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Strong demand for melamine dinnerware fuels improvement efforts

Increasing buyer confidence drives makers to boost output of melamine plates and bowls, and fortify R&D endeavors.

Melamine dinnerware suppliers in China are anticipating robust exports in coming months as recovery in key economies such as the US and the EU continues to boost orders. Resultantly, several makers that shifted their focus to the domestic market during the global financial crunch are now bolstering shipments to various foreign destinations.


Melamine plates
These melamine plates from Fujian Conic have decaled patterns.

In Quanzhou of Fujian province, a major hub for the line, overseas revenue amounted to $122 million in 2010, an increase of more than 30 percent from the previous year. This value is expected to go up at least 10 percent more by end-2011. The city accounts for close to a third of China's total export revenue of melamine dinnerware.

To take advantage of these developments, companies are employing different sales-boosting strategies.

Most manufacturers are shifting production to upscale designs. Apart from improving profitability, this measure enables makers to place greater emphasis on safety.

To illustrate, statistics from the Quanzhou Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau indicate that the city's exports of plates, bowls and cups adopting A5-grade materials or pure melamine rose by up to 40 percent from last year. Prices of such pieces, however, are double than those of versions in A1-grade materials.

In addition, many new models meet LFGB, FDA, 200702/EEC, EN 71 and 1122, CE, California Proposition 65 and GB 9690-2009 standards.

Suppliers are also buoying the line with the release of fresh designs. While traditional round models continue to dominate output, space-saving square and rectangular versions are currently being produced in greater quantities.

Dinnerware with colorful rims and detailed inlays are likewise receiving increased attention. For theme-based releases, best-sellers depict holidays and the four seasons. Items with floral, fruit and animal prints are popular as well. Some are even made to match various kitchen motifs. Several models intended for children, meanwhile, have cartoon characters.

In general, plates, bowls and cups shipped to the EU consist mostly of classic pieces with plain colors. US-bound releases come in gradient hues and abstract patterns.

Currently, melamine dinnerware is gaining international prominence because of its lightweight, durable and heat-resistant attributes. Consequently, manufacturers are expanding their reach overseas. Fujian Nan'an Hengsheng Melamine Tableware Co. Ltd, for example, has penetrated India and South America. Fujian Nan'an Jili Dishware Co. Ltd is establishing a foothold in Africa.


Dinnerware materials dictate prices
Product gallery

Melamine salad bowl
Quanzhou Huamei’s model 184059 melamine salad bowl is made of food-grade materials.
Dinnerware materials dictate prices

Prices of melamine dinnerware from China are dependent on the material composition. Low-end models come in A1-grade resin, which contains pure or 90 percent urea and 10 percent melamine powder. Such products are prone to scratches and discoloration, and deform at very high temperatures. Some also turn brittle after extended use. The prices are $0.25 to $1.

Midrange releases are made of A3-grade materials or 30 percent melamine powder and 70 percent urea. A number of pieces may also utilize 55:45 variants. While most are thermal-resistant, models are still not suitable for cooking and baking as these tend to crack and become dangerously hot when exposed to extremely high heat. Designs, however, are dishwasher-safe. Prices start at $1.10 and top $2.50.

Upscale dinnerware adopts A5 materials. They can withstand scratches and temperatures between -20 and 120 C. Releases that are capable of resisting 400 F are available as well. High-end pieces can be cleaned in a dishwasher and do not retain a plastic odor. Models go for $2.60 to $5.

The product weight, manufacturing methods and design also influence prices. Light, single-compression pieces are typically less expensive than heavier versions made via double-compression molding. Melamine dinnerware in gradient hues are priced 5 percent higher than plain white releases.

China makers offer melamine dinnerware as individual pieces or in sets. A collection usually includes plates, bowls, cups, saucers, trays and chopsticks. The type and quantity of items are often buyer-specified.

Plates and bowls come in a diameter of 8, 9, 10, 18 and 21in, while cups are available with 8, 10, 16 and 21oz capacity.

Melamine powder and urea are the main materials. These are mostly procured in Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces, although several high-end releases utilize variants from Japan and the US.

Decal printing is the most common method of design application. Gilding is also done for enhanced visual appeal. In terms of surface treatment, sanding and glazing are often employed as these impart a porcelainlike appearance.

Related articles:
Melamine dinnerware: Upmarket designs, lower MOQ propel industry
Melamine dinnerware: Safety issues exacerbate slump


Melamine tableware
Product gallery

Dongguan Heshun Melamine Products Co. Ltd

Model: Melamine Tableware
MOQ: 3,000 sets
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Polished finish; FDA


Melamine plate


Fujian Conic Melamine Products Co. Ltd

Model: 2-36
MOQ: 3,000 pieces
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Plate; oval; polished finish; decaled patterns; 12in; 140g


Melamine plate


Fujian Nan'an Hengsheng Melamine Tableware Co. Ltd

Model: 100013
MOQ: 3,000 pieces
Delivery: 40 days
Description: 10.5in square plate; 26.5x26.5x2.4cm; 265g


Melamine tableware


Fujian Nan'an Hengsheng Melamine Tableware Co. Ltd

Model: 930006
MOQ: 3,000 sets
Delivery: 40 days
Description: Set consists of 20.2x2.3cm, 160g and 30.5x2.2cm, 260g round, and 35.5x24.8x2.7cm, 330g oval plates, 10.1x4.9cm, 60g, 11.3x5.5cm, 90g, 15x8.5cm, 160g, and 20.2x11.5cm, 435g bowls, and 20g soup, and 22cm, 50g and 23.2cm, 65g rice spoons


Melamine salad bowl


Fujian Nan'an Jili Dishware Co. Ltd

Model: 88326A
MOQ: 5,000 pieces
Delivery: 45 days
Description: Salad bowl; 7, 8 or 9in; 70g


Melamine soup plate


Fujian Nan'an Jili Dishware Co. Ltd

Model: 88211 9in
MOQ: 5,000 pieces
Delivery: 45 days
Description: 9in soup plate; 22.6x3cm; 80g


Melamine party plate


Mecame Melamine Wares Co. Ltd

Model: 7833
MOQ: 3,000 pieces
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Party plate; 28x22cm; 150g


Melamine salad bowl


Quanzhou Huamei Plastic Products Co. Ltd

Model: 184059
MOQ: 5,000 pieces per design
Delivery: 65 days
Description: 5.5in salad bowl; food-grade melamine; 4C foil printing paper in two-sided printing; various designs; bulk packaging


Melamine tableware


Quanzhou Huamei Plastic Products Co. Ltd

Model: D2138, D2140, D1494
MOQ: 500 sets per design
Delivery: 65 days
Description: Set consists of one bowl and two plates; food-grade melamine; 2C printing; various design; white box packaging




Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.



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