More comments on social media and market influencing, a partial expound on what I said above.
I wish that there was a way to more directly inform product developers of what WE see as gaps in the market, we end-users.
We know that developers haunt forums looking for ideas. It's a secretive process because, of course, market share and profitability are at stake.
In the van realm, MANY market gaps exist because there is no higher-end, better-quality alternative available. It's an unrelenting race to the bottom, with the very same poor-quality hardware being installed in a $10,000 cardboard box trailer all the way up to a $165,000 Mercedes Sprinter-based Class B.
My favorite example is the cheap, leaky plastic toilets produced by manufacturers such as Thetford (see ClassBWarned
for examples). I like to tease new Airstream Interstate owners by saying, "Hey, do you realize that you just spent a buck and a half on a rig that has a hundred-dollar flimsy toilet that is likely to come back to haunt you?"
Product reliability is even more important now that we will be forced to live with coronavirus on the timescale of years, probably. Now more than ever, we simply cannot afford break-downs on the road. I look around our van and lament that I cannot upgrade this or that piece of hardware for greater reliability, NOT because I am short of money, but because no suitable upgrade exists in a market flooded with cheap products.
A big prize will go to whichever product developers will learn how to more efficiently mine that data from the buying public.
Now, back to the subject of cookware because apparently we have a semi-captive product developer audience on this thread:
I see almost all of that market as being already saturated. The backpacking people have invested SO much effort developing alternatives that I'm having a difficult time envisioning any new kitchen-related product that would inspire me to crack open my wallet.
The two exceptions are:
A. CUTLERY. Here are our current options:
(1) We have household stainless steel cutlery, most of which has size and weight issues (it's OK for larger RVs, but is a pain in a van).
(2) Plastic backpacking cutlery, which has strength and durability issues.
(3) Disposable cutlery, which has strength and waste-related issues.
(4) Titanium cutlery, the main limitation of which is high cost (the set I would like would only add 13.5 ounces of weight, but would cost me about two hundred bucks - maybe I should just suck up that expense and buy it).
B. SERVEWARE AND DISHES. Many of us are using Corelle because it is light-weight and compact, but it's also catastrophically breakable and IMO, dangerous in a van. But I cannot find an acceptable alternative.
I cannot use plastic, melamine, or metal, because my dishes must be microwaveable. Part of the reason why we spent ten thousand bucks on an off-grid electrical system was because we want the option of using the microwave which is especially valuable on fast cross-continent boondocking trips.
I know of a few vanners who have accumulated some precious pyroceram for themselves - TRUE pyroceram, not the knock-offs - and they swear by it. The use the original pyroceram pie plates from the 1950's as dinner plates in their vans given that they meet the desired criteria of size, weight, and durability. But pyroceram products are generally not for sale. You might score one here or there by luck, but there's a lot of fraud in on-line listings.
In sum, no manufacturer to date has produced a compact, light-weight, durable, reasonably-priced line of cutlery OR dishes with this niche in mind. I have searched ad nauseam
and I would buy it if it existed.
Now, how to get THOSE suggestions to the people who are looking to make the next buck by developing new product paradigms? I don't know the answer to that.