It's almost Labor day 2012 and a good time to review cookware brands, cookware trends, and see what is new on the cookware market. Cookware and kitchen trends are always fun to watch. While some new fangled devices make a big hit, others fall into obscurity. It's interesting to see new advances in cookware in terms of colors, usability features, handle designs, and cladding of materials. In this article, I take a look at trends I see and review popular cookware brands.
There are 4 trends I see happening in the cookware marketplace:
- Cookware manufacturer websites are transforming in a bad way. It is getting harder to navigate and find detailed information. They tend to push selected products and sell direct from their own websites where the store is the only place to get information. What is the purpose of MSRP when they discount on their own sites? They are moving away from spelling out clearly why each product line exists or what differentiates one from another. Cuisinart does one of the best jobs with their cookware products page offering a helpful cookware comparison.
- Many cookware manufacturers are expanding into other kitchen products, namely kitchen electronics and cutlery. Slow cookers, sandwhich presses, immersion blenders, toasters, and indoor grills are popular.
- Color choices are increasing. Gone are the days when a kitchen had to choose between black, silver, or red. When the enamel cast iron colors exploded on the scene, kitchens around the world lit up in color. Rachael Ray rocked the industry with her signature orange and unique cookware shapes. Today various colors are coming out for the entire cookware line. Anolon, Circulon, and Farberware, of Meyer Manufacturing, offer grey, bronze, red, titanium, orange, and chocolate colors.
- Mutli-function devices are making new inroads into the kitchen. Just like the convection microwave, today we can see coffee-maker, toaster, and griddle all-in-one units. Waring has a rotisserie turkey deep fryer and steamer. Single and multi-purpose devices and gadgets are swamping the market. Kitchen stores see mango pitters, strawberry cutters, corn huskers, corn holders, corn butterers, etc. fill walls of kitchen gadgets sure to fill countless kitchen drawers.
What's New and Available in Cookware Brands
While many brands are reducing their product offerings, a few are expanding. Here's a round-up of popular brands with what's in and what's out.
Five Current Product Lines:
- D5 Brushed
- Stainless Steel
- Copper Core
- Hard Anodized
Cop-r-Chef has been discontinued, which had a copper exterior and stainless steel interior. Products are still available at Amazon.com and other stores.
All-Clad LTD2 no longer an active product line. The dishwasher safe hard anodized aluminum exterior with stainless steel interiors has been discontinued. Items are still available at Amazon.com and other stores.
D5 Brushed Stainless Steel - gaining in prominence. The 5 layer cookware incorporates advanced usability features already found in competitors like Cuisinart. Shiny induction ready stainless steel exterior and the new starburst brushed stainless steel interior (designed for less stick performance) is a solid addition to the product line.
Six current product lines:
- Advanced Bronze
- Chef Clad
- Nouvelle Copper
- Nouvelle Copper Stainless
- Ultra Clad
Chef Clad - dishwasher safe brushed aluminum exterior, aluminum clad and polished stainless steel interior. The aluminum base is encapsulated with magnetic stainless steel for induction ready cooking. Oven safe to 500 degrees.
Ultra Clad - Dishwasher safe fully clad aluminum interior with stainless steel inside and out. Attractive black nonstick band on the outside. Induction ready and oven safe to 400 degrees.
Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel - Stainless steel inside and out. Fully encapsulated base has aluminum and copper. Dishwasher safe.
Six Primary Product Lines:
- Unison Nonstick
- Contemporary Nonstick
- Contemporary Stainless Steel
- Tri-ply Stainless Steel
- Simply Nonstick
- Simply Stainless Steel
Not a lot has changed with Calphalon. They used to have a lot of product lines. I sense they are looking for their direction and have not found it yet. I expect to see something new from them soon.
Nine Current Product Lines:
- Contempo Red
- Contempo Stainless Steel
- Elite Platinum
- Symmetry Chocolate
Symmetry is a new dishwasher safe line. It is tulip shaped like the Anolon Nouvelle. Glass lids. DuPont Autograph 3 layer nonstick surfaces inside and out with the TOTAL food release system inside. Impact bonded stainless steel base makes it suitable on all cooking surfaces. Hard anodized aluminum core.
