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Last Updated : Jun 02, 2020 05:56 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

COVID-19 lockdown | This company is quietly cashing in on Indians' new-found love for cooking

With cooking at home becoming the new normal, brands like Vinod Cookware are looking to reap the benefits.

With restaurants shut and food delivery considered unsafe due to coronavirus, cooking at home is the new-found hobby for Indians. And this shift towards home-cooked food has augured well for one company, even as most businesses struggle to make ends meet.

Mumbai-based Vinod Cookware is hoping to cash-in on the newly emerging trend of home-cooked food. In an interaction with Moneycontrol, Sunil Agarwal, Director, Vinod Cookware said a lot of Indians will now realise that they don’t have appropriate cookware.

“Entertaining people at home will be the new normal and eating out will be ruled out. This directly benefits us because cookware is the first need when one starts making food full-time at home,” he said.

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The five-decade-old brand Vinod Cookware sells stainless steel pressure cookers, plates, saucepan, kadhai, tawa among others. It competes with companies like Prestige, Hawkins as well as Vienna-based Bergner which sells stainless steel cookware.

Vinod Factory - 4 Vinod Cookware factory in Maharashtra

The company posted a revenue of Rs 180 crore in FY20 and is Agarwal said it hopes to match this number in FY21.

The market

The kitchen appliance market in India is estimated to be around Rs 22,000 crore in India. An allied segment is the cookware and kitchen accessories space which is around Rs 3,000 crore, growing 18-20 percent every year.

For cookware products, organised players like Vinod only contribute 35-40 percent of the market while the rest is occupied by small unorganised players.

Among cooking products, stainless steel utensils are the highest in demand followed by ceramic, non-stick and iron-based utensils. Most of the sales are done through offline stores across India, with online contributing less than 10 percent.

How did Coronavirus change the scenario?

In metro cities and large towns, salaried professionals and working couples prefer eating out or ordering from nearby food outlets.

Bare minimum cookware including one milk saucepan to make tea/coffee, one pressure cooker and one frying pan to boil noodles and cook vegetables is the staple found at most homes. But COVID-19 meant that individuals needed to upgrade.

More people were suddenly more active on social media all day, posting pictures of food cooked and served in attractive-looking utensils. New recipes were being posted. All of this meant that a regular frying pan used for all types of cooking purposes wouldn't be adequate.

This led to Indian customers aggressively searching for utensils and cookware online. Platforms like Amazon and Flipkart have cookware predominantly displayed on their home-pages showing the rise in customer searching for these products.

Agarwal said there is now increasing demand for their most expensive utensils even online. A cursory check on e-commerce platform Amazon showed a stainless steel kadai (pan) of 12-litre capacity costs Rs 5,192 after discount which means it is a high-end product.

“Customers are okay to spend more money as long as they get quality products. Cooking at home daily means that they do need to upgrade as far as cookware is concerned,” he added.

Traditionally, customers prefer going to stores to buy utensils so that quality and durability can be checked. However, a lockdown has moved this ritual online.

Players like Vinod Cookware have been quick to make that transition. Agarwal said compared to less than 5 percent in FY20, the company wants to increase its online sales presence to 20-25 percent in FY21.

However, he is quick to add that once the lockdown is lifted, customers will start coming back to stores.

“You have weddings coming up where cookware is a must gift. People won’t be comfortable buying these online. And learning lessons from the COVID-19 era, more young couples will start cooking at home on a regular basis,” he added.

Even for house parties, Agarwal is of the view that people would be more prone to cooking at home once they have the necessary products/utensils.

Will there be a rush to offer discounts?

Even if there is a rise in demand to buy products, Agarwal said the company does not believe in offering discounts.

“We are a premium brand and would want that tag to remain. We keep our prices constant and the idea is not to be too expensive but at the same time meet quality standards at a good price,” he added.

Most of the products by Vinod Cookware are priced upwards of Rs 1,400. Even if others offer price reductions, the company has decided to maintain the same levels in its pricing.
First Published on Jun 2, 2020 05:44 pm
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