By David Gill
With new products added to the NuWave brand, Hearthware is seeking to become a more comprehensive resource for housewares.
Over the past two years, the brand has launched NuWave Flavor-Lockers, a vacuum pump system designed to preserve the freshness of food and to prevent food waste; the NuWave L’ovenware Silicone Baking Kit, a set of non-stick silicone bakeware; the NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop (PIC); and the PerfectGreen Fry Pan, which uses Hearthware’s own Duralon non-stick, eco-friendly coating.
This has been quite an evolution for Hearthware, whose only product up until the introductions of these new items was the NuWave Infrared Oven. Beginning in 1997, Hearthware began offering the infrared oven through infomercials, and then about four or five years ago, took it to retail. According to a company statement, more than 2 million NuWave Infrared Ovens have been sold since its launch 15 years ago.
“NuWave put us on the map,” said John Stewart, Hearthware’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Simply because of the money we spent on media and infomercials, we consistently lead the charge” in the promotion of this item.
NuWave’s popularity influenced Hearthware to look into other products, according to Becky Sarwate, the company’s senior manager of social media marketing. “People in our social media network said they don’t want to use a product under any other label than NuWave,” Sarwate said. “NuWave has lot of brand equity. It’s a name that’s out there at retail and with the average consumer.” Noting that infomercials for the infrared oven were cited by Jordan Whitney, the direct-response-television consulting firm, as the 2012 Infomercial of the Year, Stewart added, “It’s become an easily recognizable brand. We just think it’s a slam dunk to brand the new products under NuWave.”
So Hearthware began to cast about for products that expanded its portfolio, and that were also true to what Sarwate called its “four-point philosophy. First, they have to be environmentally friendly. Second, they should be healthful—lower cholesterol, less fat, no harmful chemicals. Third, they need to be priced affordably; we envision a customer base of people making $25,000 a year. Fourth, they need the convenience factor, with everything portable and easily transportable.”
The NuWave PIC incorporates induction technology into a cooktop appliance. It enables the cook to adjust heat instantly and with great precision, thus providing fast, healthy and even cooking while saving energy. “It’s a common method of cooking in Asia,” Stewart said. “It’s been in the U.S. for several years predominantly used by chefs in restaurants.” Induction cooking is available on oven ranges that are “very expensive,” he said. “It’s our goal to bring that kind of cooking for much, much less and give shoppers the opportunity to cook better with less energy.”
The Duralon coating of the PerfectGreen Fry Pan is free of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), cadmium and bisphenol A (BPA), potentially harmful materials that can be found in conventional coatings. “It’s non-stick and stainless steel,” Sarwate said. “The pan is induction-ready, too, so it can be used with the PIC.”
Another new product grouping, NuWave Flavor-Lockers, also fits in with other Hearthware merchandise. This collection includes containers, bags, pumps and accessories that lock in the freshness, flavor and nutrients of prepared food. Sarwate said, “You can take your leftovers from the PIC and the infrared oven and store them in Flavor-Lockers. You turn the pump on and suck the air out, and they keep food fresh for up to 10 times longer than other storage containers.”
The NuWave L’ovenware Silicone Baking Kit encompasses 15 pieces: an 8-by-8-inch silicone baking pan, a silicone baking pan divider, 12 cupcake liners and a Whip-It whisk. Following the philosophy that each of these products fit with another NuWave product, the L’ovenware kit can be used in the infrared oven or in any conventional or microwave oven. “Everything we’re offering is meant to fit together,” Sarwate said. “Consumers who have picked up the infrared oven are now picking up these items.”
According to Stewart, Hearthware is now looking for other new categories to enter. “We’re not that far along as to specifics, but if there’s a product that promotes healthy living, we would not hesitate to look at it,” he said.
While Stewart said Hearthware is a small company that’s growing rapidly, he added that its strategy is not to simply chase growth for its own sake. “Growth isn’t as important as finding the right fit” regarding new products, he said. “We still feel we have only scratched the surface with the NuWave infrared oven. The potential for us is unlimited.”