Contempo Red is a new dishwasher safe product line featuring pour spouts and a modern look. DuPont Autograph 3 layer nonstick surfaces inside and out. Red exterior and large silicone handles. Like Anolon, Circulon is part of the Meyer Manufacturing family, having many features shared between brands.
Contempo Stainless Steel is exactly like the Contempo and Contempo Red but with a shiny stainless steel exterior.
CorningWare has dramatically reduced their product lines to just 3:
- Simply Lite
- French White
Etch is stoneware with artisan details. One year warranty.
French White is also stoneware in a basic fluted white color and timeless design. One year warranty.
Simply Lite is a glass material half the weight of traditional ceramic bakeware. Three year warranty.
Cuisinart has 13 product lines:
- French Classic Tri-Ply Stainless Steel
- MultiClad Unlimited Professional Clad
- MultiClad Pro
- Dishwasher Safe Anodized Aluminum
- GreenGourmet Tri-Ply Stainless Steel
- GreenGourmet Hard Anodized Aluminum
- Chef Classic Stainless Steel
- Chef Classic Nonstick Hard Anodized Aluminum
- Chef Classic Nonstick Stainless Steel
- Contour Stainless Steel
- Contour Hard Anodized Aluminum
- Advantage Nonstick
- Chef Classic Enameled Cast Iron
While many cookware manufacturers have been decreasing their active product lines, Cuisinart has been expanding.
Here's a look at the newer lines:
French Stainless Steel - made in France and fully clad tri-ply construction of a pure aluminum core and stainless steel outsides. (Fully clad means the aluminum core is not just on the bottom, but fully clad up the side walls.)
Contour - Very similar to the Chef Classic line, except a curvier shape, and glass lids vs stainless steel lids. Both are budget oriented with clad only on the bottom.
Advantage Nonstick is very budget oriented designed to be starter cookware sets. It has many advanced features, but priced this inexpensively, they skimped somewhere. Reviews are very mixed. May be fine as a starter set, but don't think it can handle aggressive cooking.
Cast Iron - With Lodge, Staub, and Le Creuset out there, I question why Cuisinart would offer a cast iron product. However, reviewers love the product! They say it is dishwasher safe, and while it may be, I'd be careful washing this in the dishwasher. Should the porcelain ever get chipped or cracked, dishwasher use will accelerate the problem.
Demeyere is a very high-end Belgian cookware line. One new product line has been added, the Young. It is designed and priced for starter chefs. Availability is very limited for all Demeyere products. Since being bought out by Zwilling, of Henckel fame, I hope the availability of Demeyere cookware will improve.
Emeril now has 6 product lines:
- Stainless Steel
- Hard Anodized Aluminum
- Hard Enamel Aluminum
- Enamel Cast Iron
- Pre Seasoned Cast Iron
Emerilware is still supported by All-Clad. While All-Clad is made in America, Emerilware is made in China to offer a price advantage. Emerilware also offers some design features he had built in, not found anywhere else.
I still like the Pro-Clad, Stainless Steel, and Hard Anodized Aluminum product lines.
Emile Henry is an innovative French manufacturer of cookware, bakeware, and kitchen items. Like CorningWare used to be, Emile Henry designed the Flame Top cookware product line that is a clay material suitable for both stove top and inside the stove use.
Emile Henry quality is extraordinary. They make:
- Dutch Ovens
- Baking Stones
- Grilling Cookware
- Pizza Stones
- Risotto Pots
Considered healthy cookware, Emile Henry products make great gifts for all levels of cooks.
Farberware is also part of the Meyer family, along with Anolon, Circulon, Rachael Ray, Paula Deen, Silverstone, and KitcheAid. Farberware has 10 active product lines, all priced very inexpensively:
- Affiniti Porcelain
- Classic Aluminum
- Classic Stainless Steel
- Millennium Aluminum
- Millennium Stainless Steel
- Premium Nonstick
- High Performance Nonstick
- Dishwasher Safe Nonstick
One of the distinctive features of Farberware is that most of their products, except for the Millennium Stainless Steel, are only oven safe to 350 degrees.
