMM Nonstick Coatings, echoed these sentiments and said the company is also creating lines that include the key demands of the consumer.

“In cookware, people are really looking for several attributes. They want better release, they are looking for items that are dishwasher resistant and are still good for searing and even heating. So, we are creating products called the GMM Matrix, in which the layers of coatings bond together with diamond/carbon fiber. We find that this increases abrasion resistance while still holding the release properties,” he said.

Additionally, noted Gandhi, since the coatings from all manufacturers have become increasingly durable in the last few years, he said that coatings have also started to move along to other parts of cookware in order to differentiate goods.

“A trend we see is that coatings are moving to the ancillary parts of cookware, including the handles, lids and knobs. We are looking at handles that change color when they’re still hot, lids and knobs with stay-cool technology and things like this. It’s become part of a broader trend that is differentiating cookware in the market,” he said.

While non-stick cookware is still a majority of the coatings market, Groesbeck explained that ceramic goods are here to stay.

“Ceramic coatings still have a strong presence in the market.  They have carved their spot and there is a consumer who prefers this type of coating,” she said.

To that end, added Gandhi, ceramics will continue to grow as a market as long as coatings continue to increase in quality.

“The resilience of ceramic is surprising. They are certainly here to stay now. At first, it seemed that people were just willing to accept them because they were afraid of the chemicals or didn’t want to cook with non-stick, but now, people want the ceramic as well, and the quality has gotten better,” he said.

Not only are vendors continuing to develop and bring coatings to both the non-stick and ceramic markets that meet the consumer’s preferences, but the companies are continuing to innovate on color and styling in cookware as well as in bakeware.

Gandhi noted that while in bakeware, darker and more “architectural” colors are beginning to trend, shifting away from the gold and bronze looks that have been in the market for a few years, cookware is a different story, especially in ceramics.

“In ceramic cookware, people
really want brighter and more fun
colors,” he said.

Groesbeck noted that calming, albeit bright, colors have been hitting the high note for Whitford’s customer base.

“Blues have had a strong growing presence in the decorative housewares market, and they look to come over to basic housewares as well,” she said. However, in bakeware, she is predicting something a bit different— metallics.

“For bakeware, tinted metallic colors are ones to watch, looking for the next gold or copper— something that will stand out on a standard bakeware display,” she said.