Question: How can a company charge a lot more for their products made in China?

Answer: Very simple. Just come up with a very strange name and add an Italian flag to the box. Done!

It always make me laugh to think of how gullible we are when we are looking for quality in a product. This strategy is however old news, but it always interesting to see how far a national (and sometimes a multinational company) is willing to push the envelope to make us believe something that is not.

My preferred one use to be Dolmio. I have no idea of how many times I got told.. “ah Italiano, you must use Dolmio”, while picking up a bag of home brand spaghetti at Wollies.. The best part was to see their face after my reply “Dolmio?!?! Never heard of it. What is it?”  “Mate, Dolmio is the most popular brand of Italian made sauce in Australia.. We buy it all the time we cook pasta..”

To Dolmio credit, they did a great job at brain washing people with their constant TV advertisement of a resemblance of Italian people (at first, then cartoons) using a very strong Italian accent.

Unfortunately, Dolmio is owned by Mars Incorporate, an American pet food company. May as well, as their Bolognese sauce really taste like dog food… 😀 I did try it once (not the dog food). Never again!

What about Latina or Leggo’s? Nope, nothing Italian there either… Last time I looked, Barilla was the only Italian brand on the shelves, but that doesn’t mean that it is the only good one!

Yesterday I was looking at a replacement for my pasta cooking pot. Nothing wrong with my old one other than the size is now a bit to big for the cooktop and also for the quantity of pasta that I’m cooking lately. While looking for a replacement I kept coming across this Esteele brand “made in Italy”. Again, could this be another Dolmio product?

This is the link to the Italian Business Register of the Chambers of Commerce. Very simple to use. Type in the name of the company and in a second you can see what is really “Made in Italy”. Just try it. Type Dolmio or Esteele, then maybe try Ferrari or Ducati..

Esteele does charge a lot for their kitchen cookware and they even have a dedicated website (with a big Italian Flag) where it clearly says in bold “Made in Italy”. But then in the footnote it clearly state: Meyer Cookware Australia.

Meyer Corporation is a cookware distributor based in Vallejo, California, United States, whose parent company is Hong Kong based Meyer Manufacturing Co. Ltd. It is the largest cookware distributor in the United States and second largest in the world. The company was founded in 1981.[1] Cookware labels or lines for which Meyer is the parent firm include Circulon, Anolon, NapaStyle, SilverStone, Prestige and BonJour. Meyer owns the license for cookware produced under the Farberware label in addition to producing private label cookware for Macy’s and Sur La Table.[2]

The roots of the company began in Hong Kong with aluminum goods manufacturing and changed to cookware beginning in 1971 with the ascension of Stanley K. Cheng as CEO and chief inventor. The name of the firm is a transliteration of the Chinese words ‘beautiful’ (mei) and ‘Asia’ (yah). In 1972, the first line of cookware produced by Meyer was sold in London. Marketing distribution centers in Liverpool, England, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, were founded in 1976 and 1980, respectively. Meyer’s cookware is manufactured and distributed internationally with factories in China, Thailand and Italy. Cookware lines are stainless steel, hard-anodized aluminum, and non-stick aluminum. The parent manufacturing firm is still based in Hong Kong while the distribution company moved to California in 1992.

 It says with factory in China, Thailand and Italy.. Another quick search does come up with a couple of Meyer company located in Italy:

Ruffoni does make cookware, but in the Meyer/Ruffoni website there nothing under the name Esteele, or that even looks like the Esteele range. Also Ruffoni does have their home web page and you can clearly see that what they make is not the same as Esteele.

The other company that does come up is Bolzoni, but they don’t really make kitchenware… So it seem that Meyer wants you to believe that this Chinese Pot is made in Italy and therefore, instead of the conventional $50-60 dollar for this size pot they can charge you now $289.95.

Sure enough, another Dolmio product (as I call them now).. The entire world commerce works under this silly and stupid strategy. Why can’t we just enjoy a quality product, regardless of where its made from? Because people won’t pay the price if there is no name attach to it.. How sad is that?

On the other side of the coin, we have Italian website advertising the best kitchenware brand as the Lagostina or Barazzoni.

Lagostina is owned by the french Group SEB, while Barazzoni is still 100% Italian and none of them cost as much as the Esteele range of cookware..