Michele Bedard, v.p./marketing for Sub-Zero/Wolf in Madison, WI, adds that dual convection technology is also increasing in popularity. Additionally, Wolf recently launched a convection steam oven, which couples the power of steam and convection technology into one appliance.
Up on the cooktop, there continues to be a demand for convenience and high performance, qualities which induction addresses nicely, manufacturers say. Dowling notes, “It appears that induction has reached the ‘tipping point’ in North America, after more than a decade of fits and starts, and is now at a price point where it is an easy step up for the mid-level consumer.”
Paolo Bertazzoni, president and CEO of Bertazzoni, based in Guastalla, Italy says, “Induction is also growing in popularity with the option of dual-fuel in cooktops, combining gas burners and induction heating zones. This way the customer can enjoy the advantages of induction while not having to give up the preferences for gas cooking.”
Johnson agrees. “Interest in induction continues as more American home cooks consider this cooking technology alternative,” he says. “Induction is extremely efficient and offers the responsiveness of gas. For those who may prefer gas but live in homes not equipped to install gas cooking appliances, induction is a great alternative.”
Technology is being put to the test in cooking appliances, in both the functioning of the system and the controls available to the user. Pre-programmed features and digital controls can make operation of the appliance a cinch. At the same time, some are finding that less is more when it comes to technology.
“Technology that enables homeowners to do more is extremely popular right now,” says Malte Peters, senior product manager, cooking, Bosch brand at BSH Home Appliances Corp. “We are seeing an interest in programmable features, primarily because consumers want an appliance that delivers great results in as easy a manner as possible.”
“The ‘connected home’ is becoming more relevant in the kitchen,” adds Joseph Renteria, marketing communications supervisor for Dacor in Costa Mesa, CA. “Technology is definitely leading the way when crafting and engineering a new design for appliances. We saw with cell phones the industry trend of integrating smarter and faster hardware and software for better operating devices. The appliance industry is looking to follow the same trend.” Dacor will introduce its Discovery Wall Oven this month, which will keep cooks connected even while away from the kitchen through control functions that include communication between appliance and user, pre-set recipe cooking modes and personal recipe storage.
Bedard says that Wolf recently introduced a Smart Appliance App and Smart Appliance Module available for built-in refrigeration units and E series wall ovens. “The development of this technology came out of the need for such a product in the kitchen appliance category, one that uses technology to help homeowners keep food fresh and have more control in their cooking,” she explains. In the oven, the app notifies users of pre-heat and timer completion, oven temperatures, and when the internal temperature probe indicates that meals are finished.
“Visual communication is important with our cooking appliances,” says Davies. “This is achieved through illuminated halos around temperature and function controls that glow depending on the status of the oven. Temperature probes enable the appliance to understand the internal heat of the produce and therefore produce perfect meals. Cooling systems also ensure the oven door remains cool to touch.”
Programs that remove the guesswork in cooking are also on the rise, manufacturers say. “Automated cooking guidance, such as the ASSISTANT feature in the new Bertazzoni ranges, enables the homeowner to tackle everyday cooking as well as more complex dishes,” says Bertazzoni.
Johnson adds that intuitive touch screens have carried over into cooking appliances as well. Jenn-Air offers a wall oven with 7" glass-touch screen that incorporates an interactive, image-driven Culinary Center, providing guidance for more than 50 food options.