For 21st century cooks

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There’s no escaping the fact that the economic climate is still challenging to say the least. This hasn’t meant that consumers have stopped spending, it simply means that they do more research before they part with their cash and expect more quality and longevity for their money. This is where the independent retailer can step in, offering expert knowledge of both the market and the latest products within it.

Built-in ovens

The integrated oven market is thriving in terms of new designs. “The multifunction oven is certainly popular, with market share increasing,” explains Simona Bara, product marketing manager for built-in at Whirlpool, “and will continue to do so in the future. With the superb flexibility afforded by multifunction technology, often with a bigger oven cavity within a standard 600mm footprint, the single oven is a very good choice.” Whirlpool’s latest collections boast minimalist aesthetics with powerful new technology and advanced functionality in single cavity options. The 6th Sense intelligent technology also offers perfect results as economically as possible as the oven will sense the mass or volume of the food and monitor the temperature inside the oven, maintaining the perfect heat for the best possible result. Sleek touch controls with high definition LCD screens also offer consumers an interactive experience that brings the cooking to life.

CDA is also taking touch control that extra mile, as it’s the first domestic appliance company to bring an oven with tft touch sensitive technology and user-friendly software to the UK consumer marketplace at an accessible price point. The SV310 is an interactive single electric multifunction oven that has a touch screen with picture icons to access different cooking functions.  There are five automatic programmes and a range of user friendly options to allow customised cooking – even down to choosing which heating elements will be used to suit the food being cooked.

Hotpoint is launching a new touch control single electric oven to independent retailers from this autumn. The SH103CX features an ‘Intelligent Cooking System’ with four cooking functions that optimise the oven elements and recommend the best shelf position, temperature and cooking time for cakes, bread, roasts and fish, so they’re perfect every time.

Indesit’s new A-rated single and double ovens feature Italian design as well as new functions, which include a panoramic glass door that increases the viewing area making it easier to keep an eye on what’s cooking.

Candy’s USEE oven takes this further with 14 tiny white LED lights in the oven door perimeter, providing perfect illumination and total visibility throughout the cavity.

“Product innovation is continuing to shape the market with intelligent technology that improves functionality as well as energy efficiency,” says Steve Macdonald, marketing director for Hoover Candy. “Consumers are generally looking to cut their household bills and have more responsive, efficient appliances in their kitchen.”

Hoover’s Prodige is a super-sized single oven, which is 40 per cent larger than standard models at 76 litres with a unique dividing system that can be adjusted to suit different cooking needs. “Programmes like BBC2’s Great British Bake Off are helping to drive Britain’s passion for amateur baking,” adds Steve, “and as such, flexible, spacious ovens are becoming more popular.”

Smeg has increased the capacity of some of its ranges to 68-litres and it’s one of the few brands to feature five shelves, which allow the user to cook on more levels at the same time. Pyrolytic cleaning is also becoming more popular as consumers become more aware of the benefits and brands respond by including more Pyrolytic models within their range. A major benefit of the Smeg single Pyrolytic oven is that it simply requires a 3-pin plug and 13amp supply, avoiding the need for wiring to a 30amp supply.

“There is no substitute for knowing your products – the options, the combinations and the installation issues – and teaming these up with the needs of the consumer,” says Mike Jarrett, sales director of Neff. “Find out what the consumer wants to achieve. To borrow a famous quote, sometimes consumers don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

Gorenje has also introduced a Pyrolytic oven to its portfolio – the BOP8858AX. Also new for 2011 is the Simplicity range, a collection of built-in and freestanding appliances that includes an oven, hood and gas and induction hobs. They are quick and easy to use with a stunning black design.

The latest addition to Beko’s built-in range is the new OIM25503 multifunction oven, which is 30 per cent more energy efficient than A class. Prima Appliances, one of the PJH Group’s own-brand collections, has extended its cooking range with additional new ovens, hobs and microwaves. The latest 56-litre single fan ovens both feature an A energy rating and free two-year parts and labour guarantee.

De Dietrich and Fagor continue to specialise in the development of highly specified multifunction ovens, most of which also feature self-cleaning technologies. The award-winning DOP895 features four separate cooking modes including Expert with 11 oven functions, ICS Total Automatic Cooking with 16 pre-programmed dishes, Cooking Guide with 44 pre-set recipes and Low Temperature Cooking with 10 pre-set recipes.

Stoves is about to launch two new product innovations that it believes are set to shake up the market. The first is the Duo Cook collection, which comprises a 90cm built-in oven and 60cm freestanding oven with a unique configuration that sees a built-in 800W microwave and grill in the top cavity, combined with a fanned main oven in the lower cavity. This is a UK first and is expected to be popular with those looking to kit out a small kitchen. Stoves is also planning to launch the Professional collection, its first electronically controlled ovens. The range will include a 90cm gas double oven and an electric double oven with touch sensitive electronic controls. The gas model will be the first multifunction gas oven ever to be introduced.

