Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sur La Table Reports on Knife Sales Trends & Introduces Innovative New Knife Line

Seattle-based Sur La Table, the premier retailer for creative cooking and artful entertaining, reports on current cutlery sales trends. As consumers continue to cook and entertain more at home they are investing in quality kitchenware gear to enhance their experience. Professional chefs have always known that a sharp knife is the most indispensible tool in the kitchen, now, more than ever before, home cooks are outfitting their kitchens with professional-quality cutlery.

Open-stock cutlery continues to trend ahead of sets; however, set sales have increased during the past few years as the company continues to introduce new collections. In terms of blade popularity, the Santoku blade, which is frequently featured on cooking shows and hyped by popular on-air personalities, out-performed the Chef’s knife for a number of years. The Santoku craze seems to have diminished slightly and is now neck-in-neck with Chef’s knife sales. The two shapes are used for the same fundamental purpose: chopping, dicing and mincing.

High-end brands consistently sell better than the lower-end brands. Japanese knives continue to grow in popularity. Often more exotic in design, Japanese blades are crafted with high-tech steels that stay sharp longer. Narrower edge angles also make for cleaner, thinner cutting. Innovation is one of the most important drivers of the consistently growing cutlery sales trend. More innovation has taken place in the past five years than in the previous 30, both in terms of materials and construction as well as blade shapes. With greater competition and advancement in technologies, manufacturers are becoming more innovative.

As a leader in the cutlery-world, consumers, manufacturers and other retailers look to Sur La Table for inspiration. It was the first national retailer in the United States to introduce Shun to consumers and is frequently sought out by manufacturers to launch new brands and products. In the past few years the company introduced Shun Premier, Wusthof Emeril Professional, Wusthof Ikon Blackwood, J.A. Henckels Limited-Edition 1731 Collection along with many others. The latest innovative cutlery lines to be introduced by Sur La Table are Miyabi Fusion and Miyabi Birchwood.

In Japan, Miyabi is regarded as one of the most premium knife brands among the finest chefs. Sur La Table launched the new Miyabi Fusion line in June; Miyabi Birchwood SG2 will be available in September 2010. “Miyabi Fusion is one of the most innovative cutlery lines we have ever created. The first line to merge German and Japanese design and technology, this line brings the consumer the best of both worlds,” states Jacob Maurer, Vice President of Merchandising for Sur La Table. Maurer, along with members of his team, traveled to Japan to help develop Miyabi Fusion, an exclusive collection developed in conjunction with Chef Masaharu Morimoto. The goal was to blend the best of Eastern and Western knife-making traditions: the advanced steel construction, edge performance and thin sharp cutting edge of Japanese cutlery blended with western blade shapes and sizes and a handle designed for comfort for both left- and right-handed cooks.

Miyabi Fusion consists of forged 65-layer construction—a core of VG10 “super steel” clad on either side with 32 layers of special stainless steel, ice hardened for toughness, flexibility and corrosion resistance, and finished by master craftsmen using traditional honbazuke blade honing technique. Each knife features an extremely hard and lasting edge, optimally sharpened to 9.5 – 12 degree angles on each side. A graceful Damascus pattern exposes the meticulously layered steel and our exclusive rounded spine and blade heel are gentler on fingers and hands. Beautiful and ultra-durable full-tang, triple riveted composite handles are equally comfortable for right and left-handed cooks and feature eye-catching red accents.

Miyabi Birchwood SG2 knives are the embodiment of the beauty of sharpness, made in the tradition of Japanese swords. According to Maurer, “Miyabi Birchwood is a truly unique collection in terms of materials and design. The handles are hand-crafted from natural Masur Birchwood, each having a different grain pattern and a striking contrast to the 101 layer SG2 Damascus blade. For the blade we chose a "flower" pattern Damascus because we felt it shows off the layering in an impressive way. The best part is these knives are every bit as functional as they are beautiful: the wood handle feels warm and smooth in your hand and the blade's sharpness and edge-retention qualities are unmatched.” Each knife is hand-finished in the honbazuke style with a true cutting edge in the factory in Seki, Japan. The Birchwood handle has delicately rippled patterns enhanced by dark streaks and lines.

“Buying a knife is a little like buying shoes: You have to try it out to know how it fits.”—Sarah Jay, Knives Cooks Love. Knowing the importance of finding the right knife, Sur La Table outfits its stores with testing in mind. Highly educated sales staff guide customers through the extensive selection and allow them to test drive different brands and styles. Consumers interest in cutlery slices into classroom time as well. Demand for honing basic skills and learning fundamental cuts continues to grow. Sur La Table’s Knife Skills class remains in the top-selling category throughout the country. All retail locations offer knife sharpening services; complimentary sharpening services are offered to its customers twice a year. Maurer continues to drive innovation, assortment and exclusivity as key elements of the company’s collection.

1 comment:

Peilin Breller said...

I recently purchased two Miyabi Fusion Hollow-Edge Santoku knives from Sur La Table. I am a food stylist and recently had an entire set of Wustof knives stolen. Even though my professional discount doesn't apply to cutlery, i purchased them any way. i was given the opportunity to test drive the knives before purchase (Sur La Table will nomally stock raw potatoes, carrots etc. so you try out the blades right there)

I just wanted to share that these knifes are fantastic. During he last shoot I worked on, we all fought over who got to use these knives at their stations.

They are well made, they maintain their sharpness and the ergonomic positioning and grip are just right for even smaller hands (like mine).