By Andrea Lillo
NEW YORK–An alternative to traditional non-stick cookware, ceramic-based coatings have been the focus of several new cookware launches, each touting themselves as eco-friendly cookware for those consumers who want non-stick’s convenience but wish to avoid PTFE-based non-stick technology.
Spurred by the green movement of the past few years, manufacturers have looked to offer eco-friendly products into their lines, and these ceramic-based technologies—new to cookware—are becoming one good option, as seen by the launch of GreenPan last year. However, they target a particular type of consumer, manufacturers say, and can’t be compared with traditional non-stick cookware.
Cuisinart, for example, debuted its GreenGourmet cookware with the exclusive Ceramica non-stick coating at the recent International Home & Housewares Show, looking to court those green consumers. “Consumers want eco-friendly products from brands they trust,” said Mary Rodgers, director of marketing communications. “Like our other coatings, Ceramica allows consumers to use less fats and oils to cook so meals are healthier.” It also won’t peel off, and the cookware can be used for top browning and broiling, unlike traditional non-stick surfaces, she said. In addition, the coating is also petroleum-free and consumes less energy than traditional non-sticks.
The company’s new GreenGourmet cookware is available in five open-stock pieces: 8- and 10-inch skillets, a 12-inch skillet with helper handle, an 11-inch square grill pan and a 10-inch round griddle/crepe pan, and prices range from $24.95 to $69.95. The product’s packaging is also made of 100 percent recycled materials and is printed using soy inks. Two other collections using Ceramica will be launched in July.
At Meyer Corp., EarthPan II also launched at the show, and uses SandFlow non-stick coating, which was developed exclusively for it by Whitford, said Suzanne Murphy, vice president of marketing for Meyer Corp. U.S. “The type of coating featured on EarthPan SandFlow with non-stick is relatively new to the market, and this is our first introduction with this type of system,” Murphy said.
EarthPan will be available in three collections: EarthPan II, which is made from heavy-duty aluminum and available in bronze and terra cotta; EarthPan Stainless Steel, made of heavy-gauge stainless steel with non-stick interior; and EarthPan Hard-Anodized. Open-stock pieces range from $19.99 to $59.99, and sets are also available.
Meyer tests show that EarthPan with SandFlow non-stick food-releasing performance outlasts others in the ceramic-based category, but Murphy added that PTFE-based non-sticks will outperform non-PTFE coatings such as SandFlow non-stick, “so you really can’t compare these very different surfaces,” she said. “They are different products for different consumers.”
The consumer that embraces ceramic-based non-stick cookware “is concerned primarily in reducing perceived risks of chemicals, and less about long-term performance,” Murphy said. But, “Ironically, both consumers may have environmental concerns driving their decision making—one concerned about chemicals and the other about reducing product consumption by buying a product such as Circulon, which has a non-stick system that will outlast all other non-sticks.”
EarthPan’s packaging material and inserts are made from at least 50 percent recycled fiber with all materials being 100 percent recyclable.
Feature Products, a division of Atlantic Promotions, introduced its Ceram-Eco non-stick coating at the show, available on three lines, including the Starfrit Eco Chef, which is a 3.2 mm pressed aluminum pan with a bamboo handle. The coating is manufactured from natural powdered ceramic in Korea and has been in use for the past 20 years, said Juanita Coumbias, international sales and marketing director, though the application for cookware has been used for only several years in the Korean and Japanese markets.
At Ambiente, Scanpan introduced its ceramic-titanium non-stick, called GreenTek, for which it worked with a German coating company to develop. George Bente, president and chief executive officer, said that for the new coating, a different compound without the half life of PFOA is used. The new coating is on the non-stick pieces of Scanpan’s newest collection, CTX, as well as Scanpan Classic and Scanpan Professional.
GreenPan also exhibited at shows for the first time, featuring its new lines of cookware, each of which is named for a city where a different UN environmental protocol was decided on, such as Kyoto, Nairobi, and Stockholm, as well as its new bakeware.
Coatings companies are also working on new technologies, though still believe in the traditional non-stick technology. Whitford is developing a “true ceramic” coating, said John Badner, worldwide business manager. In traditional non-stick coatings, the company is currently sampling PFOA-free PTFE coatings with customers.