Belling is focusing on colour with a choice of seven built-in ovens across a range of fuel types and sizes, which come with a brightly coloured trim in colours such as red, purple and green.

Hobs and hoods

Hob top cooking has become even more popular of late as Simon Freear, country manager for Amica in the UK, explains, “The hob is an extremely important element of the kitchen and most consumers will have an idea of what they want before they even begin planning their new kitchen, whether it’s ceramic or induction for their easy-clean properties and aesthetics or gas for reasons of familiarity, speed and control. Ceramic and particularly induction hobs continue to rise in popularity with advances in technology and wider availability driving affordability to the mid market. A great deal of flexibility comes with open zone induction with the ability to use a number of pots and pans of varying size, including espresso makers, casserole dishes and grill pans, all at the same time to ca
ter for family meals as well as entertaining. Although the market for gas hobs has declined slightly due to the increase in popularity of induction, it retains a strong presence for those who regularly cook Asian and Oriental dishes and as a replacement, where there are existing connections. Many choose large format hobs with features such as wok burners but as a rule, 60cm in stainless steel remains the most popular choice.”

Amica has met this head on with the introduction of OptiGas, an innovative gas burning system that optimises gas usage by increasing heating efficiency and lowering gas consumption by as much as 12 per cent. Developed by and unique to Amica, all of its gas hobs and freestanding cookers with gas hobs are now equipped with it.

Induction of course, is still a key trend, as Jane Massey, brand manager at Siemens, confirms, “As well as being one of the quickest and safest methods of cooking, induction is also one of the most efficient. We are living in an ever-changing world where people are increasingly dependent on technology to make their tasks more convenient. Induction hobs meet this need.”

The Piano induction hob from De Dietrich was one of the most innovative launches this year. Positioned at the top end of the market, it features zoneless cooking along with a range of high-tech features.

Extractors are also becoming more techno savvy thanks to companies such as Miele pushing the boundaries, as Neil Pooley, kitchen category manager, explains, “Miele’s exclusive Con@ctivity technology enables hob to hood communication. This innovative system sends messages between a Miele hob and hood, allowing the extractor to be turned on and the correct settings selected according to the use of the hob.” Miele has also introduced the Aura hood, which requires no external ventilation, allowing it to be situated directly on the wall or suspended from the ceiling.

Caple has also introduced a new model to market with the Motus hood. “Characterised by a sliding panel that ascends and descends according to the power level, it works to make sure the vents are only visible during use,” says sales director Danny Lay.

Tabletop cooking

Countertop cooking appliances are still a good way of creating additional sales, as consumers look for quick and easy ways to update the kitchen. Cuisinart products offer the opportunity for the customer to be creative with new dishes that can be prepared easily with no fuss. The soup maker is one example, where freshly made soup can be made from scratch in just 20 minutes in three simple steps. Its digital slow cooker is also perfect for creating family favourites – perfect for the cold winter months ahead.

Lean cuisine

The latest trend to emerge is steam cooking, with manufacturers introducing a variety of steam ovens, combination steam models and ovens with steam settings. “We have seen the interest from customers to embrace healthy cooking continue,” says Rosalinda Buttice, Bosch junior brand manager. “Consumers are looking for different ways to create healthy dishes without necessarily embracing steam as the main cooking mode, although this is extremely popular. We are into our second generation of models, with key developments including combination steam cooking with greater use of electronics to provide status updates and reminders to the end user. We have also introduced a new compact steam oven, which is a great add-on appliance for those who frequently entertain and also want to create healthy meals.”

Electrolux has embraced the healthy cooking trend with its new range of Crystalline hobs from the AEG brand. “The stainless steel Japanese style teppan yaki in particular offers real cooking flexibility,” explains Sophie Davidson, local product manager for built-in food preparation. “It’s a multipurpose cooking surface for which there is no need for pots and pans – perfect for meat or vegetables.”

Also new is the LG premium Lightwave oven, a multi-heating system that’s designed to cook healthier, tastier food with the minimum of fuss. Its Charcoal Lighting Heater meanwhile is a world-first heating grill that enhances water absorption, cooking more naturally and efficiently compared to conventional heat.

“The trend for healthier eating and leading a healthier lifestyle is a well documented one that will continue to engage with consumers as they constantly strive to find ways to eat healthier food more often,” says Nick Bevan, product manager at Samsung. “The key to continued growth in this sector is innovation and communication, as manufacturers find more ways of helping consumers eat more healthily and just as importantly, continue to communicate the benefits of their appliances to the consumer.”

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