Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp. says it has developed a new fat-busting superheated steam oven that can help consumers eat healthier.
Unveiling its invention to media on Monday, Sharp said the oven generates "superheated steam" at a temperature of about 300 degrees Celsius (572 degrees Fahrenheit), hot enough to melt fat and reduce oil and salt from steak, chicken, fish, and other foods.
Osaka-based Sharp said the product was developed to address a growing awareness among consumers about the need for a healthier diet, especially with obesity rates climbing to worrisome levels in many countries around the world. "Obesity is becoming a global problem," said Itsuro Kato, a director that heads up Sharp's home appliances division.
Sharp said the machine's fat-zapping power derives from a steam generating unit that produces a combination of convective heat and condensation heat so hot that fat liquefies and flows out of the food in a very short period of time.
The company said the new oven can remove eight times more fat off a 200-g beefsteak than if prepared in a frying pan, leading to a 13-percent reduction in calories. In addition, it can cut nearly 19 percent of the fat off a 10-g serving of mackerel, compared with about 12-percent reduction when using a gas grill, Sharp said.
Scheduled to go on sale in Japan in September and to be gradually introduced after that in overseas markets, Sharp's new superheated steam oven can also reduce salt content in fish and limit the loss of vitamin C in vegetables, the company said.
Sharp said it would continue to make conventional microwave ovens and market the "AX-HC1" as a high-end model for health-conscious consumers. The company said it expected the "AX-HC1" to sell for about 126,000 yen (approx. U.S. $1,153), several times the price of a typical microwave oven that might retail in Japan for around 20,000 yen.
The company will start with monthly production of 10,000 units, but aims to sell 500,000 worldwide in the business year to March 2008. (Reuters)