Analyst Insight by Damien Shore - Contributing Analyst
In spite of predictions that it would transform the market in the wake of its introduction in the late 1990s, consumers have long been lukewarm towards silicone. However, its convenience and health and wellness advantages are increasingly being appreciated by consumers, particularly those living alone.
Clear Advantages but Underwhelming Sales
Silicone enjoys several important advantages over more traditional materials, such as ceramic, glass and metal, in the kitchen. It is more flexible (if bent, the mould regains its shape), more durable, easier to clean (it is dishwasher safe and less prone to sticking), more versatile (it can be taken from an oven/microwave and placed immediately in a fridge-freezer or vice versa) and requires little storage space as it can be rolled up. Silicone also enables manufacturers to provide consumers with more options in terms of colour, shape and design than traditional cookware materials.
In spite of these advantages, silicone accounted for a mere 11.1% of ovenware value sales in the US in 2013, down from 11.7% in 2009. However, silicone is growing in popularity in some Western European markets, particularly the UK, where its share of ovenware value sales increased from 8.2% to 12.5% over the same period.