There are several cookware products making the “green” claim. 360 Cookware is a TRUE eco friendly cookware – lessening the carbon footprint during the manufacturing process and for individual families using our products. The following article is a transcript from Green Talk Radio hosted by Antoinette Nue. She speaks with Americraft’s VP of Operations, Craig Weinand. Craig shares how Americraft produces green cookware using a sustainable manufacturing process. He also points out how the effect is further reached in the homes of consumers. Click here to listen to the original broadcast.
My first item this week is 360 Cookware. It’s a high-end, energy-efficient cookware. I think it’s fabulous for the same reasons that it’s energy efficient because you can use less gas by cooking it low on medium flame, you can finish faster, lock in the flavor of the food and it’s made in the U.S.A. Over a year ago I started watching the Top Chef shows and I must say I have really stepped up my cooking game so I think it’s fabulous to have a line of cookware that’s energy efficient because here to fore the oven was the most energy efficient appliance in your kitchen and among other things this cookware allows you to bake on the stove in less time and more flavor then you can bake in the oven. You can go to their website and watch their videos and see for yourself but here to tell us about it is Craig Weinand, Vice President of Operations for Americraft Cookware, the manufacturer of 360 Cookware. Craig thanks for joining us.
It’s a real pleasure to be here with you today Antoinette.
Tell us a little about the company’s story and how it is that this product is green.
Well, now I have to tell you, Americraft is an interesting story and everything starts with leadership. So in the formation of our company, it actually only dates back to 2004, we identified that our approach to business most incorporated green values wherever possible. So one of our core values at Americraft is insuring that our Earth is around as long as our cookware is.
And we really have 3 very distinct ways that we have identified to accomplish that goal. First is in the design of a very new and highly efficient plant facility. The second thing actually we changed the manufacturing process quite dramatically and the most important thing, Antoinette, is how the product performs as you described saving energy every time you use it so consumers who buy our cookware contribute everyday as well.
Way to get us in the game.
So what we did was we started with a brand new plant back in 2004. We’re located out in Wisconsin and any of the listeners that have been out to Wisconsin know we have some cold winters. So one of the first things we did was put a real high R-value insulation in our entire system and building of our plant. We put floor to ceiling windows in so we have natural light throughout the facility. Which is really important for employee’s moral and saving energy and lighting.
I’m a former builder Craig so you’re speaking my language.
I saw that on your bio. I thought you would like that. We located our plant in West Bend, Wisconsin and that’s actually where vapor-cooking technology was invented and the real key is real cold source supply chain. Most of our vendors are within two hours of our facility. So we’re not spending lots of time and transportation and burning fuels and so forth getting our materials. Our power company in Wisconsin, Wisconsin Electric, invested heavily in wind power in our area so we participate in a program where one hundred percent of our energy is at a premium through wind power. We think that’s important.
We’re members of the US Green Building Council. So we stay abreast on all the improvements. So there are a couple of things within the plant.
And that’s important stuff too, Craig. Let me take this opportunity to draw a parallel between sourcing your food locally. Which is what we encourage consumers to do and what you all have done, with sourcing all your resources locally in addition to the alternative energy that you’re using so I’m a big fan already.
All important steps.
Yep very good, all important steps. The next thing we did was we really looked hard at the manufacturing process and the employees have been here in the cookware business all of our lives so we changed the way cookware is manufactured and basically in cookware manufacturing there is a lot of oil typically used. We cut it down to just a trace of amount, which is burned off in the manufacturing process and that just did tremendous things for our internal processing. Most cookware out there today in retail stores, a lot of it sold at low price, what they do is make it out of aluminum and nonstick coat it or porcelain coat it and use a lot of chemicals in the process. We have no hazardous materials in the building because the way we change the process, we don’t need any EPA permits. We have no Department of Natural Sources permits required. So we just have a real clean operation.
So we perfected what we call a dry sanding process for cookware finishing and that has really changed the game for us as a manufacturer. One of the toughest things in manufacturing is when you get done fabricating and polishing and sanding, the product is actually clean and ready for the consumer to cook out of because of our changes in the process, our cleaners are naturally organic PH of 7 so there’s no cost in cleaning requirement. That’s a big advantage for us.
Ok. Now Craig let me jump in one time. Sorry folks what your hearing is an example of responsible manufacturing. You know as I listen to the buzz about reducing our carbon footprint, we, the consumers, continue to blame manufacturing but now there’s two points to know about that. The first one is manufacturers typically respond to what we consumers say we want. We want to buy something new every two years and we want it to be the biggest, the best, brightest and the most advanced. So they end up going back to the drawing board where regularly that becomes their paradigm. That’s the first point to note. The second point is that typically manufacturers have had little regard for that kind of carbon footprint that they are creating as they are going back to the drawing boards to give us the bigger, better, faster and most advanced. So what you’re hearing from Craig Weinand today is an example of responsible manufacturing. If you listen to all the points he made about the consideration just into the plant itself. This is not the cookware but just the plant itself and then the cookware. This is what a sustainable operation looks like and quality cookware isn’t something that’s just going to go out of style. There’s probably not going to be something bigger, better, faster and more advanced two years from now that encourages you to buy or get rid of this and buy something else. So keep your ears peeled more good stuff is coming. Ok, go ahead Craig, sorry I had to throw that in.
