By Allison Zisko
A recent spate of license agreements between housewares companies and food-related media outlets indicate the tide is turning toward foodie interests, in addition to celebrity chefs.
At the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago last month, TTU launched its Epicurious.com collection, while Gorham unveiled its Food & Wine program. In addition, Useful Home Products has partnered with ABC’s food-centric lifestyle show “The Chew.” Meanwhile, Mr. Food Test Kitchen—a diversified media brand that promotes quick and easy cooking on a syndicated television show, website and cookbooks—signed a license agreement with Housewares International.
TTU’s Epicurious.com collection of cookware, bakeware and pantry items is geared to the serious home cook who entertains often at home. The line is positioned at the upper price point tier (the highest price points the company has ever carried, TTU said) and includes stainless-steel cookware; nonstick, heavy-gauge aluminum cookware with induction-ready bottoms; enamel cast-iron and pre-seasoned cast-iron cookware; ceramic bakeware; and a pantryware and kitchen prep line.
Epicurious is not just recipes and providing inspiration, but at its heart it’s about community and exchanging ideas. We wanted to create cookware that was true to who we were,” said Tanya Steel, editor in chief of Epicurious.com for eight years, and now special projects editor. Epicurious.com’s data base has more than 30,000 recipes that call for all types of equipment, Steel said, so offering a full range of cookware options was a necessity.
“We loved TTU from the outset,” she added, and visiting the company’s factory in Los Angeles “was like being a kid in a chocolate shop.”
She thought the new line is “perfect for everyday,” praising its high-tech and durable features and the fact that it is easy clean and affordable. “I love the look of the red with the aluminum nonstick anodized, it’s super durable.”
Epicurious, published by Condé Nast, reaches 22 million cross-platform users each month across its website, application and social media channels, according to the epicurious.com website. “Condé Nast has a captured audience. They have quite a lot of marketing behind the brand that we feel can help us drive sales at the retail level,” said Rami Izadyar, TTU’s brand manager.
In a similar vein, Gorham has signed a license with Food & Wine magazine for a collection of dinnerware, flatware, glassware and bakeware, designed to appeal to readers of the food magazine. The Food & Wine name has built-in authority and resonates strongly with its readers, according to Glenn DeStefano, president of the Food & Wine Gorham brand, in describing the brand’s appeal. The three patterns of dinnerware are configured as 16-piece sets that come with 10 Food & Wine recipes, and all the product packaging’s photo styling mimics that of the magazine, down to the typeface and the fonts used.
Food & Wine test-drove all of the pieces during the product development phase, DeStefano said, leading to the “Test Kitchen Approved” logo on the packaging. The line will launch with Amazon.com in June and with independent specialty stores, DeStefano said, and Gorham will do a lot of online marketing to take advantage of the combined Amazon and Food & Wine consumer.
The popular daytime lifestyle show “The Chew,” whose five hosts include Mario Batali and Clinton Kelly, now has its own housewares line through its new partnership with Useful Home Products. It includes cookware, bakeware, kitchen tools and gadgets and cutlery that debuted in Chicago.
“We wanted to infuse the ‘food, life, fun’ aspect of The Chew into the line,” said Elliot Ashkenazie, founder, Useful Home Products. Targeting the middle tier at retail, the product will be priced competitively, but with added features, he said. The 5-tools-in-one salad spinner, for example, comes with other attachments so it can also be a grater or food storage. A six-sided grater includes a mandoline, and high-quality bamboo cutting boards have silicone edges. Kitchen tools have memory grip handles. “We wanted to make it simple, easy and affordable,” Ashkenazie said. The cookware is made of cast aluminum for even heat distribution, and is nonstick and induction friendly. Items throughout the collection are available in four colors: green, blue, red and orange.
The fun aspect is carried through to the packaging, which includes such sayings as “Be a salad savant.” The packaging includes die cuts to show the color of the product.
“We’ve developed kitchen product for many years,” Ashkenazie said, and The Chew was the right partner for them. “Our DNAs really matched.”
The Mr. Food Test Kitchen collection from Housewares International was designed in collaboration with Howard Rosenthal, host of the nationally syndicated Mr. Food Test Kitchen TV segment and best selling cookbook author. It includes the Farmhouse Collection of off-white mugs, canisters and bakeware. There are recipe mugs that you can cook or bake directly in, following the recipe printed on the mug, and patterned casseroles in two colorways round out the collection.—Andrea Lillo contributed to this story