Do we really need another cooking pot for our food?
If you had asked me a week ago, I would have said we’re good. After all, there’s the Instant Pot, which has become my weeknight workhorse during the pandemic for cooking everything from stew to rice to dumplings. Then there’s the hero of the potluck, the slow cooker, still making us happy with meatballs and party dips after all these years.
But then I saw the Zega on Indiegogo and it had me wondering if I could fit another cooking pot into my life. Zega makes what it terms “walkaway cookware,” which is pretty much just what it describes: cookware you can start a meal in and leave it (or even take it with you).
The Zega uses a design similar to that of a Yeti mug or a Thermos — double-walled thermal insulation — which allows it to maintain a high temperature for a long period of time even after you take the device off the stove. You put your food in, heat it up, turn off the heat, and the food continues to cook.
Hence the “walkaway” label.
While my Instant Pot and crockpots cover me for pretty much any pot-based meal I want to cook, I was considering adding the Zega to the repertoire for a couple of reasons. First, it saves energy. Not having to have an appliance plugged in for a few hours while I cook just seems more efficient.
I also like the walkaway aspect. Whether you’re an adult with young kids or you just want to run errands while the evening meal is cooking, this idea makes sense to me.
The Zega comes in two styles: connected and analog. The actual Zega pot is the same cookware, and it’s the knob that determines if you have a connected or analog version. You can see how each looks below.
The Zega app asks you whether you have a connected or analog version and gives you specific instructions tailored for each. If you have an analog version, you’re instructed to cook food to a certain temperature using the analog knob (“cook over high heat until the temperature gauge reaches the red zone”). The connected version remotely monitors the cooking and will send you notifications when a meal is done.
Now of course, this is a product that is available via Indiegogo and, as with any crowdfund campaign, deserves all the usual caveats. But from what I can see, the product seems well on its way towards shipping.
Before they had sent the product to Indiegogo, the team raised $550,000 on equity crowdfunding platform Venturecrowd. In my view, raising money from investors to build out manufacturing capabilities and funding the initial production run is the right order of things. Hardware campaigns often go wrong when founders raise funds from backers who want a product and then realize they don’t have enough money to actually build out their manufacturing line.
The company’s Indiegogo campaign, which has raised $69,000 as of this writing, says the products will be manufactured in July and delivered to backers in August, all of which sounds right if you assume the company used its equity funding to lock in manufacturing and has it ready to go.
Will “walkaway cookware” become its own new category? Too soon to tell, but the founders hope so. In their investment prospectus on Venturecrowd, the company forecasts the Zega could hit $3 million in sales this year and $12 million by 2022.
We’ll see. For now, I just hope they ship since I ended up backing the product, which is saying a lot from a guy who’s gotten pretty jaded at this point with hardware crowdfunding (hello, Spinn).
You can watch the Zega intro reel below: