By Allison Zisko
Through product tinkering and refinement, new packaging and new positioning, World Kitchen aims to capture a bigger piece of the youth market.
It has a raft of new products or updated products across its many brands—Pyrex, Corningware, Baker’s Secret, Corelle and Snapware among them—that will launch in the first and second quarter. It is also revamping its marketing strategy to better appeal to its target consumer, women under age 45.
“We need to strengthen and modernize our overall marketing approach,” CEO Carl Warschausky told HFN. He spoke of the need to move away from more traditional forms of marketing, such as speaking to consumers rather than speaking with them. “We have to engage them with interactive marketing tools via the Internet and mobile media,” he said.
The company is moving to a multibranded website with online and interactive digital tools for each brand, and is investing in mobile applications. An integrated marketing group will handle marketing activities for all brands and manage the company’s e-commerce site, shopworldkitchen.com. The web accounts for a “not insignificant portion” of direct-to-consumer sales, Warschausky said.
Warschausky also has plans to build the Snapware brand, which it acquired in late 2010. He described the food storage company as a “creative and innovative” maker of high-quality products. He is confident that placing Snapware product in World Kitchen’s distribution channels can help boost its market share significantly.
The company recently signed an agreement with chef Emeril Lagasse for Emeril by Snapware storage, to be offered on multichannel retailer HSN. World Kitchen will create more Snapware product demonstration videos, contests and sweepstakes, taking advantage of consumers’ desire to get organized in January. It will also debut a storage line called Total Solution that merges a Pyrex glass body with a plastic Snapware lid. All parts are made in the U.S. The redesigned lid is easier to open and close and the rim of the vessel is now chip-resistant. The pieces both stack and nest. A plastic body and plastic lid combo is still available.
Globally, Snapware’s sales grew more than 25 percent in 2012, according to Warschausky. “We’re excited about what Snapware can become,” he said.
World Kitchen is trying to give Corelle a more upscale image. Corelle enjoys a 57 percent market share in Japan, where it is a big bridal brand, according to Patrick Inuk Kim, World Kitchen’s new vice president of marketing. In the U.S., Corelle is introducing the Boutique line, featuring more delicately embossed and decaled designs geared toward department stores. Corelle previously offered a lifestyle brand for department stores at the opening price point. The Boutique line replaces that with prices that range between $79 and $89 for a 16-piece set. The packaging has also been redesigned to better appeal to a younger audience, Kim said.
The strategy for Corelle, Warschausky said, is to sell the product on its attributes and style rather than its price. This has proved effective in Asia and Warschausky believes it can also be accomplished in the United States. “Looking for ways to differentiate is important,” he said.
Last fall World Kitchen partnered with inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano, who created a highly stylized version of Corelle dinnerware using her own color palette. The line was offered exclusively on HSN and sold through quickly, according to Warschausky. Two more offerings are planned, he said.
Elevating the style quotient of the brand enables the company to sell to retailers besides mass merchants. Corelle is back at department stores and will be sold at a big-box store this year, Warschausky said.
But the perception of the Corelle brand in the American consumer’s mind must also change, he acknowledged. he said, and new marketing initiatives will spread the word about Corelle’s new style approach via bloggers and other online engagement. World Kitchen will unveil a new Corelle ad campaign in the second quarter that focuses on the brand’s style. Originally designed as a television campaign, it will also be distributed online.
Pyrex is the company’s longstanding brand that enjoys “enormous” market share in certain areas. Food storage is the fastest growing segment of Pyrex, Warschausky said. It is introducing all-glass storage containers, which it believes to be the only such product on the market. The airtight, leak-proof Premium Glass Lid is wrapped in a silicone trim that can be vented for microwave use. Pyrex also has introduced plastic no-leak lids for its glass storage containers, featuring a rocker vent for microwave use. Lids are round and square and come in four colors.
Corningware, Baker’s Secret and Chicago Cutlery have gotten less attention from World Kitchen in recent years, Warschausky said, but he plans to focus on all three with “intensive” research and development efforts this year. Corningware’s French White bakeware collection has undergone a “sweeping modernization.” It has been refreshed with a flared handle that is easy to hold; a silicone-lined, quiet-close glass lid; and several new shapes, including individual serving pieces and a serving platter with a wood tray. For the first time it is offering French White in color (for Target customers).
The revamped collection has been well received by retailers who have switched over to the new French White, or have reconsidered the collection after not carrying it recently. “I’m very excited about the opportunities for growth,” Warschausky said.
Baker’s Secret is introducing the Easy Store five-piece bakeware set. The modular, space-saving unit combines five of the most popular Baker’s Secret products. Warschausky called it a “great example of a simple idea that no one is doing.” It will be a Walmart exclusive beginning in May and available in July elsewhere. Baker’s Secret has not been sold at Walmart for four or five years, according to Warschausky, who considers its return a coup. The brand, which has redesigned its products to be more functional and of better quality at the same price points, has gained “significant distribution” overall and is slated to grow more than 20 percent in 2013.
Chicago Cutlery, which has been dormant for a while, has sent its in-house design team to its suppliers to create a less expensive version of its DesignPro line, which would be targeted at mass merchants. DesignPro features a pinch grip guide built into its handle and is part of Chicago Cutlery’s higher-end assortment. “I’m extremely hopeful we’ll see growth on Chicago Cutlery again next year,” Warschausky said.