As more and more people cook at home, the need for efficiency, easy-to-use technology and aesthetically pleasing cooking appliances increases. At the same time, the growth of non-traditional households means that flexibility is also a key consideration for today’s cooking appliances. That’s according to manufacturers recently interviewed by Kitchen & Bath Design News who are seeing increased demand for cooking appliances that accommodate personal choice – whether that choice centers around healthy cooking options, multi-tasking, speed cooking, multiple chefs or simply designs that work for a very small, very large or unusually configured kitchen space.
“Today’s culinary enthusiast desires as many options as possible, whether it’s with the design of the kitchen, the appliances used or the actual cooking itself,” says Phil Springer, senior product manager for Thermador at BSH Home Appliances Corp. in Huntington Beach, CA.
The open layouts of many kitchens call for flexibility in both design and function, and appliances must offer the same features. “Multi-tasking appliances that are compatible with today’s open kitchen layouts should continue to be in demand,” says Juliet Johnson, brand experience manager for Jenn-Air in Benton Harbor, MI. She notes that products like the company’s duct-free downdraft cooktop, a microwave combination oven, and a warming drawer that also acts as a slow cooker “offer cooks several functions in a single appliance for more flexible design options.”
Melissa Haber, director of sales and marketing for Edgewood, NY, based EuroChef USA says that consumers are most interested in functionality when researching cooking appliances. “Savvy customers want products that will keep up with their busy lifestyles and help with multi-tasking,” she says. “Multi-function cooking enables chefs to switch fans and elements on and off to control where the heat is coming from, and to what degree, which means an oven is flexible and can do everything from making a pizza crisp or browning potatoes to defrosting leftovers to taste as good as they were the first night.”
Scott Davies, marketing manager for the Huntington Beach, CA-based Fisher & Paykel believes that performance and cleanability are the characteristics most in demand in cooking appliances right now. He explains, “Our customers demand control of their appliance to enable them to create culinary dishes.”
“With the increase in selection over the past 10 years, consumers are looking for all of the bells and whistles at a lower cost,” adds Joey Kitabayashi, v.p./engineering at Capital Cooking Equipment in Santa Fe Springs, CA. He notes that ease in both cleaning and operation of appliances is also important.
Convection & Induction
While not new, convection ovens and induction cooktops are both being elevated in consumer awareness, increasingly making their way into the North American market. From convenience and a better end result to energy-efficient benefits of these cooking styles, consumers are finding more reasons to request these elements be included in their design.
“Convection has become mainstream and we’re seeing much more consumer awareness of what it is and a demand for it,” says Tony Dowling, business development manager for Elmira Stove Works in Ontario, Canada.
“Convection cooking is still on the rise as customers become more educated and comfortable with the advantages of this technology,” Haber says. “The speed of convection cooking has dramatically decreased cooking time in kitchens across the world. Not only does convection decrease time spent in the kitchen, it also enables for more even cooking – what’s not to like?”
Johnson says that convection will continue to be a feature cooks expect in their ovens. “True Convection uses its own dedicated heating element and fan, instead of the traditional bake or broil element, for fast, even baking and roasting on multiple racks," she says. “Everything from breads and pie crusts to roasts and side dishes will bake, cook and brown more evenly in convection cooking mode.”