Innovate. Cooking appliance engineers are merging their best technologies
to produce high-style, highly functional cooking equipment.
Europe and North
America have long had the same general cooking traditions and used similarly
configured cooking equipment, but a decade ago there was a disparity
seen between the two appliance markets. The perception was that Americans
were largely disinterested buyers gravitating to mid-range products,
while Europeans had a greater enthusiasm for stylish, high-performance
cooking appliances and were willing to invest more to get them.
This began changing in the 1990s
when the favorable U.S. economy, baby boomers
aging closer to retirement, and other demographic
factors spurred the Americans to cocoon.
Cocooning is driving change and
expansion in small appliances in North America
(see the April 2003 issue of APPLIANCE magazine
for our 2003
International Housewares Show report, Continuing
to "Cocoon"). So too has it spurred
steady change in the market for cooking appliances,
where the demand for style and high performance
a less robust economy can't
dampen the trend, as APPLIANCE magazine heard
repeatedly from appliance producers at the
Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS) in Orlando,
FL, U.S. from
April 11-13, 2003. The physical evidence of
this conviction was evident, with every appliance
booth exhibiting more upscale, more stylish,
more featured cooking products.
Fuel - Worth Paying For
population is a little older, with more expectations
of their appliances," observed Tony Evans,
vice president, communications for Electrolux
North America, in Martinez, GA, U.S. "People
are still spending more time at home, entertaining
more at home, and spending more on their homes."
Evans explained that consumers are increasingly
looking at their appliances as products that
can have greater value and offer more features.
market is staying strong and continues calling
for a higher end product. We're responding by
taking wish book products and making them more
available," said Mr. Evans. "We've recently
launched our new dual fuel range, for example,
which sells at about $2,300."
have become increasingly interested in dual fuel
ranges, a configuration with advantages in both
cooking capabilities and easier cleaning. The
cooktop has the instant-on performance of a gas
flame, while an electric oven provides potential
for convection cooking and self-cleaning.
Freezer Company (Madison, WI, U.S.) acquired
cooking equipment OEM Wolf Appliance Company
of Compton, CA, U.S., 3 years ago, at which time
Wolf did not offer dual fuel. There was an awareness
of the growing consumer demand for the technology.
As Paul Leuthe, corporate marketing manager,
told APPLIANCE magazine, the company was eager
to put a dual fuel product in its line-up, but
also wanted the product to stand out in an increasingly
crowded market segment.
KitchenAid is launching the new generation of its KitchenAid® Pro
Line™ Series with high-style and prominent branding.
KitchenAid says it is introducing the first combined collection
of major and countertop appliances. All feature bold styling
and a high level of performance.
is an eye catching collection designed for serious cooks
who want both high performance and cutting-edge design," said
Jamie Moldafsky, KitchenAid vice president & general
manager. "It’s professional caliber equipment
that’s meant to be used and seen, not hidden behind
panels and cabinetry."
is backing the Pro Line series with a comprehensive customer
care and warranty program. Major appliances purchased in
groups of four or more are covered by a 5-year care plan
with an extended service program and priority access to
a dedicated Pro Line series customer call center.
taken a cue from the customer satisfaction and loyalty building practices
of luxury automakers," Jamie Moldafsky explained.
The series' cooking appliances include a double wall oven, a gas
cooktop, a warming drawer, and a ventilation hood. Collections of
double wall oven, cooktop, refrigerator, and dishwasher—will carry suggested
retail prices of U.S. $12,250 to $13,550.
specializing in commercial-style appliances, looked to
the control of the unit as a way to differentiate itself,
noting that electronic controls don't lend themselves to
the commercial look many buyers want.
answer for Wolf was to hide the electronic controls on
a unique, spring-loaded panel that stays hidden, popping
out when needed. It offers highly capable programmed control
without looking electronic.
range's commercial style knobs have the heavy look of a
traditional mechanical control, but they are also electronic.
