Where 360 Cookware is Made and Why it Matters
Do you know where your cookware comes from? We do—right here in the USA. More specifically, it’s a place we consider a hidden gem, home to just over 30,000 people—West Bend, Wisconsin.
Beyond the fact that we’re proud of our town, why does it matter that we produce 360 Cookware here? And if our high-quality, waterless cookware is American made cookware, why did the “Made in the USA” label disappear?
Here’s the answer.
What it Means to be ‘Made in America’
Americans are proud and patriotic, so it’s no wonder that 78 percent of Americans prefer to buy products made in the USA.
Buying an American-made cookware product means we are investing in American manufacturing, which is good for our economy. Sixty-one percent of Americans also buy products labeled “Made in the USA” because it is higher quality than similar products made elsewhere. But what does it take to earn that coveted label?
That’s where things get a little confusing. There are many products that claim to be American made to some degree. The Federal Trade Commission categorizes “Made in the USA” labels into qualified and unqualified claims.
Unqualified claims mean that all or virtually all of the product’s parts were made in the USA and are accurately documented. Qualified claims explain what portion is American made and what is not, for example “designed in the USA, produced in China.”
Where 360 Cookware is Made
Today, over 85 percent of 360 Cookware production and components originate primarily in the USA. That’s a fact we’re very proud of .
So if our waterless cookware previously was labeled “Made in the USA,” why did we take it off?
In 2019, our last dependable source for high-quality materials in the U.S. shut their doors and concluded business. Unable to find another vendor to support our needs, 360 Cookware was forced to outsource bonded materials from South Korea.
Our team has worked diligently to assure all materials derive from sustainable sources to maintain both integrity and quality. While we are huge believers in bringing manufacturing back to the USA, in this scenario, it was simply not an option. We’re happy to report that our partner in South Korea produces the highest quality material with which we have ever worked.
To remain compliant with the FTC’s definition of a US-manufactured product, “all or virtually all” parts must be made in the USA in order to be American made cookware. 360 Cookware has chosen to temporarily remove this distinction, as we are arguably no longer “all or virtually all” made in the USA.
Promising the High-Quality American Made Cookware
Although the cost to produce a 360 Cookware pan is disproportionately a US-majority expense, the lack of definition made this a tough call.
When foreign-made materials undergo ‘substantial transformation’ in the USA, the FTC’s vague verbiage regards them as “Made in the USA”. Visitors who take our factory tour will note 24 steps of ‘substantial transformation’, and that’s on just one part of the pan!
Our organization places great value on transparency, which led to our decision to discontinue the “Made in the USA” label. We are working hard to resume purchasing materials in the USA, but until then, we promise to procure equally excellent products regardless of origin.
Here’s our promise to you. First, our products will never end up in a landfill. We know we’re producing cookware with incredible value. Second, we pay the industry’s most sustainable wages. Providing American workers with a livable wage is the right thing to do. Paying honorable wages means steeper labor costs, and that labor cost alone accounts for the majority of our expenses accrued “all or virtually all” in the USA.
Returning to 100% ‘Made in the USA’
The FTC provides much room for interpretation with its “Made in the USA” label, but 360 Cookware chose to avoid the possibility of legal arguments. We still clearly share where our production and components originate.
Until we can again source 100% of materials in the USA, we’ll wait to make the “Made in the USA” claim.
And we’re getting there! Last year, we brought our rivets back to the USA. This year, we have big goals of adding metal handles to that list. We’re going to stay strong, and work hard until all 360 Cookware and bakeware is once again “Made in the USA”.
Interested in learning how your cookware is crafted? Here’s what goes into making one 360 Cookware One Quart Pan:
Parts Needed to Make a One Quart Pan with Lid:
- 1 Bonded metal disk - Made in South Korea
- 1 Single ply stainless disk - Made in the USA
- 1 long metal stick handle - Made in China
- 1 short lid handle - Made in the USA
- 4 stainless rivets - Made in the USA
Production Needed to Make a One Quart Pan with Lid:
*Shell is the term used to describe the pan body
*Cover is the term used to describe the pan's lid
- Bond stainless/aluminum/stainless metal disk - South Korea
- Cut blanks for use in cookware shell production - South Korea
- Form stick handle - China
- Finish stick handle - China
- Mill stainless cover metal - USA
- Cut blanks for use in cookware cover production - USA
- Diecast cover handle - USA
- Finish cover handle - USA
- Diecast rivet - USA
- Surface finish rivet - USA
- Press shell blank into initial form - USA
- Press set down into shell for cover set down - USA
- Trim shell form to perfect circle radius - USA
- Sand shell inside finish from bronze to food-safe - USA
- Buff shell outside finish from bronze to mirror - USA
- Finish shell bottom - USA
- Wash formed and finished shell - USA
- Pre-Trim shell inspection - USA
- Perforate shell for handle rivets - USA
- Place and rivet stick handle to shell - USA
- Laser etch trademark to shell - USA
- Post trim shell inspection - USA
- Pack formed, finished, trimmed, and inspected shell - USA
- Press cover blank into initial form - USA
- Trim cover form to perfect circle radius - USA
- Sand cover inside finish from bronze to food-safe - USA
- Buff cover outside finish from bronze to mirror - USA
- Wash formed and finished cover - USA
- Pre-Trim cover inspection - USA
- Perforate cover for handle rivets - USA
- Place and rivet strap handle to cover - USA
- Post trim cover inspection - USA
- Pack formed, finished, trimmed, and inspected shell - USA
- Final inspection of both shell and cover - USA
- Pack and ship complete One Quart - USA
Six Parts, 35 Production Steps and Expert Craftsmanship-
Our goal is to return to 100% Made in the USA by 2023, but until then, we’ll continue to craft superior cookware and bakeware that we are proud to stand behind. We hope you enjoyed learning more about how your 360 Cookware is designed and built, and continue to trust us for your culinary needs for mostly American made cookware.