I am often asked why is Staub cookware so expensive? It is a fair point because the range of prices when it comes to Dutch ovens is quite staggering.
They do the same thing…right? I mean some of them cost as little as $50.
Well the answer is not that complex. It comes down to a whole bunch of reasons.
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Why is Staub cookware so expensive?
Staub produce all their cast iron products is France. The simple reality is that producing products in western countries is more expensive because of higher labor costs and cost of doing business generally. Staub are not alone in this, this applies to many industries. Hence the question why is Staub cookware so expensive.
It is difficult for companies such as this to compete of price as we already know that far east production in locations such as China costs significantly less…again down to labor costs and other costs of doing business.
Companies like Staub have to strategically differentiate themselves by operating in a niche. The niche in this case is the premium end of the market.
Why is Staub cookware so expensive…well If you are to stand a Staub Dutch oven and a China made one side by side, the production difference is like day and night. The attention to detail, the accuracy of the finish, the robustness of the paint…it all makes a difference to the end result. You only have to look at the way Staub enamels its Dutch ovens, the thickness and consistency of it compared to a Chines made Lodge Dutch oven.
Staub processes involve more human hands and are not all machine operated. This is what makes the difference in the end finish. A machine cannot replicate the end finish that is required.
Volume of production
There is a market for the niche that Staub and Le Creuset operate in. They are successful and people are prepared to pay for it. There is no doubt about that. If your whole production is automated, you can produce more. If it involves human hands, you limit the amount of produce you can make. It is simple math.
Therefore, if fixed costs remain the same, you simply have to charge more to cover your costs.
Le Creuset sat on top of the premium Dutch oven market for decades based on exactly the same qualities that are displayed by Staub. They value quality for than the do the price. They believe that people will pay for this quality and they have been proven to be correct.
Staub see themselves as an exclusive brand that has desirability. Their branding efforts involve cost too that are factored in to the pricing.
This is exactly the same at the watch market. You can have a mass produced watch or you can have an exclusive hand produced version costing many times more. The market exists. Staub products are desired like they are with Le Creuset.
Staub are seen as a designer lifestyle brand. People like the impression they give and the fact they have it. They are not necessarily used as the work horses that they are designed to be.
Shipping costs and tariffs
A large aspect of the cost can be pointed towards the shipping costs to different markets. They are relatively heavy items given the size and there is also a cost of doing business in other countries. This all adds to the final retail price.
Why they should not be as expensive
We can argue all day about the final price and the market position they aim for but the reality is that they are expensive. The cost of cast iron is cheap hence why you can buy low cost Dutch ovens for as little as $50. There are many companies that make Dutch ovens that ship them around the world.
It is a moot point though as we know that the Staub brand is not based on the cost alone but the desirability and lifestyle factors.
Why is Staub cookware so expensive
Why is Staub cookware so expensive…well that is subjective. Either you see the desirability of the product or you don’t. It is no different to owning an expensive car. Either you are prepared to pay for it or you are not. You spend your money however you wish.
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Why are French ovens so desired?
It is mainly for the product quality, the branding and the lifestyle image they present. Generally, all cast iron Dutch ovens deliver similar results therefore it is more about desirability and design. Cast iron cookware delivers the following;
- Heat retention and distribution
- Move from the stove to the oven
- Use it on any type of hob
- Easy to maintain, should last for decades
When were Staub formed?
They were formed in 1974 in the Alsace region of France by Francis Staub.
Read about the history of Staub here
What is Staub cookware made of?
Staub are specialists in enameled cast iron. They make a range of cookware…Dutch ovens, Cocottes, Braisers, Skillets etc.
What is the best size for a Dutch oven?
The range I would recommend to everybody is between 5 and 6 quarts. This is great for everyday use but essentially you need to decide what you actually want to make in them.