A Pandemic Darling Falls Into Bankruptcy

Instant Pot is in trouble as sales wane
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2023 11:46 AM CDT
Updated Jun 13, 2023 12:00 PM CDT
A Pandemic Darling Falls Into Bankruptcy
An Instant Pot, at right, next to a slow cooker.   (Katie Workman via AP)

The all-in-one pressure cooker Instant Pot became a smash hit during the pandemic. But that meteoric growth couldn't be sustained, and maker Instant Brands filed for bankruptcy Monday, reports the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper sums things up succinctly, noting that the move reflects "the difficulties that Instant Brands has faced growing its business on the back of a single hit product." The struggles have been evident since a private-equity firm bought the company in 2019 and merged it with Corelle Brands, which makes Pyrex and CorningWare products. While Instant Pot itself has been a hit—particularly with Gen Z, notes Gizmodo—the company has had far less success with multiple spinoffs on everything from air fryers to electric Dutch ovens.

Overall sales were down 22% in the first quarter of this year compared to last, which is the seventh straight quarter of annual declines, notes the Journal. The company says its Chapter 11 filing "provides the company time and flexibility to continue ongoing discussions with all of its financial stakeholders in an effort to achieve a consensual path forward that strengthens the company's financial position." At the Verge, Instant Pot fan Alex Cranz sees a missed business lesson for the company: "Sometimes you don't have to grow at all costs. You can just be very good at one thing." (More Instant Pot stories.)

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