In the world of cookware, like most other things, there is a big debate on the actual value of the products as compared to the price paid. Whereas in a fair market, all things that sell well are deemed to have a fair price, there still is a need of understanding how these prices are arrived at, and to that end are the prices justified on common parameters.
Through this article we will try and explain as to why there is such a wide spectrum of prices for cookware and how the expensive ones are different to the cheaper ones and most importantly, do the expensive ones offer more value, consistent with the demand of the price? In the cookware segment, we always say that it is an investment rather than an expense and a thorough research on the coat implication is incumbent upon all who are looking at investing money in their cookware for a long term usage perspective. There are many differences, obviously between the cheap and the expensive cookwares starting from their finish, material used and other parameters. Let us discuss some of those in detail:
- Material Used: Obviously, the material used for making the cookware will have the most impact on its quality and by implication, on the price. Since most cookware are made of a metal, the more expensive metals will certainly cost more. For example a copper pan will definitely be much more costly than, say an aluminum pan and that is well justified. Copper has characteristics that are very useful in cookery such as superior heat conduction and uniform distribution as well as sturdiness and long life. These attributes make it a more expensive choice. So therefore, the material used is a prime reason that impacts the cost of a finished cookware.
- Coating: Most advanced cookware of today is coated. Be it a stainless steel pan, aluminum or a copper one. The non stick cookware are all coated with various strengths and qualities of compounds. Generally Speaking, the better and more layers of coatings there are, the more expensive is the cookware eventually. For example in the non stick cookware segment cookware is sold with one coating, two or three, obviously the one with three coats will be more expensive, at the same time will last longer, will have better fit and finish and will be smoother and more visibly attractive.
- Construction Quality: The third most important thing that differentiates an expensive cookware from the cheap ones is the quality of construction, finish and workmanship on the product. Since machinery and labor are two of the most costly inputs in the making of cookware, the better construction quality, obviously the more expensive the product would be. At the same time, the cookware will be sturdier, built better and last a whole lot longer than the ones with poor workmanship. Generally speaking all the three pointers discussed here are not mutually exclusive but are rather inclusive, which is to say that any cookware or an appliance that has the best quality material used will generally have a great workmanship and construction quality as well as the applied coating and vice versa.
- The Brand: Whether the popularity of a brand has a direct bearing on quality is a long drawn debate that people have been discussing for ages. What is true however is that the bigger brands will generally have better market presence that will aid availability and will be more likely to use better quality of material and workmanship just by leveraging its sales and investing more in infrastructure, awareness and research. They will also be more considerate towards customer complaints and more pro active in solving those. In addition they will have substantial budgets for marketing, advertising and sales. All these have a cost that is built in into the price of the product. Having said this however, it is definitely true that most people want to buy branded products for its legacy, market recognition and the service it provides. The individual choice is obviously of the person making the purchase.
IS IT WORTH IT TO BUY EXPENSIVE COOKWARE?
Well, Yes and No. Depending on your personal usage pattern, individual requirements and cooking style, it can be debated whether it is prudent to invest money in expensive cookware. It is none the less fairly accepted that cookware is bought to last long years, even lifetimes and to that end, most people want to buy the best that their budget permits.
Let us examine a few pointers based on which you can decide whether it really makes sense to buy cookware that seems to be more expensive that you are willing to spend:
- Durability: Durability is one of the most important attributes of any cookware. Most of us have a favorite pot or pan in our kitchens and we generally like to cook in those only, given a choice. It is therefore important to understand that good quality cookware, which certainly will be expensive on the first buy will eventually pay for itself through its long years of usage. It is not uncommon to inherit metal pots and pans from the previous generations or to pass it on to the next. Durability must be considered when investing in buying cookware and whether one buy will equal to many in the long run.
- Usage: Generally speaking, most of us these days don’t really find a lot of time to indulge in time consuming, gourmet cooking, and especially those of us living in bigger cities and working. It is therefore a matter of consideration whether the expensive cookware that you are spending on will be worth the limited usage that you expect out of it. The usage pattern and frequency should be a prime factor before you go splurging on the next buy of cookware or indeed of anything else.
As is evident from the above, although at a broad level, we might find that some cookware are probably more expensive than they ideally should be, It should be understood that over a period of time, these will tend to pay for itself with its longevity, performance and usage.