Kitchen Utensils: A Growth Area in Supermarkets

Kitchen utensils are in increasing demand in grocery stores

The growing popularity of kitchen utensils becomes evident as cross-marketing opportunities gain a foothold and merchants see the value of these high profit margin products.

Suppliers are interested in the opportunities that kitchen items offer in the supermarket. The convenience of picking up a spatula or a mixing bowl in order to mix the dough, along with buying the ingredients for tamales, for example, is very well received. Many suppliers emphasize that merchants should make the most of the fact that customers focus on food and preparing meals. One way is to offer the option of cooking utensils as an impulse buy.

Manny Gaunaurd, president of Imusa, which began selling its products in Hispanic grocery over 25 years ago, says customers who come to these stores are looking for value. “It’s not a long-term purchase. They are not looking for cookware that lasts two or three years, but rather, four or five months,” he says. Therefore, prices in the kitchen appliances category typically have to be lower.

Of course, the customer makes purchases in the kitchen utensils isle somewhat differently than he or she would at a department store. Grocery store customers are less price sensitive and more loyal to brands. For example, buying Pyrex in a grocery store is typically based on need: when the customer needs a particular type of dishware for a recipe, price is not an important factor for him or her.


So how can grocery stores make this category grow? Many suppliers emphasize the convenience aspect. Customers go to the supermarket because they have to cook for different reasons. For example, they may have guests coming over. They are looking for healthy foods and kitchen utensils that are practical, cheap and functional.

Experts in this field indicate that the grocery channel is also very flexible in regard to goods, especially seasonal products. While other channels have to adhere to planograms or modular plans, supermarkets can change products overnight, bringing in new items, testing them and then removing them when they are no longer bought, or extending the range of the items offered if they are selling well.

When planning sections for household goods, merchants should consider the whole range of foods, taking into account types and prices. These factors should reflect area demographics. Some supermarkets found in areas of dense Hispanic presence can have up to 100 varieties of peppers, for example. To Imusa, which focuses on the Hispanic market, products like juicers and tamale steamers will sell well in certain areas of the country.


Cookware manufacturers are producing increasingly more articles for the supermarket. Grocery store merchants have learned that in certain categories they have the opportunity to expand their sales volume. So instead of offering a good can opener, some grocery stores have had success offering a variety of items ranging from good, to better, to best.

The combination of strong growth, good margins for merchants and consistent performance have resulted in an increase in food preparation categories. Some companies offer merchants an assortment of “essential products”. This gives the merchant a good range of products. Other product selections are directly related to foods that would be found adjacent to particular kitchen utensils. For instance, if thermometers are placed next to the meat section, they may be essential for customers concerned about illnesses caused when food is not cooked thoroughly.

In general, taking into account the specific demographics of the supermarket is important. At the end of the day, it boils down to offering the right product at the best price.


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