5 Questions: Hendekea Talks Sustainability and the Joy of Cooking

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Hendekea Azene, our global business director for Kitchenware and Industrial Bakeware, joined PPG in 2017 after working in aerospace and the chemical industry. We recently chatted with Hendekea about the business, her essential recipes and her excitement about low-VOC technology.

Kitchenware and Industrial Bakeware is a new market for PPG. What opportunities does it provide and what are you most excited about?

Although Kitchenware is a new business for PPG, we're no stranger to coatings in the kitchen. We've sold coatings for cabinets and appliances for years, and our new non-stick coating portfolio is a nice complement to that.

I'm most excited about the opportunities within the small appliance segment, of which we're a leader in non-stick coatings. PPG offers a breadth of technology, particularly within our Electric Materials segment, such as anti-fingerprint and smudge-resistant coatings, so it provides us the opportunity to coat even more within that segment.

2020 has been a unique year with a lot of people finding themselves returning to the kitchen. Do you expect that to last?

The Consumer Product segment has certainly benefited from this stay-at-home trend. We're seeing that in our performance in 2020, and we expect those tailwinds to continue into 2021. People have been reintroduced to the joy of cooking and sharing a meal with their family, and I think we'll see many continue to cook a little more than they used to in 2021.

Are there any new cookware/bakeware industry innovations and trends that consumers should be excited about?

Sustainability will continue to be a trend in the cookware/bakeware market. PPG has invested significantly around innovation for water-borne and low-VOC technology that will be particularly important for geographies like China.

Have you tried any interesting recipes yourself during this time of staying at home?

There are two in particular, one is a little more common - chocolate chip banana bread, which my husband and daughter get very excited about whenever I make it. The other one that is jollof rice, a West African rice dish that has spicy peppers, chicken and tomatoes - it's definitely a crowd pleaser.

What's one essential item you think everyone needs in their kitchen?

I may be biased, but I think a good non-stick frying pan is the workhorse of any kitchen. Outside of that, I think my airfryer/toaster oven has been a big help. You don’t have to pre-heat it like a conventional oven, which takes time, and because it's multi-use you get a lot of bang for your buck.