13956 Wed, 03/05/2008 - 5:57pm
By Andrea Lillo
NEW YORK–A year after announcing that it had bought into a Mexican cookware company to expand its reach into the Hispanic market, Lifetime Brands will launch the new Vasconia collection at the International Home & Housewares Show.
Comprising one of the most comprehensive programs ever put together for the company, the line allows Lifetime to court a new customer, as well as make its way into new distribution channels.
“Everyone is addressing the Hispanic customer today,” said Stephen Spitz, chief marketing officer and vice president, cutlery/Lifetime’s Casa Moda division. “They all recognize that this is a long-term strategic customer for them.”
The collection also allows them to continue expanding its reach into the grocery area.
“We feel the opportunity is there,” Spitz said. “This program will allow us to get into those channels more.”
Starting off with cookware, cutlery and gadgets, the Vasconia line numbers more than 120 SKUs, with about half of those in cookware, he said. Down the road, tabletop categories such as flatware, glassware and dinnerware will join the line, as will home decor. At the show, Vasconia will be merchandised in its own space, adjacent to Lifetime’s booth.
Hispanic food is the fastest-growing ethnic cuisine to cook at home, for both Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike, Spitz added. But, that said, “this line was developed for the Hispanic customer.”
The Hispanic demographic is on schedule to be 16 percent of the population by 2010.
That meant Lifetime had to learn more about how this consumer shops and cooks, Spitz said. The typical Hispanic consumer goes grocery shopping 26 times a month, for example, Spitz said, while non-Hispanics go nine times.
“[Hispanics] want to cook fresh food daily,” Spitz said. “And it’s a generational thing—the grandmother, mother and daughter all shop together.”
The Vasconia packaging is also bilingual, as 60 percent of Hispanics prefer both English and Spanish on the packaging.
And though there are so many cultures included in the Hispanic group, the line targets Mexicans—which make up 70 percent of the Hispanics in America, Spitz said—and Caribbean groups such as Puerto Ricans and Cubans, which are about another 10 percent of U.S. Hispanics.
With the new collection, Lifetime is offering specialty cookware and accessories familiar to the Hispanic household, such as comals, used to make tortillas, and calderos. The majority of the cookware is aluminum, which is traditional for this market, in gauges ranging from 1.4 to 2.0. Fry pans are one of the key items, along with steamers, which are used to make tamales and are offered up to 32 quarts in Lifetime’s line. Other cookware items include cast iron, including a fajita pan along with the comal, and cast aluminum, such as a double burner grill, a griddle and a round grill. Calderos will range from 1.6 to 11.5 quart sizes.
In addition, each piece will have brand identity, carrying a “V” with a flame. “It all relates to each other,” Spitz said.
Ranging from $3 to $39.99, the cutlery group will have the basics, Spitz said, including the traditional slicer, chef’s knife and santoku, as well as citrus and avocado knives.
Gadgets will include the basics as well as “some unique pieces,” such as a bean masher and corn stripper, along with the traditional can opener and wine bottle opener.