Instant Brands Files for Bankruptcy Following Pandemic-Era Boom

Add ground beef, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and spices. You press a button, go to work, and come back hours later to eat perfectly prepared chili.

For a while, the Instant Pot, an electronically controlled device that allows you to pressure-cook and slow-cook food, has been a coveted kitchen tool. The product hit the market in his 2010 and quickly became a top seller, creating a legion of fans who call themselves “Potheads” and use their Instant Pot to create dozens of recipes.

These potheads still exist today, making soups, stews and puddings. But in recent years, Instant Pot has failed to attract new fans and its parent company has struggled.

Instant Brands, maker of Instant Pot and home brands such as Pyrex, Snapware and Corningware, announced Monday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to the company, the move will secure $132.5 million in funding so it can continue to restructure its operations rather than liquidate them. The company did not respond to a request for comment on sales on Wednesday.

“After successfully navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and global supply chain crisis, Instant Brands continues to push the global macroeconomic We are facing a range of economic and geopolitical challenges that are impacting our business.” “

In an article, Instant Brand said: statement On Wednesday, the company announced that the new funding will allow it to continue paying its employees, vendors and suppliers. Corporations outside the United States and Canada are not subject to bankruptcy filings.

The company didn’t say if any particular product sold poorly. However, sales and unit sales of multi-cookers — home appliances that can cook food in different ways — fell 20% from April 2022 to April 2023, according to market research firm Circana. Sales data for other instant branded products were not available.

The drop in sales came after a boom during the coronavirus pandemic. Multi-cookers and air fryers reportedly posted “double-digit sales” in 2020. NPD Group, a market research firm that later merged with another company to form Circana. As a result, “many households are now stocking these appliances,” the report said.

Instant Brands is one of many companies dealing with a sales slump after the pandemic-induced surge in sales.

According to Barbara E. Kahn, a professor of marketing at the university, many people who were stuck at home in the midst of the pandemic did indoor activities like cooking and exercising, and used kitchen appliances, Peloton bikes and other things they needed. You purchased the product. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

But after the lockdown ended, people realized they “don’t need instapots anymore,” said Dr Khan, using the gadget’s popular nickname. “They don’t need new peloton. They don’t need the one they’ve already bought.”

Home exercise equipment company suffers losses after sales of Peloton bicycles surge early in pandemic $439 million Last year, it laid off 20 percent of its workforce as people returned to the gym.

S&P Global, a credit rating and analytics firm, Downgraded Instant Brands Consumer spending in the discretionary category declined last week.I did again Tuesday after the company filed for bankruptcy. S&P analysts reported June 8 that instant brand net sales in the first quarter of 2023 fell 21.9% year-on-year, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of sales declines.

Sumriti P. Randawa, a professor of clinical accounting at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Management, said there is still hope for Instant Brands because Section 11 of the Bankruptcy Code gives Instant Brands a chance to restructure its business. said. But part of the problem with brands like Instant He Brand and companies like Peloton is that they produce durable products that don’t need to be replaced regularly, Dr. Landawa said.

Khan said companies that make what economics call “durables” need to give consumers a reason to replace their products.

Dr. Landawa, who bought an Instant Pot during the pandemic, said he still uses it to make meals several times a week.

“Social media sold it to me,” she said. “Yes, it will probably last for a long time, so there is no need to rush to replace it.”

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