That’s a great summery and it’s just fun to talk about. It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work. The best part actually is the product itself. The first thing I mentioned was one of our core values being that we do our part to make sure the Earth is around as long as our cookware is. We have a lifetime warranty but it goes on a lot longer than that. One set of cookware for your life and most likely your kids life. It’s constructed out of stainless steel with aluminum and steel claded in between and it’s basically indestructible. It will last forever. Most consumers will end up buying four or five sets of cookware in their lifetime. Are they really recycling it properly? Probably not. You will have one great tool that you can enjoy cooking the rest of your life. So that’s one point of the product. Vapor cooking is really something special. There’s no need to add water as traditional people are taught to boil vegetables. The unique design allows it to be cooked in its natural built-in moisture. It’s something that you have to try and you will taste the difference. Actually vapor-cooked food stays very moist, you keep all the nutrition and all of the flavor inside and you never go to the drain and pour anything off so for cooking it’s a huge advantage. When you cook any meat, fish, poultry and pork theres no grease or oil required. That takes a little getting used to but you have to trust the cookware. Again all living food is full of moisture and we capture it inside our cooking system so that it cooks in its natural moisture. That’s a huge benefit to 360.
Craig I saw and watched the video but I haven’t gotten my cookware yet but I watched the video and the host had steamed or cooked some asparagus and when she took the top off the pot I could taste the asparagus.
That’s a very good visual and its just amazing to me how much moisture is in food naturally. So by the claded metal construction we design the vapor seal that locks it in and food cooks just on medium temperature, which that’s the next big thing and a point you already made is that you save about a third of the energy every time you cook and that’s a big deal. That’s something that every consumer can do in their home and as you mentioned you can even bake on top of the stove because its so efficient you don’t have to heat up a big oven. Most households are only 2 or 3 people or whatever. You can be efficient making whatever food you like to make. So one of the last points I have is you know Antoinette when people invest in good tools they tend to use them a lot more often. Just think if everyone cooked at home a little more often how much better we would feed our bodies and the time we would save in lines in drive troughs, fast food places and things like that. It only takes twelve to fourteen minutes to cook a wholesome meal in 360 Cookware because it’s so fast.
But so we are really excited to share with your listeners some of the benefits. I could go on for four hours if we had that much time but I know we are on a limited schedule. Our website gets better everyday. We started giving more and more testimonials and folks that discover fun things to do with our product so it’s a real exciting story for us.
Well Craig let me ask you this – does your cookware chop the vegetables too? That’s where the time comes in.
That’s a great question because that’s one of the toughest parts of cooking. Unfortunately it doesn’t cut up vegetables. All you have to do is rinse them, put them in the pan and put the cover on. The neat part is one other habit that needs to be changed is we cook with covers on so which means no peaking, which means you don’t have to stand there and stir, watch it and that sort of thing. The cookware doesn’t have hot spots. It cooks evenly so it’s an easy way to cook and help you a bit. The other thing is it’s very easy to clean. Stainless steel is very durable so it washes very fast.
Ok. So now Craig what’s the future of cookware if we follow the path that 360 Cookware has laid out for us? What does it look like ten years from now and twenty years from now?
Well you know Antoinette I’m really excited about the trends that are going on in society out there today because people are becoming much more informed on products that make a difference for a long haul. It’s kind of sad that vapor cooking technology was actually invented back in the early nineteen twenty’s.
People just haven’t been exposed to it to the point that programs like yours and the power of the Internet. We hope to be able to get that message out to a lot more people. People are conscious of where their foods come from, buying locally and staying in your backyard so you understand where your food’s produced. Giving the best value when your cooking food is the other half of the equation. We believe that vapor cooking is here for a long, long time and your going to have one product. When you change a habit, which is medium to low is all you need to know, leave the covers on, let the cookware do the cooking and you’re good. So we don’t see any dramatic changes. We change handles once in awhile to change the look up. We don’t have colors you mentioned earlier to change the look in your kitchen. Stainless steel is one of those nice things because it fits any décor and looks good for a long, long time actually that’s why we have a lifetime warranty.
Ok. So I imagine then that this past cookware will get passed around once it moves from one generation to the next. I imagine the kids will either buy their own or there will be a fight over who’s going to get the cookware from mom or dad.
We have a little joke over here in factory country in Wisconsin. We say that it’s next to fighting for your Packer tickets – which is something we’re also known for fighting over. So it rates right up there.
Beautiful. Well I love the business model. I’m a big fan of business models so I want to encourage listeners to support the company because it’s a fine example of responsible manufacturing and it’s a great product too. Craig thanks for joining us today and giving us a cookware education and a cooking in cookware education.