Cooking Appliances Spotlight Performance

Today's cooking appliances are all about technology that enhances performance, with easy-to-use innovations the hottest trend right now. That may mean everything from induction cooking to sensor ovens to burners that go from simmer to sizzle while offering a high degree of control.

Style wise, sleek and simple continue to be the buzzwords, with an interesting dichotomy between integrating appliances and using them as a stand out design statement. Below are some of the hottest trends in cooking appliances right now:

--Control and performance remain essential ingredients for cooking appliances, with higher-end consumers seeking out new innovations and more cost-conscious consumers focusing more on value. But regardless of price point, consumers want features that help them cook better and save time.

--Induction continues to be a hot trend, and intuitive use of interfaces is also becoming more important. Consumers want innovative technology, but ease of use is essential.

--A significant number of younger consumers - raised in a generation where two working parents was increasingly the norm - never really learned how to cook, so "smart" cooking appliances are particularly appealing to this up-and-coming demographic.

--Multiple cooking compartments, speed-cooking features and better control tend to be features in high demand in today's cooking appliances.

--From a design standpoint, dual trends continue to drive the market: one toward a flush, seamless integration of cooking appliances; the other toward stand-out pieces that make a powerful visual statement.

--Clean lines, sleek, contemporary designs and stainless steel remain hot, while softer, neutral colors are also popular, replacing the bolder colors that were more common just a few years back.