Cooking Appliances Spotlight Flexible Design, Easy-To-Use Technology

Cooking is back in vogue, but what consumers want in cooking appliances varies dramatically - from the home chef looking for a great looking cooktop that goes seamlessly from simmer to sear to multi-generational families looking for flexibility to accommodate multiple cooks of differing abilities to time-pressed couples seeking speed cooking options and ovens that can be programmed from their iPhone.

Fortunately, today's cooking appliances can do all of that and more. Technology remains a hot trend, but the growing boomer market demands technology that's easy to use, while the ever-growing range of family configurations spurs demand for flexible appliances that work in any kitchen, for any member of the family.

Below are a few of the hottest trends in cooking appliances right now.

--With space still at a premium, multi-tasking cooking appliances remain a hot trend, including microwave drawers inside of ovens, warming drawers that double as slow cookers and ovens that offer both convection and steam cooking. 

--Technology is transforming even the most unskilled cook into a competent chef with recipe memory functions and smart programs that make cooking faster, easier and more fool-proof. However, the growing baby boomer demographic is demanding that today's technology be intuitive and easy to use.

--Induction cooking remains popular, and is becoming increasingly mainstream as price points have come down.

--The growth of non-traditional households has made flexibility an increasingly important consideration for today's cooking appliances.

--From a style standpoint, stainless remains ever-popular, but colors are definitely coming on strong, with the market split between the aesthetic appeal of LED digital controls and classic hand controls. 

--Energy efficiency remains important to consumers, and health and wellness are also impacting the cooking appliance market with greater interest in features that promote healthy cooking.