Most Farberware Cookware sets are street priced under $100.
KitchenAid, part of the Meyer family, is well known for their mixers and food processors. In terms of cookware, KitchenAid offers 6 product lines:
- Stainless Steel Clad
- HiDensity Hard Anodized Aluminum Clad
- Hard Base Porcelain Nonstick
- Brushed Stainless Steel
- Hard Anodized Aluminum Nonstick
- Gourmet Distinctions
All of their product lines are only clad in the base and not up the side walls. The aluminum products obviously are aluminum up the side walls.
Gourmet Distinctions has copper clad on the bottom.
Prices for KitchenAid sets run up into the $200's.
Known as one of the best makers of enameled cast iron cookware, Le Creuset has 4 product lines:
- Enameled Cast Iron
- Stainless Steel
- Enamel on Steel
They also offer dishwasher safe nonstick frypans in hard anodized aluminum and stainless steel that are hot forged, assured to never chip or flake. Reviewers LOVE this line of cookware claiming it is the best nonstick cookware available.
Lodge is largely an American cast iron cookware manufacturer. While they make the preseasoned products in America, the enameled cookware is made overseas. Lodge has 8 product lines:
- Seasoned Cast Iron
- Signature Series Cast Iron
- Enamel Cast Iron
- Tableware Mini Servers
- Sizzleware Griddles and Platters
- Outdoor Kitchen Gear
- Seasoned Steel
- Elements - Stainless Steel and Cast Iron Set
Known for their lower priced pre-seasoned cast iron and enameled cast iron cookware, Lodge has expanded with serving wares to help the home cook offer the same sizzle as restaurants.
Very new is their seasoned steel, whether at home or on the campsite, and the Elements set of stainless steel and cast iron.
I have several pieces from Lodge and they are made very well and perform well.
The Signature series of cast iron blends the pre-seasoned cast iron with stainless steel handles and knobs.
Their enamel cookware is made in China under strict supervision, and produces products very near Le Creuset and Staub quality, but priced significantly less.
Rachael Ray cookware is part of the Meyer family. She has 3 current product lines:
- Hard Anodized Aluminum
- Porcelain Enamel
- Stainless Steel
Now in their 2nd generation of products, the stainless steel and hard anodized aluminum cookware offers updated features and performance.
The porcelain enamel line is NOT recommended for glass/ceramic stovetops and is not dishwasher safe.
Rachael Ray cookware is famous for the color schemes and cook-friendly shapes.
The hard anodized aluminum cookware is dishwasher safe, even those with nonstick interiors.
Scanpan is made in Denmark and famous for their PFOA-free GreenTek surface. Considered healthy, the interior surface is not a coating, but rather integrated into the cookware itself. All products are dishwasher safe. Scanpan has 3 product lines:
The CTX has a stainless steel exterior and modern look while the Classic and Professional have pressure cast aluminum exteriors. The professional and CTX lines have stainless steel handles where the classic has phenolic resin.
With very flat surfaces Scanpan is great for flat top stoves. The CTX line is induction ready.
I've used a Scanpan Classic frypan for 3 years now and washed it in the dishweasher. It has maintained a pretty good nonstick surface, even when used with medium high heat. It shows no sign of peeling or flaking.
Staub is a French cast iron cookware maker known for innovation and excellent design. Like Le Creuset the colors are beautiful. Staub makes a wide range of products including:
- Cocottes (Dutch Ovens)
- Grill Pans and Fry Pans
- Mini Cocottes
- Presentation Cast Iron Dishes
- Fondue Pots
- Saute Pans
New for Staub are more bright and vivid colors they call Vitamins, pure white colored items, teapots, and the saute pans.
Last Updated on Monday, 27 August 2012 09:41