Turning the coaxial knob that controls the oven will automatically
go to a preset oven temperature, which the user can then
Range also looked for a control solution in its convection
ovens, which are offered in the dual fuel range and as
wall ovens. Wolf enlisted the help of Arthur D. Little
in the design of a sophisticated two-fan system. Wolf,
ADL, and component suppliers collaborated to develop the
fans, the control system, and the airflow logarithms that
operate the fans for optimal performance for each cooking
Range, a division of Sub-Zero, launched a new cobalt blue,
speckle-free porcelain enamel oven interior to very favorable
response. The new finish differs from many ovens in the category,
which often have a black or a speckled blue porcelain finish.
cooking appliance maker Dacor has a long history of making
ventilation products. The company launched its commercial-style
raised vents in early 2003 after an intensive design process.
Spann, marketing manager for Dacor, explained the company
has had raised vents but aimed for truly commercial performance
levels in the new design. To achieve this, the design allows
for the grouping of multiple blowers to provide enhanced
CFM levels. With two blowers, the vents provide up to 2,600
technical challenge was in making a unit thin enough to achieve
the design we wanted while accommodating the ventilation
blowers and the motor to raise and lower the vent," Mr. Spann
explained. "We accomplished this by building in a unique
8-A switch, which accommodates more than one blower."
designed its European Integration cooker to provide more
rational use of space through the combination of a microwave
oven. Giving the traditional oven improved thermal insulation
reduces wasted heat and provides user cost savings. Also
built into the unit is a meat probe to help ensure even
quality during food preparation.
an April 22, 2003 speech by Electrolux president and
CEO Hans Stråberg, he named the Integration as
an example of innovative products coming out of Electrolux,
noting that it provides energy savings of up to 40 percent
compared with an ordinary oven.
is nothing new - but it's unknown to most consumers worldwide.
In Europe, this electric
cooking technology is used to some extent in commercial cooking
applications, especially in regions where infrastructure or
regulations prohibit cooking with gas. Consumer models have
been offered for years, but the price of the technology has
kept it out of most users' reach.
benefits of induction over other electric cooktop technologies
are numerous, and ties into the very nature of the technology:
induction does not use a heating element. The induction device,
placed below a smooth glass cooktop, generates heat in the
cooking vessel itself using magnetism. The cooktop never reaches
the extreme temperatures that can be created with the use of
an under-glass heating element, an electric coil, or a flame.
In fact, Swedish appliance giant AB Electrolux said that, when
boiling a pot of water, the cooktop and the pot itself will
reach a temperature just above 100°C (212°F), and frying foods
brings the temperature to about 250°C (482°F). Electrolux said
that, by comparison, a standard cooktop can reach temperatures
as high as 600°C (1,112°F). The induction cooktop also cools
quickly once the cooking vessel is removed. These behaviors
make the cooktop inherently less likely to cause burns.
are cleanability benefits as well - because the cooktop does
not reach such high temperatures, spilled food will not cook
onto the surface.
is superior as well compared to most other electric cooking
technologies, and many users consider induction to be on par
with gas cooking performance. Electrolux, which is now making
induction technology more widely available to European appliance
buyers, said that water will boil up to three times faster
on an induction cooktop, compared to other electric cooktops.
Generally, it uses less energy than other electric cooking
downside is purchase price. Another disadvantage - to some users - is
the cookware limitations of the technology. Because it heats
by magnetically exciting the cookware itself, the cookware
must, of course, be magnetic. Put a non-ferrous metal pan on
an induction cooktop and you'll never get your oatmeal bubbling.
