i A focus on products, materials, energy consumption which helps consumers reduce their energy bills. In these difficult times, with energy costs at an all-time high, many homeware companies are implementing competitive policies on two levels: on the one hand, by concentrating on more “virtuous” products – in terms of the concept, materials, use, etc. – on an overall economical level; on the other hand, by promoting products through a “story” which includes useful tips on how to save energy in daily life. And, what matters most is that generally it is not about affected tactics – rather, it is about promoting the intrinsic content and use which better satisfy current consumer requirements. From this perspective, it is clear that the contribution made by communication in the media and retail stores is crucial.
The benefits of pressure cookers
«For us the energy saving approach can actually be seen in all our collections», says Andrea Barazzoni, Chairman and CEO at Barazzoni. «Beginning with our line of pressure cookers, which we have always promoted by highlighting product issues such as saving time and energy, safety (given that they are made in Italy and undergo strict checks), versatility – seeing as they can be used to prepare anything from an appetizer to a dessert – and that they preserve the nutritional properties of food. The focus on the financial saving comes through loud and clear with the slogans we have been using – for several weeks now – in our brand stores, our exclusive retailers, on social media and on our website». One such example is It pays for itself! Save on your energy bills … and it will last a lifetime. Halloween was also a golden opportunity to communicate the concept of economising, as well as reassuring those who are still anxious about using the product, via entertaining IG slideshow stories on Worried about your energy bills? No worries with pressure cookers.
«As for our stainless steel product lines - continues Barazzoni - the three-layer, heat-diffusing bottom, spreads the heat evenly and maintains the temperature inside the pan for longer, this means that the heat can be turned down to a minimum or even turned off completely (passive cooking). Similarly, our non-stick range of products, also suitable for induction hobs, guarantee maximum energy efficiency thanks to the speed at which they heat up and ability to save energy. Let’s not forget that the instructions accompanying all our pans include a wealth of tips on how to save energy, such as turning down the heat, using a lid and even combined cooking». Knowing that retailers can explain all these concepts to their consumers effectively, the company provides material to display in-store, explanatory leaflets, and jpg pictures to post on social media.
Sustainable raw materials and behaviour
For the average family, saving on gas and energy is currently a necessary action. «Nowadays this is undoubtedly one of the issues which influences consumers the most when buying new kitchen utensils» underlines Cinzia Casagrande Sales and Marketing Director at Alluflon . «Since 1875 Moneta has provided Italians with kitchen products entirely made in Italy using innovative, safe materials. A success story which is always in step with the times: in fact, our brand has always been careful to intercept the needs of contemporary life, and for some years now the company has shown itself to be ready to meet the challenge of increasingly sustainable manufacturing. Today, it is crucially important to talk about saving energy».
For some time now Moneta has been using 100% recycled aluminium for some product lines, this material is particularly suited to saving energy due to its high heat conductivity (14 times higher than steel). There’s more: it requires 95% less energy to produce 1kg of recycled aluminium compared to extracted aluminium «In recent years, we have launched various product lines made of series 100% recycled aluminium, such as Recy, Aria Recycled, Eden and Gea. This material is lightweight, hygienically safe, tough, and can be recycled again and again without losing its remarkable intrinsic properties».
In order to describe products properly, it appears to be increasingly strategic to support retailers by providing them with all the information available to help them advise consumers who are more and more knowledgable and aware. «To this end we have prepared material containing our 10 tips on how to save energy», says Casagrande. «This content will be displayed in store windows with a QR code and specific leaflets, as well as on the landing page https://www.moneta.it/pages/moneta-per-il-risparmio-energetico. There will also be newsletters and ongoing direct communication with stores and posts on our social media channels: we will continue to promote energy saving via special recipes, small daily changes, such as choosing the right-sized burner on the hob and cooking pasta with the heat turned off».
