You probably can find the results of Aline Le Thiec’s work in your kitchen. As our retail and brand owner manager for Industrial Coatings in the EMEA region, she collaborates with manufacturers, retailers and brand owners to keep food from adhering to their kitchenware products through the use of our non-stick coatings.
Push/Pull Sales Approach
A self-professed epicurean, Aline has worked in the kitchenware industry for almost a quarter century. She and the portfolio of non-stick coatings that she manages came to us in 2019 through our acquisition of Whitford.
Kitchenware comprises three key categories – cookware (pots and pans), bakeware (products that go in the oven) and small appliances. To grow our sales of non-stick coatings in each category, Aline uses a push/pull approach that is somewhat unique to our company.
“I sell our non-stick coatings directly to two kitchenware manufacturers, which is the push component. For pull, I engage with retailers and brand owners to educate them about our non-stick coatings. These customers don’t buy directly from us. Instead, our goal is to get them to specify our coatings with the manufacturers of their products.”
Sliding into a Growing Opportunity
In addition to meeting with customers, Aline and her team attend major kitchenware shows throughout the year to showcase our non-stick coatings and identify industry trends. At the 2023 Ambiente consumer goods fair, the hot topic was per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS).
Because PFAS chemicals are facing a potential ban in Europe, many conversations with Ambiente attendees were on this subject. Everyone is looking for alternative coatings. This is an opportunity for us since we offer non-stick coatings that are specifically formulated without PFAS.
PPG FUSION™ Pro is our latest, most advanced sol-gel “ceramic” non-stick coating for kitchenware. This two-coat, water-based system that is specifically formulated without PFAS, uses silicone-based technology, which produces a hard, ceramic-like surface. The coating offers excellent release performance, is dishwasher safe, can withstand higher temperatures and abrasion, and features a high-gloss finish.
“When I first tried a pan with PPG Fusion Pro coating, I almost lost three eggs when transferring the pan from the stove to the table. It really impressed me.”
Focus on Customer and Consumer Satisfaction
Keeping consumers impressed is the goal of our quality cooperative program (QCP), which helps ensure applicators and manufacturers using our non-stick coatings produce quality finished products. To become a QCP member, a manufacturer must pass an initial onsite audit conducted by our technical team. The audit evaluates equipment, surface preparation, coating thickness and curing process – key success factors for non-stick coatings. To remain in the program, members must undergo an audit every three years.
When a brand owner or retailer is looking for a qualified applicator or manufacturer, we provide them with our list of QCP members. Another member benefit is being able to use our logo on products. I encourage consumers to buy kitchenware products that display our logo.
All customers benefit from our online Kitchenware Digital Event, which provides product and technical information, application guidance, use and care recommendations, and troubleshooting tips. A section dedicated to color gives a virtual look at PPG coatings in a kitchen setting.
“While consumers are very open to color on the outside of cookware, bakeware and appliances, they stay conventional for the inside, which is where our non-stick coatings are used. That’s why almost 85% of our non-stick coating sales are black or gray. There are some markets like the Middle East that embrace bolder colors, and we also have had success with a spatter effect.”
Passionate Team Equals Recipe for Success
That success and others can be attributed to what Aline describes as a team of epicureans who are passionate about kitchenware.
“We have a super tight relationship. We help each other and communicate a lot, just like a family. We know our customers very well, and they recognize our professionalism and expertise. We’re able to supply the world’s top kitchenware brands because we have the highest quality products and service. This is something that makes me #PPGProud.”
Aline says the best part of her job is seeing a customer’s product with our logo displayed in a store after working with the retailer or brand owner for months.
“I’m excited like a little girl. It’s pure happiness for me.”