In Chinese families, food-processing appliances (juicers, blenders, soymilk makers, and multifunctional food processors, etc.) are often not as important as refrigerators, TVs, and other “essential” household appliances. But in recent years food-processing appliances are becoming more widely embraced.
Led by Philips in the Chinese market, many foreign brands had launched various kinds of “western” food-processing appliances. China’s domestic OEMs, not to be outdone, are developing their own products.
Philips juicers, blenders, and food processors have been the sales leaders in the Chinese market in recent years. According to Philips, the increasing homogenization of the food-prep appliance market today has led Philips to put its emphasis on appliance power. Its appliances are engineered with powerful electrical systems and drives, which improve juice yield or shorten food-processing time. “Humanized” design and detachable parts make cleaning more convenient. Multispeed gears are configured to serve different processing needs.
China’s domestic brands are developing rapidly, including Joyoung, Xibeile, Ouke, and newcomer brand Midea. Chinese enterprises have developed their own unique food-processing appliances, the most characteristic of which is the soymilk maker.
One of the best-known producers of soymilk makers is Joyoung Electric Appliances Co. In 1994, Joyoung launched an innovative soymilk maker configuration that top-mounted the motor. As the grain flows through the filter enclosures, the flow speed is quickly accelerated and more completely crushes the soybeans. Large openings in the suction pipe allow the unit to harvest more soymilk. The soymilk maker only needs to be rinsed with running water. Joyoung tells APPLIANCE magazine that future soymilk machine designs will focus on smaller-capacity models and improved quality.
Xibeile and Ouke also have fully automatic soymilk makers. Xibeile retail prices generally range from RMB200 to 500 (from approx. US$29 to $73).
Like OEMs around the world, Chinese small-appliance producers are looking for ways to differentiate their products. Producer Ouke relies mainly on the graceful appearance of its appliances. It recently introduced a more colorful, streamlined design on its juicers. Ouke Appliance Co. general manager Hu Qiulei said the company focuses on making its appliances masterpieces of design, backed by high technology. “First, the style should be new—set the trend with the new style and spur the demand,” he said. “Second, quality and craftsmanship should be precise.” A principal of Ouke’s sales department believes that what consumers see first when shopping for such products are appearance and sturdiness.
In July of 2006, one of China’s best-known brands of small appliances, Midea, announced it would enter the food-processing market. Midea R&D has focused on upgrading the reamer and the motor technology. According to Midea in Beijing, the design of the new unit puts more emphasis on motor safety, and includes a double safeguard function. The machine will not work if it’s not snapped together correctly. The motor also utilizes overtemperature protection and overcurrent protection—if the electrical load is too large or if the motor seizes, the power will shut off automatically for user safety.