14026 Mon, 03/17/2008 - 10:15am
By Andrea Lillo
CHICAGO–One is sleek and silver, the other is Southern and savvy, and both will debut with Meyer Corp. at the International Home & Housewares Show.
The sleek and silver one is Fine T, a patented gourmet electric tea maker that marks the launch of Meyer’s new brand, IQ Innovations, which will offer premium gourmet small electrics to the consumer. The Southern and savvy one is celebrity chef Paula Deen, who has partnered up with the company to debut her Paula Deen Signature Collection of cookware, bakeware, cutlery, kitchen tools, stoneware and other kitchen accessories.
At $349.99, Fine T targets the high-end tea lover and speaks to Meyer’s focus for the new brand, which will be on “small electrics and complementary items that are truly unique and designed for the specialty trade and the connoisseur consumer,” said Suzanne Murphy, vice president of marketing at Meyer Corp. U.S. “For the exacting tea connoisseur, aware of the critical nuances involved in brewing distinct varietals of tea, the intelligent and flexible Fine T makes the process of brewing easier, and the results flawless.”
Unlike coffee, which can be brewed uniformly, tea can be brewed anywhere from 140 degrees to 203 degrees, depending on the type. With Fine T, the user selects one of seven distinct settings that match the tea being used with a push of a button. An eighth setting provides a tea-wash program that allows the tea leaves to be used again for a milder brew. In addition, a 24-hour clock and programmable timer allows one to preset brewing times, and a swing-out infusion basket holds loose tea.
“Here in America, the last two decades gave birth to a new generation of coffee drinkers, and today’s coffee consumer is far more sophisticated than generations before,” Murphy said. “Today, we’re seeing a heightened interest in tea, and predict similar growth and evolution among American tea drinkers,” with sales of tea expected to double and reach almost $15 billion by 2012.
IQ Innovations was in final development stages at press time, but Murphy did say that additional products are currently under development for a 2009 release. With the Fine T launch, Murphy said the company hopes to build on its existing store base catering to the epicurean consumer. She also added that the BonJour sales team will sell the Fine T, but it is branded as IQ Innovations, and not as part of BonJour.
Meyer’s other big introduction at market is its line with Deen, a comprehensive kitchen collection numbering 85 SKUs that evokes Deen’s personality and style.
“Paula has such a passion for cooking and the tools to make it easier, the assortment grew out of her enthusiasm and ideas,” Murphy said. “She appeals to a consumer that is interested in food and cooking. Most importantly, she crosses age, income and ethnic demographics with ease, making her appeal to a broad audience across the nation. ... Plus, she’s just lovely to work with.”
“My passion is to encourage folks to overcome their fear of cooking, step inside the kitchen and find out how much fun and rewarding it can be to try a new recipe, make a great meal, and celebrate life every day at the table,” Deen said in a statement. “I’m so pleased to partner with Meyer in bringing this message to retail with a full kitchenware assortment that I can proudly stand behind and wholeheartedly support.”
The cookware line will initially feature five groups—stainless steel with copper, porcelain non-stick, “inside/outside” nonstick, natural cast iron and porcelain enamel cast iron—and each will incorporate Deen’s touch. The cast iron pieces, for example, are styled with a raised swirl pattern on the exterior surface of each piece and the porcelain non-stick cookware has a retro glossy speckled enamel exterior. Several of the collections have tempered glass lids to lock in flavor and moisture and copper-plated knobs to add a splash of accent color. The carbon steel-coated bakeware has a chocolate brown non-stick baking surface to ensure even heating and a lighter brown exterior, while the Paula Deen Signature Kitchen Tools consists of items that are either crafted entirely of sustainable Acacia hardwood or fuse Acacia wooden handles with silicone. Cutlery, enamel-on-steel and melamine kitchenware, teakettles, percolators and stoneware are also a part of the launch.
The collection will be available at retail stores nationwide in September.