13952 Wed, 03/05/2008 - 5:52pm
By Andrea Lillo
DORAL, Fla.–With high recognition rates among Hispanic customers, and expertise among all types of Hispanic groups, IMUSA will continue to expand its cookware and kitchenware lines at the International Home & Housewares Show.
Known primarily as an aluminum cookware company, IMUSA has entered other categories over the past few years, such as small electrics, tabletop, cleaning products and, as of last year, gadgets, so it “meets the needs of the Hispanics for the whole household,” said Manny Gaunaurd, president.
New categories include a bamboo line, which is “geared toward the second- or third-generation Hispanics,” as the eco-friendly wood would appeal more to these groups than first generations, he said. Retailing between $3.99 to $19.99, products will include a mortar and pestle and a plantain press called a tostonera.
Last year, the company tested gadgets, Gaunaurd said, and this year will see 100 new items in this area, as it adds its “better” premiere line and its “best” gourmet line to the basics line from last year. Gadgets range in price from $6.99 to $19.99.
In addition, a new cast aluminum cookware collection will launch at the show, with about 10 open-stock items retailing between $19.99 to $49.99. Larger sizes of pressure cookers sell well to Hispanic families, he added, and so the company will also debut new items ranging in sizes from 4 to 10 quarts. Other new items include tamale steamers geared to the Central and Caribbean markets.
Its tabletop offerings include espresso and cappuccino cup sets in ceramic, stainless steel and porcelain, as well as espresso makers, which retail from $16.99 to $29.99.
IMUSA’s strength is in knowing the diversity of the Hispanic population, Gaunaurd added, and how cultures such as Central American, Mexican and Caribbean—though all Hispanic—have different needs. For example, selling espresso makers in a Mexican community would not work, he said, as tortilla makers are of no interest to Cubans.
“We understand why some products work better in some areas than others. … It’s not one size fits all.”
The Hispanic community also wants larger sizes and they tend to cook more at home. For the fall holidays, the company offers a “disposable” 120-quart tamale steamer, Gaunaurd said. No one has room to store such a big item, so once the holidays are over, customers get rid of them. A Hispanic household might also have four or five calderos, with each for a different use, such as the holidays or for rice making.
But its reach goes beyond the Hispanic market as well. Gaunaurd said the highest response rate on its Web site, imusausa.com, is from the “Anglo customer,” he said. “They buy [the Hispanic cookware], they like it and they want to learn more about it.”
In addition, other ethnic groups such as the Chinese, Cajun and Indian are becoming customers, he said, as they all share rice as a staple.
Even with its knowledge of the community, the company conducts several surveys a year to learn more about its customers, he said. The brand has an awareness of more than 70 percent in the United States with Latinos from 21 to 59 years old.