Glass and solid ceramic cooking vessels are unusable. On the
other hand, induction cooking has a greater tolerance for cooking
vessels without perfectly flat bottom surfaces, unlike some
other smooth cooktop heating elements.
there have been a scattering of induction appliances offered
in North America in the last decade, consumers have had even
less exposure to it than Europeans.
is coming, and much of the drive comes from one of the leading
global suppliers of electric cooking heating elements, Ceramaspeed
(Maryville, TN, U.S.). The company said it was motivated by
consumer research that shows U.S. appliance buyers are looking
for speed, controllability, cleanability, and safety.
will source its induction generators from ElcoBrandt, which
sells induction cooking appliances in Europe under its Brandt,
Semet, Sauter, and De Dietrich brands. The shallow depth of
the induction generator provides extra versatility for mounting
a cooktop in kitchen cabinets, and Ceramaspeed said the unit
can even be mounted over a drawer.
made the announcement of its move into induction at the K/BIS
Exhibition, where three appliance producers displayed induction
products for North America:
Crest, based in Anaheim, CA, U.S., is a maker of professional-grade
appliance for the home. Wind Crest displayed a 36-in cooktop
with five induction zones, and plans to introduce a 30-in,
four-zone induction model.
Stove Works (Elmira, ON, Canada) is offering a four-zone
induction cooktop on its antique-style appliances.
VT, U.S.-based Caldera Corporation displayed a two-zone induction
the microwave cooking arena, the evolution of electronic controls
capability has led to an array of sophisticated user interfaces,
including user instructions and recipes. Microwave makers continue
advancing controls sophistication, with an emphasis on making
microwaves more versatile and easier to use.
work is also focusing on helping consumers clean up their
counters by incorporating other small appliances into their
Electronics offers North American buyers a microwave oven
with an integrated toaster and one with an integrated coffeemaker.
In Korea and other markets LG has other toaster microwaves
as well as models integrated with grills.
Electronics microwave oven with an integrated toaster.
began the North American marketing of its microwave/toaster
combination, the Toast & Bake Microwave Ovenª, in September
2002 and the unit won a 2003 Kitchen & Bath Award from Home
Magazine during the April 2003 K/BIS Expo. A Samsung concept
product displayed at the same show combined a scale with
a microwave. The scale is on top of the microwave, making
use of what many users see as wasted space. The company has
also combined a microwave with an FM radio/voice message
combined cooking technologies in its newest five-in-one microwave,
announced in April and scheduled for retail availability
in August 2003. The SpeedCook Over-the-Range unit enables
microwave cooking, convection cooking, broiling, and two
teamed up with Good House-keeping to program the appliance's
recipes. The user simply keys in the recipe number from an
accompanying recipe book, and the SpeedCook appliance provides
the optimal cooking sequence.
first model will have a touch panel display and is expected
to have a retail price of U.S. $699. A later unit, controlled
with an LCD display, is expected to retail at $899.
consumers continue investing in their homes and looking for
ways to make the most of their time, cooking appliances with
true style, genuine performance, and real convenience benefits
will attract their attention.
Electronics’ high-speed oven is designed to dramatically
reduce cooking time and is programmed to automatically cook
200 foods and time-saving recipes. The Model R-90GC is equipped
with a 2,900-W hot-air circulation system that rapidly cooks
food in significantly less time than standard ovens.
“Those pressed for time can take advantage of Sharp’s innovative
technology that enables cooking a wide variety of foods up to five times faster,” said
Joy Daniel, senior manager, product development, Sharp Electronics Corporation
(Mahwah, NJ, U.S.).
appliance giant Electrolux is continuing to expand its name
recognition and enhance its profile among American consumers
by importing European technology and brands. The company, said
to be the number one commercial foodservice appliance producer
in Italy and number three worldwide, is also investing more
heavily in the North American commercial foodservice segment.
2003 our professional foodservice group will introduce four
new Electrolux brands into the U.S.: Electrolux, Zanussi,
Dito, and Molteni,” said Tony Evans, vice president,
communications, for Electrolux North America (Martinez, GA,
Food Safety Systems
than 3,000 products are sold in Europe under the Zanussi
Professional Systems brand name. This Made In Italy brand
is designed for cooks interested in upholding the traditions
of Italian cuisine.
recent foodservice innovations from Zanussi is a new cooking
system designed to address the new European HACCP regulations.
