Cooking at Home: The New Normal, Reversing Long Term Trend
For the past quarter century, cooking skills and interest have been on the decline in US households. Recipes have grown shorter and simpler. Younger adult consumers in particular often have less knowledge and interest. The avid cooks (those who love to cook and cook a lot) shrunk to an estimated 10% of the population. Cookware brands and specialty retailers often developed positioning strategies for the involved cook market segment.
With the recent WFH (work from home) and sheltering impact, cooking is suddenly on the rise.
One study found that 54% of consumers ages 18-73 are cooking more, and that more than half of these expect to continue to do so longer term. Three quarters of these more frequent cooks also say they are becoming more confident and enjoying it more. This pencils out to approximately 28% of US adults cooking at home more long term. It’s expected that WFH will remain at higher levels, which will support more ongoing cooking. And what a positioning opportunity this presents for brands!
Making Home Cooking Better
Corelle Brands has the iconic Pyrex and Corningware cookware brands in its portfolio, along with other brands in the food preparation, storage and serving space such as Corelle, Chicago Cutlery and Snapware. In 2019, Corelle Brands merged with the company who owned the popular Instant Pot, bringing the benefit of cooking faster and updating the old crockpot or slow cooker.
Positioning Opportunity: Leveraging Pyrex Equity Strength
The challenge for Pyrex is how to capitalize on the brand’s heritage and increase relevance for today’s young adult cooking consumers. The positioning work we did with the brand a number of years ago may suggest some areas.
Yesterday’s Target Consumers Inform Future Positioning
We worked with two groups of target consumers. A younger cooking group involved consumer ages 25-33, and a more mature group ages 34-59. The younger consumers identified situations that could trigger the need for a Pyrex purchase such as:
- building their kitchen and cookware inventory
- moving or a new household arrangement (e.g., roommate moved out)
For the mature group, triggers were less frequent, and included kitchen remodeling and wear out or breakage of an item.
Looking at the current 2020 situation, it may be appropriate to target those who are now cooking much more with developing cooking skills rather than the 10% who are avid. Positioning the Pyrex brand to these consumers might be similar to the historical younger target market.
Equity Attributes and Occasions: Strengths and Weaknesses
Pyrex equity attributes that were shared by the two targets tended to be functional, including:
- easy to clean
- around a long time
In terms of occasions, Pyrex had strength in prepping, oven and grill cooking (marinating), and weakness in microwave and stove cooking. It also had some strength in transporting larger items, storage and reheating (post cooking). The brand was not strong in table serving (everyday or company).
At the time, the Pyrex brand also had some equity shortcomings to address. For example, it was functional and multipurpose but generally not attractive. It showed strength in multi-serve but not as much for single-serve. And is wasn’t perceived as innovative (despite the heritage).
Benefit Areas Explored
Twenty in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with consumers, followed by six mini groups in three markets. Nineteen positioning ideas in five benefit areas were explored including:
Rational Benefit and Reason to Believe
Reliable performance from beginning to end (in the different parts of the cooking process) was the reason to believe that Pyrex’s versatility (that saves time, effort, and space) is more useful. The positioning stresses the areas that Pyrex performance was more helpful than in the past (lids for instance, and portables).
The driving emotional benefit area was simplicity: a dish that does its job and does not have to be thought about; versatility that reduces the number of dishes to be used, and easy clean up without special care. The emotional area requires the right balance, as the consumer was wary of overtly trying to be too emotional, despite using phrases like “I love my Pyrex.”
Positioning Strategy Statement…Optimized with Target Consumers
FROM BEGINNING TO END, PYREX PERFORMS FOR YOU
Pyrex makes the measuring, cooking and serving pieces that help everything you do in the kitchen go more smoothly, from the first ingredient to the final clean up.
It’s steady performance you can always rely on. Durable, easy-to-read covered measuring cups are microwave and oven safe. Pyrex glass ovenware is non-reactive and stands up to heat like no plastic can, so just one piece marinates and roasts your main dishes…and can even go to the table. Their metal bakeware helps you create great desserts. And Pyrex pieces have snap-on lids for air-tight storage. When you’re finished, everything cleans up beautifully in the dishwasher. From the moment you start cooking until the evening is done, you know your Pyrex will perform in your kitchen.
Positioning Framework Summary
As previously reviewed, the strategy is summarized in the positioning framework.
- To (target) Involved Cooks 25-33,
- (brand) Pyrex is the
- (frame of reference) kitchenware that
- (point of difference) gives you more versatility
- because (reason to believe) its superior performance from preparation to final clean up: non-reactive and stands up to heat in microwave or oven, snap-on lids for air tight storage, and cleans up beautifully in the dishwasher.
With the large group of consumers now dedicated to cooking more often at home, Pyrex and other brands have an opportunity today to drive relevant positioning and capture more attention and loyalty from this emerging group. These consumers are less likely to be avid cooks than the target we worked with for this historical positioning case study.
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