A South Korean brand specializing on food storage aims to grow its product line this year with the addition of glass food containers and a much wider range of specialty cookware.
The Lock & Lock brand is very much familiar to many Filipinos, especially those with school-age kids. The technology behind its airtight, four-sided interlocking containers has won over millions of customers worldwide.
According to the China Brand Index, 93 percent of Chinese are aware of the brand, said Jay Jeoung, Lock & Lock deputy general manager for Europe and Asia. The brand’s annual revenues have grown from $323 million in 2010 to $423 million in 2012.
“We expanded to Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines, but in China we opened 20 new branches. Lock & Lock now has eight plants—one in Korea, three in China and four in Vietnam,” Jeoung said.
Lock & Lock recently hosted a familiarization trip for Philippine media and local suppliers to its Ho Chi Minh plants. We visited three of the four plants that produce water bottles, glassware and cookware. The factories are located near each other so we were able to check out the production lines and see how things were made and quality control was maintained.
Fans of Hello Kitty can look forward to pink Lock & Lock tumblers and snack containers bearing the famous cat’s face. “We’re still waiting for the go-signal to carry Hello Kitty, but we expect to get it before the end of the year,” said Raphael L. Chua, marketing manager of Sawasdee Marketing Corp., exclusive distributor of Lock & Lock products in the Philippines.
“What our customers can expect by August is a full range of glass containers and specialty cookware. This is really what we are excited about,” he said.
Tempered vs heat-resistant
Unlike other glass containers made of tempered glass, the ones manufactured by Lock & Lock use heat-resistant or borosilicate glass—which contains boron trioxide in addition to silicon dioxide, making it thermal-resistant even in the absence of additional treatment.
To see the difference, we were made to peer through a special thermal film that showed how tempered glass had “rainbows,” while heat-resistant glass remained clear. The rainbows mean that stress is unevenly distributed in tempered glass, while there is almost no stress in heat-resistant glass, which is due to the slow cooling process during manufacturing.
Homemakers and mothers with young children will appreciate the fact that heat-resistant glass will not shatter if it breaks, unlike tempered glass which can result in scattered fragments once it breaks.
Lock & Lock’s glass containers can be used in different environments, including ovens, microwave ovens at 400 ºC and freezers. The current range consists of the Euro line which received a Red Dot Design Award in Germany in 2011; the Clear line which is more suitable for storing food and side dishes; and Glass Ovenware with detachable silicon handles that remain cool when food is cooked in an oven.
Chua said Lock & Lock’s complete range of cookware, including Speed Cook, Ceramic, Deco, and Milky, will be available in August. The oddly named Milky is a line of pots and saucepans.
He was particularly excited about Speed Cook because it cuts cooking time for eggs, bacon, pancakes, stir-fried noodles and other common food items.
“Many Filipinos now live hectic lives. It’s a big deal for them if they are able to shave minutes off their daily chores, like cooking. This was one of the most repeated comments we received from customers when we introduced the Speed Cook pans,” he said.
The complete range of Lock & Lock cookware costs around P10,000; customers usually try them out by buying one or two pieces. “Many of them come back after a week to complete the range of eight pieces,” Chua said.
It remains to be seen whether Lock & Lock will achieve its target this year to become the world’s No. 1 brand in storage containers. But its merchandise mix should be a big draw.
Lock & Lock is available at Shangri-La Mall, Eastwood City Libis, Glorietta 4, Alabang Town Center, Banilad Cebu, Lucky Chinatown and Araneta Mega Storage.