Guideline CE93-43, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points,
is intended to address methods of limiting the risk of microorganism
contamination of food, but satisfying the regulations can
be complicated. Zanussi’s ActiveCombi steam-convection
oven is designed to offer a method to cook food safely and
chef sets the oven according to his recipes and presses a
button to activate the FoodSafe Control. As the unit cooks
it keeps the chef apprised as to the process status: a green
light in the eye-shaped indicator means safe conditions have
been reached, while a red light means cooking must continue
in order to reach safe conditions.
cooking, all the values of the established parameters for
that particular cooking cycle are automatically recorded.
Professional worked on developing its cooking process in
collaboration with the Department of Food Sciences of Italy’s
University of Udine. Key to the system is a new six-sensor
probe, designed to record precise measurements of temperatures
inside the food. The sensor readings are tied into a control
system capable of storing up to 2,000 cook cycles, which
the kitchen staff can recall and consult on an easy-to-read
display. The system can also document results quickly using
a special printer.
brand’s cooking appliance, the Podium, may turn out
to be the star appliance in Electrolux’s new foodservice
equipment endeavors. The unit is designed to combine innovative
technologies with a dramatic design.
Podium’s oval ellipse shape is intended to turn the
appliance into a work of art while providing a high level
of performance cooking capabilities for the restaurant
preparation efficiency is achieved on the Zanussi Professional
Pasta Station, said to be the only fully automatic system
available today. It is designed to be a high-productivity
food prep station that integrates several possible appliance
combinations, such as automatic pasta cookers, work tops,
electric ranges, a bain marie, storage cupboards, a mobile
pasta freezer, blast chillers, and ovens. The station
allows the restaurateur to serve assorted trendy pastas
with a variety of sauces.
key, unique appliance behind the efficiency of the station
is the Zanussi Professional pasta cooker, which has four
automatic lowering/lifting baskets with independent movement.
The baskets are controlled to enable the preparer to
cook four different kinds of pasta at the same time.
The control system keeps the cooking water at the correct
temperature to avoid overcooking, and starch removal
and water refilling also happen automatically.
Professional is a leading equipment producer for pasta-based
menus, holding a market share in Italy of more than 40
April, Maytag Appliances brand Jenn-Air introduced its Convenience
Oven, designed to be the industry’s most compact built-in
oven. This fully functioning wall oven, complete with bake,
broil, toast and other modes, is designed to fit into a significantly
smaller space. The 1.2-cubic-foot interior is designed specifically
for entertaining staples, like appetizers, pizzas and rolls.
Convenience Oven is 30 in wide and 22 in high, said to make
it idea for nontraditional installations. Smaller size, Jenn-Air
says, means it can heat faster than a full-sized, 4.0-cubic-foot
oven, and makes it ideal for many of the foods prepared every
this isn’t going to be the only oven in anybody’s
kitchen,” said Bill Deter, vice president of Jenn-Air. “However,
in combination with a Jenn-Air single or double wall oven,
it’s a perfect way to do the day-to-day cooking. In
addition, with the growth of second kitchens and bar-area
cooking stations, this provides a great new way for people
to have more cooking options in a small space.”
the opposite end of the size scale, Maytag Appliances introduced
a new Maytag brand range with 5.22 cu ft of capacity, said
to make it the largest-capacity range available. The larger
capacity comes from decreasing the size of the oven drawer.
The unit also is equipped with a Precision Cooking System,
with dual-control bake-and-broil elements that cycle on and
off more frequently than in a typical oven, to ensure even
heat throughout the oven cavity.
Jenn-Air Convenience Oven is 30 in wide and 22 in high, said
to make it idea for nontraditional installations, including
wet bars, great rooms, and recreation rooms