Corelle Brands announced Monday that it plans to merge with Instant Brands, the decade-old startup best known for turning the Instant Pot into a consumer favorite in the world of cookware. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although the Wall Street Journal estimates it could be worth $2 billion.
That’s not too surprising, given the popularity of the Instant Pot, a hybrid product that acts as a slow cooker and a pressure cooker in one device. It regularly tops holiday shopping sales lists, and since launching the original product in 2010, the company has released multiple other products and amassed an online fanbase with a jaw-dropping level of enthusiasm for the company’s wares.
As we wrote last year, when including the company in our FoodTech 25 list: The Instant Pot is not the highest-tech gadget around, but its affordability, versatility, and speed have made this new take on the pressure cooker a countertop cooking phenomenon.
Besides making dishes that don’t break when you throw them, Corelle also owns ktichenware brand Pyrex, food-storage product maker Snapware, and Japanese knife manufacturer OLFA, among others. Cornell Capital bought Corelle back in 2017 for an undisclosed sum; once the deal with Instant Pot is finalized, both companies will be owned by Cornell Capital.
Instant Brands will keep its Ottawa, Canada headquarters. Meanwhile, Robert Wang, who invented the Instant Pot with $350,000 of his own money, will become the CIO of the combined business.
The deal will give Instant Pot access to new markets, particularly on the international front. From Corelle’s perspective, it’s a chance to refurbish a century-old brand and pair it with an Internet age startup that’s, according to Corelle CEO Ken Wilkes, “fundamentally changing how consumers think about cooking.” Indeed, the almost 2 million users in Instant Pot’s public Facebook group are constantly slinging new recipes at one another, along with cooking tips and problem-solving advice. I’m not so sure a Pyrex Facebook group will pop up anytime soon, but association with that kind of internet-centric kitchen activity will no doubt get Corelle’s family tree a more solid place in today’s connected kitchen.