Thin thickenesses for baking moulds
From the consumer’s point of view, when it comes to using the oven, saving energy is particularly important. An oven is a thermally insulated chamber inside which food is cooked by being exposed to heat: when food is cooking, a hot element, the baking mould, comes into contact with a cold element, i.e. the food to be cooked. During this process, it is important not to put a barrier between the heat source and the food: therefore, the thickness of the baking mould should be kept to a minimum, the best material for this purpose is steel which can be reduced to a thickness of 0.3/0.4 mm. «Our extensive manufacturing experience means that we can produce particularly thin baking moulds with perfect results in the kitchen - explains Elena Guardini, Marketing Manager at Guardini - thus optimizing the quantity of materials used, cutting cooking times and therefore saving energy. Our products are made of ECCS steel, more commonly known as “Hi-Top”, which can be worked into a very thin layer: thanks to this characteristic together with our extensive know-how which we have consolidated over the years, we have managed to reach such a level of expertise as to be able to produce optimised baking moulds in terms of reducing the quantity of raw materials employed as well as functionality and saving energy».
This issue is a cornerstone of our company’s consumer communication. «The message we want to send plays on the twofold meaning of “lightweight” - concludes Guardini - on the one hand, the emotional state when having a get-together in the kitchen with friends or family, and on the other, the optimised weight of our tins».
Comfort & savings in the bedroom
It doesn’t only concern producers of cooking utensils. «Saving energy is a current issue, and has been for some months, we know the impact it will have on our lives and on the purchasing behaviour of consumers» states Carlo Del Bo E-Commerce & Marketing Manager at DaunenStep. «It is our primary focus: in fact, months ago we created a specific marketing campaign – which will run during the winter months – to make the end-user aware of the importance of having access to quality, high-performance products, which are able to withstand the cold we will have to face this winter. Based on information gathered from research carried out by a consultancy company specialised in energy, we realised that if the temperature in the bedroom is reduced by 2 degrees (from 20° to 18°) – combined with a DaunenStep duvet on the bed– there is no difference in the quality of sleep. In fact, the properties of our duvets help the body regulate its own temperature, while the 18° room temperature creates a cool environment, ideal for a good night’s sleep. Our communication campaign aims to intercept needs driven by the current scenario but also address new consumers who are willing to buy high-quality products supported by valid technical features from a brand committed to answering consumer needs».
The consumer campaign is a win-win for retailers. «When we launch any new communication, our retailers are informed of the objectives and modalities via newsletters, they receive all the information they need to properly answer questions from potential consumers”, explains Del Bo. “Obviously, social media channels play an increasingly pivotal role: stores are always invited to share our posts with their respective networks of followers, so as to make the campaign more effective».
The pots and also lids
«Energy can be saved at the hob and by using high-performance cooking tools which make food preparation faster and more efficient without compromising quality and flavour. For example, using the right lid on a pan when cooking and when boiling water for pasta saves time and money, as we can keep the burner or plate on for less time as the heat accumulates inside the pan. In addition, a frying pan with a heavy bottom stays hot longer than one with a thin base, food also cooks more evenly » explains Sasha Hoffman, owner of Weissestal and W°pots.
«The characteristics which make a cooking tool high performance can be found in our W°pots lines, there are basically four of them: a heavy base, which maintains heat during extended cooking times and prevents food from sticking and ensures that it cooks evenly; a non-stick coating, free from PFOA and PFOS, tough and scratch-resistant and user-friendly; a thick, flat bottom, which conducts heat efficiently, particularly on induction hobs, a solid, full-induction iron base ensures little heat loss thanks to the direct, full contact between the frying pan and the induction plate; so properly fitting lids are essential. Passive cooking is all about using the right lid on the right pan» .
A warning signal from Fiac
«The cost of energy is beginning to significantly slow down the economy, this must be averted. In Italy, the situation is particularly dramatic and affects the entire economic chain, beginning with the rise in the cost of raw materials which, combined with higher production costs, causes a rise in the price of products. This impacts how much families can afford to spend, who – as well as being hit by more expensive consumer goods– are inevitably forced to cut back in order to be able to pay their energy bills. So far, in Europe, the response has been slow and bland: our government faces a tricky balancing act between public spending and the intention to free up resources to support businesses and families in this difficult period. This support is both essential and urgent, if we want to avoid the looming economic crisis».
Andrea Barazzoni, President of Fiac - Italian Association of Manufacturers of Homeware Products