Opening Older Projects

SAN FRANCISCO–With sales of pasta machines rising by triple digits, manufacturers are attempting to offer more models, additional attachments and enhanced teaching aids in a bid to curb product yields and keep the units from moving the way of juicers.

Electric pastamakers have become a $22 million business at wholesale in 1993, a 122 percent increase over 1992’s figures. About 30 percent of those units are offered in department stores, 25 percent in catalog-showrooms, 20 percent in bulk retailers and 25 percent in other channels, including infomercials. The rise of the industry is evident in the amount of manufacturers introducing pasta machines in this week’s Gourmet Products Show here. Welbilt and Rival are starting versions at the show. Rival’s machine will retail for approximately $100 and feature 10 expires, measuring cups, cutting tools, a movie, recipe book and storage cabinet. The Welbilt Pasta Machine will carry a suggested retail of $129 and comes with seven dies.

“It’s a great category with a lot of potential,” noted Tom Lacalamita, marketing manager for small electrical appliances at Welbilt. “I don’t believe [pastamakers] have peaked,” commented Richard Helfman, president of Creative Technologies Corp.“Pasta has not created the trend, it is after the trend of healthy cooking,” he explained of the components’ popularity. The firm carries five versions, which range from retails from $99 to approximately $200, and can be launching two accessory packages with extra expires.

Industry sources widely credit Ron Popeil’s infomercials for starting the pasta machine fad. He spends about $10 million advertising that the Popeil Pasta Maker and his firm is now moving to put among both units in conventional retail channels. “Pasta machines would be the goose that laid the golden egg,” Popeil explained. “There is a giant retail industry.” In order to prevent erosion of the firm’s infomercial company, he added, retailers that promote sale prices on pastamakers can only buy Popeil’s much more expensive unit, with a suggested retail of approximately $200. The firm’s additional unit sells on the infomercial for $159.

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The flood of new machines on the market, though, has created a familiar issue: price erosion. Machines that once commanded a $150 sale costs are usually marketed for $99.
“The marketplace has been stable for a number of years,” notes Don Burch, director of sales/marketing for Lello, making the recognized Simac machine. “Now everyone thinks they could enlarge the market. It’s become cost, price, price. Some individuals jumping into it today are going to be disappointed.” Simac makes a unit that retails for $179, and in a spin, is launching a higher-end unit to retail for $260. “The category will end up overrun by a lot of people,” noted Lou Vitantonio, president of Vitantonio Manufacturing, which has been at the pastamaker market for at least seven decades. “The retail will erode, along with some providers. When and how, I do not know.”

“I really don’t understand how to teach consumers the product they purchase for $49 is not the same as the one that they buy for $149,” added Bruno Valbona, president of Waring, which introduced its pasta machine in the January Housewares show.
Producers are optimistic, however, the group won’t turn into another juice extractor business which began high and bottomed out in roughly a year. “I really don’t think [pasta] is like juicers,” Helfman said. “It’s more like bread machines,” which have steadily gained in popularity as consumers are much more patient in learning to use them. “In order to spend the price down, you need to take away from the item,” Valbona said. “You’re kidding consumers.” Some manufacturers are taking the high-end approach to the rice machine market. “Our controlled distribution tends to result in price stability,” noted Chris Craig, market manager of new products for Cuisinarts, which carries a machine using a retail of almost $300.
“We made a decision to take the high street because you can not enter a class with a poor product,” he added. “It’s not our image. You can not be penny wise and pound foolish.”
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“We protect our customers by not selling to the masses,” Vitantonio said. The unit sells for $159 and the company offers several accessories to match the machine, including combinations, cookbooks and bowls.
The popularity of the units also has spurred a cottage industry of combinations and cookbooks. Maverick, which markets a 120 unit, has launched a line of pasta mixes to make the process simpler. The mixes, usually selling for four for $9.99, also are available as a package with all the machine.
“You have to reveal it as a category,” stated Peter Chapman, executive vice president of marketing/sales for Maverick. “The class lends itself to enormous merchandising opportunities,” at retail, like a"pasta store" of bowls, mixes, platters and pots, he added. Five fresh pasta combinations are available through Wally’s Kitchen Prompt Pasta Maker. The machine, initially distributed by Bo-Nash, will be distributed by TriStar, the company known for its infomercials for goods like Micro-Crisp.

Nature Farm Foods has followed up its successful bread mixes using Wanda’s Own Natural Pasta Mixes in five types. “The mixes will help grow the category in the exact same manner bread mixes helped the bread machine industry,” said Doug Simon, president. Welbilt’s Lacalamita is writing a book, independently of the company, called The Ultimate Pasta Machine Cookbook, to provide recipes, instructions and nutritional information for pastamaker pasta. Still, the best impetus to sustain the category’s growth is customers’ preferences for fresh pasta." … the level of pasta’s popularity will stay high. It is a niche that could sustain itself," Lello’s Burch explained.

It’s possible that after some time, they’ll stop checking the conversion routines for really old formats. So I do a search on my hard drive for Scrivener projects (with Windows, it’s a .scrivx file), and then open each in turn. It can be tedious, but that way I never have to worry about losing anything. I also keep the backups created during this process, but I use zip compression on them (well, on the .scriv FOLDER that contains the .scrivx file… please don’t separate it from the project folder) and then throw those into the main Scrivener backups folder for safe-keeping.

Just confirming that yes, this does happen. Scrivener 3 Mac cannot convert Scrivener 1 (Mac) projects. That’s a gap of more than five years, though. Checking on your projects every couple of years should be more than adequate.

Also, the project format is relatively open, in that in a worst case scenario you can extract your data without access to Scrivener.


PS In case you were wondering, the solution for Scrivener Mac users is a two-step conversion: Install the Scrivener 2 trial, use it to convert to Scrivener 2 format, then convert from there to Scrivener 3.